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From editor of a film magazine and fashion writer to advisor of global conglomerates and fashion weeks… Umesh Jivnani is one of the pillars of cinema and fashion. He has now transformed his fascination for jewellery into a profession with the launch of 'Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels'. In conversation with him.


''Since childhood I've been passionate about both fashion and jewellery. Even though I started my career as a film journalist and later moved to fashion writing, there was a creative streak in me. For years, I used to design and wear my own broaches which got me many compliments. So, jewellery has been my passion for a long time and I'm glad I finally launched my own label of luxury destination jewellery this year.


How did it take seed? Seeing good jewellery is something that has always intrigued me, fascinated me and made me happy. Since the past two years, I realised that there was a serious dearth of beautifully handcrafted destination jewellery in India. I would not call it fake or costume, more semi precious. With the growing number of destination weddings overseas, there is a huge demand for fine jewellery that is inexpensive, looks like a million bucks and isn't real. People want to travel without the stress of carrying their heirloom family jewels that cost a fortune. This was the seed for my label and finally in April 2019, I launched Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels. The strength of my jewellery collection is high quality craftsmanship, beautiful detailed designs and the affordable price factor.


That said, it’s a fine balance to manage both commercial design and sound aesthetics.. I love vintage pieces that have character. I like Baroque, Art Deco and Byzantine styles a lot. But as someone who has to cater to different tastes, I design and produce modern styles too. Since it's destination jewellery, I design pieces that are lightweight, feel fresh and young and have a romantic flair. For me, fine design is far more important than commercial appeal. I feel luxury jewellery is unique, beautifully crafted, visually stunning and something that makes the wearer feel special once she adorns that piece. It does not have to cost a fortune or be elaborate. It could be something as classic as a pair of natural pearl studs, an old mine- cut solitaire or an old family heirloom. On the other hand, it could also be something as decadent as what our Maharajas wore — unheated carved Columbian emeralds, old pigeons' blood Burmese rubies, flawless Golconda diamonds and lustrous Basra pearls.


Speaking of the process… it is close knit, from conceptualisation and sketching to putting the piece together. Sometimes I could get an idea after procuring a gemstone and design around it. Other times, I make a design and then source the gemstone. For me, creating a piece is the best part of making jewellery. Seeing loose stones and cold metal come together and take shape as a necklace or earring is very special. We only make handcrafted pieces so it is truly luxury as each piece takes several hours, detailed precision and a lot of effort. I veer towards detail in design, love vintage and antique styles that are more elaborate and labour intensive but try to fuse this aesthetic with a contemporary take to make pieces that are stylish and wearable. I love drama in jewellery but also insist that the pieces are lightweight, tactile and feel good once worn. A lot of older jewellery are chunky, heavy and uncomfortable to wear but my pieces make a woman feel comfortable. That is a sign of true luxury.


With the way the economy is moving, I see a great future for fine, semi- precious jewellery. A lot of women proudly wear unreal jewels these days. It's easy on the pocket and they can buy it more often than real jewellery. It costs as much as going to a designer and buying an ensemble. I make six collections a year, so we always have new styles and designs that appeals to my clients. Personally, I always wear a beautiful watch from my collection of fine watches along with an antique diamond Fleur-de-Lis motif ring. There are days I wear stacked antique silver bracelets, statement rings and old rosaries too. It depends on my mood and state of mind. I have collected and designed an envious collection of men's broaches, cuff links and buttons which I wear whenever I feel like taking it a notch higher.''

Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Umesh Jivnani
Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Neeta Lulla in Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
Esha Gupta in Umesh Jivnani Luxury Jewels
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