The story begins with the origin of Neha’s journey into the world of jewels: working at the IGI in their Antwerp gem laboratory she saw a lot of special stones. “It was the exposure to the fascinating world of coloured diamonds that sparked my deep interest in these enchanting stones,” Neha shares with me.
This introduction to rare diamonds became crucial to the conception of Neha’s masterpiece - the ‘Amaranté’ cuff which was completed in 2016. Created using 12,000 fancy pink diamonds and 18 certified vivid purplish pink diamonds totalling 72.83 carats, this piece exemplifies Neha’s appreciation for the beauty of these exceptional precious stones.
The next step which lead toward the realisation of this other worldly design is the evolution in the manufacturing of Neha’s jewellery. “At some point, I got the feel of the type of high jewellery I wanted to create – the micro-settings, the finish, the polishing - 10 years ago the technology was not at the desired level in India. This meant that I had to move my manufacturing to Hong Kong and Italy for the fabrication and the polishing of the jewellery" says Neha.
This gave Neha the freedom to really explore wax carving, and to realise her wildest jewellery dreams without having to factor in the manufacturing limitations which she had to face previously. Once her design production had caught up to the complexity of her ideas, the designer was able to bring her most ambitious work ever to life!
“The 18 flowers of the ‘Amaranté’ bracelet are blossoming and blooming into their fullest beauty, in the same way which an 18-year-old girl does. I want my jewellery to have something deeper, a meaningful internal connection to the wearer,” confesses Neha.
There are ways of telling true artisans and their creations from the rest, and the methodology which separates the ‘Amaranté’ cuff bracelet and other works from Neha Dani is evident in the details: each of the 68 petals on the 18 flowers is unique. It would’ve been far simpler (and less costly in production) to create a few templates of petals, or even whole flowers, and simply repeat these across the design. However, this was not true to Neha’s vision “the manufacturers hated me because I refused the option of replicating certain leaves!” Admits the designer.
“We arranged and rearranged the flowers so many times, and originally, the cuff was made on two bracelets that were the ‘branches’, but when we made a silver prototype model I decided that it needed to be remade from scratch, as it wasn’t wide enough. Then we added more petals and more flowers! We didn’t want to leave anything without jewels, so even some parts of the back are jewelled.”
To set and carve the enormous amount of fancy pink diamonds in this piece required intensive skill - and $100,000 in labour before the value of the diamonds is even considered. Neha asserts: “one person can only set around 50-60 diamonds a day maximum when they are this fine, so that means it took around 4-5 months just to set the stones, and 1.5 years to create the cuff altogether.”
In spite of my many years of experience in the fine jewellery industry, throughout my conversation with Neha Dani I couldn’t help but be amazed time and time again by the devotion to quality and artistry which were necessary to create a piece as extraordinary as the ‘Amaranté’ cuff. These characteristics of Neha Dani’s work have been recognised by the famous Macklowe Gallery (http://www.macklowegallery.com/) in New York, which is now Neha’s sales partner and her pieces - including the Amaranté cuff - will be exhibited on Park Avenue throughout the Autumn.