Gems and diamonds take centrestage at Vasundhara Diamond Roof’s show

A chance to attend a workshop on gems changed Vasundhara Kasaraneni’s life. Twenty years ago, Satish Shah, whose father used to make jewels for the Nizams, had organised a course in diamonds and precious stones. As Satish brought alive the facets of every gem, Vasundhara was hooked. She went on to do a course at the Gemological Institute of America.

Today, Hyderabad-based Vasundhara Diamond Roof has made a name for itself with exquisite hand-made jewellery that showcases the beauty of rare gems sourced from across the world. The jewels are designed by Vasundhara and her sister Neha Anumolu.

She is now showing her creations at The Residency, her first exhibition in the city. More than 1,500 hand-worked pieces, from pendants, ear rings and jhumkas to chains, neckpieces and oddiyanams, have been brought in for the show.

The jewellery collection is distinctly high-end, and with reason. The rubies are from a mine in Burma that has since closed, the emeralds from Colombia, the pearls are South Sea, the diamonds are cut elegantly and the kundans glow from within. The gemmologist says her clients are people who appreciate that the best has gone into creating an heirloom jewel.

She resorts to machine-made bits in her jewels only when it is impossible to replicate the same by hand. The intricacy of a hand-made jewel is unmatched, she says.

Among the exhibits is an elegant neckpiece featuring Burmese rubies, diamonds and a pearl drop pendant, a chunky set with Zambian emeralds, rubies and diamonds and a delicate piece in gold with interwoven rings and an elaborate pendant. Many pieces bear a distinct Nizami feel.

While designing a piece, the focus is on showcasing the natural beauty of the gem, says Vasundhara. But, sometimes, the design takes precedence and the gem recedes into the background.

“Some gems inspire you to design immediately. Others stay in the locker for years; the designs are honed over time in your mind before the jewel finally takes shape.”

At every exhibition in the country or abroad, her staff who have in-depth knowledge of gems assist clients. “It is vital that a client knows what goes into a jewel. Merely saying it is beautiful will not do,” she says and explains the qualities of her favourite gem — Alexandrite. “In sunlight, it looks blue-green; under incandescent light, it takes on a deep shade of violet with specks of fiery red.”

The show concludes today. It is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.