After Monsoon Wedding and Devdas, Asha Kamal Modi’s designs will be sported by Deepika Padukone in Ram-Leela

She is petite and yet she stands out in the crowd. Dressed in bright pink kurta with a matching stole, Asha Kamal Modi draws your attention with her beautiful personality and smile. This jewellery designer from Mumbai is in the city to host an exhibition of her latest line, the Heirloom Collection. The designs will be on display at the Raintree, Opposite Windsor Manor till October 12.

The collection offers you a wide range of jewellery like hoops, jhumkas, chokers, kangans, rings and necklaces. They are all designed with semi-precious stones. Most of the designs are ethnic while some are a blend of the traditional and the contemporary.

“The idea was to create designs that could be handed down to a daughter or a daughter-in-law,” says Asha. Some of the designs include rubies, emeralds and sapphires. And yes, they are ethnic because every State in India has a typical culture, which I have been incorporated in this collection.”

So you will find jewellery with temple designs, kundan work, and some with Indian deities as huge pendants. “Most of these designs can also be used by the brides,” says Asha, who adds that she is the happiest when she sees people wearing her designs.

Asha plunged into the world of jewellery designing in 1988, “When there were hardly any women in this field. I took to it out of sheer passion. And the journey has been very difficult, in that, I started off using silver and metal when gold and diamonds ruled the market. To break the mindset of people and make them realise that even silver and metal can be used to create beautiful pieces of jewellery, was like swimming against the tide. Even today, though there are many design schools very few women take to it – be it as designer or as karigars”.

Asha’s designs were used in films such as Monsoon Wedding, Devdas and Kamasutra. She would exhibit in Juhu, Mumbai a lot and “that was how my work was explored by the Bollywood crowd.” Soon she found that her designs were picked up for Deepika Padukone for Ram-Leela. “Sometimes I get credit for the films and sometimes I don’t. It both flattering and frustrating at the same time. I feel the former because it shows that people like my stuff and the latter I am being copied most of the time.”

“Design has come a long way in our country. Today there is a market for designer jewellery and for me each piece is more like a piece of art.”

She called her brand Art Karat because karat is the measure of the the gold in jewellery so in my brain karat is the value for the art brought out by me.”

For details about Art Karat and Asha, log on to www.artkarat.com.