Queenie Dhody, gold and diamond jewellery designer, who recently hosted a party for Paris Hilton, tells Bhumika K. that jewellery should make an impact by the way it looks

Queenie Dhody likes to live it up, whether it's in her personal life or her line of jewellery. “I've always been a working girl,” claims Queenie Dhody, busy as a bee, adding the finishing flourishes to her jewellery display, shifting display tables herself, huffing and puffing at the boutique staff and murmuring about how one has to “do it all yourself ultimately”… quite the contrasting image to Queenie, the busy bee socialite.

But then, there are no strict lines and watertight compartments here. The former model was in Bangalore to showcase, for the first time, her jewellery line “Jewellery by Queenie” at Kimaya. (“Otherwise I've been coming here for the IPL and Vijay Mallya's parties,” she adds.) A close friend persuaded her to come explore the Bangalore market and Queenie plunged straight into businesswoman mode at the boutique (having emerged flustered from a traffic jam), throwing some warm air kisses and hot jewellery prices at the gathered clutch of women.

A former Miss India, Queenie Dhody nee Singh started exploring the jewellery business over eight years ago — she now has a line of predominantly gold and diamond jewellery, sometimes studded with precious and semi-precious stones too. “I like statement pieces and I think jewellery should make an impression, not by virtue of how it's made, but by how it looks,” says Queenie, all the while busying herself turning the mannequins, picking up a cascading polki neck piece here and rearranging it there. She reassures me that she's great at multitasking, and can talk sense while she does her work. One look at the pieces and you know Queenie knows how to knock the breath out of anyone who sets sight on her jewellery — they are big, bright and colourful with a generous splash of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and more.

One is tempted to ask why Queenie didn't, like most Miss Indias promptly do, take up acting and Bollywood? After a deep sigh, Queenie admits, “I was dying to act when I became Miss India. But my father said ‘Over my dead body'. Times were different then, 20 years ago…,” she says wistfully. “Today even girls from good families are in films…”

Her personal life has been grist for many gossip mills over the last two years, culminating in a divorce. The last two years has also seen her business expand. Did she channel all her energies into work, use it as distraction from her personal life? After a momentary silence, she replies, “Work is work and I don't think it mixes with personal life. I've always been a working girl and only took I time off was when I had my kids. My personal life has always had its own course.”

She's often referred to as the “Mumbai socialite” (in fact her latest party was thrown for Paris Hilton who came to Mumbai to launch her fashion line). How does she view the tag of “socialite”? Pat comes the answer: “It's partly become derogatory thanks to journalists.” But then, she continues: “It's when you go out and meet people, interact with them; it's about socialising…you make space for things like that in your life, along with your work. But, it's come to mean you just go out at night and party.”