Minnie Menon launches her line of jewellery that features notice-worthy, hand-picked, semi-precious stones

Translucent, teardrop-shaped moonstone romances jagged-edged grey quartz, chunky tiger’s eye flirts with tiny luminous pearls, subtle rose quartz woos deep-toned garnets and well-rounded aqua-toned agate dallies with a huge flower-shaped mother-of-pearl… Minnie Menon’s Edition I is a creative play of colours, shapes and sizes.

A popular face in Chennai’s social circuit, Minnie decided to give the swish set a choice of jewellery that reflects its persona — bold and individualistic. “I wanted to create some image-drivers! Between locker-bound precious ornaments and cheap costume jewellery, there is a gap that needs to be filled. Women wish to have a range of cross-over statement pieces that can be teamed with contemporary cocktail gowns or traditional saris. This was the creative spur for me,” smiles Minnie as she displays her collection.

Building brands and conceptualising is not something new to Minnie. “I’ve always gravitated to the creative side of things. Having been in advertising and marketing for some decades now, I’ve launched and built brands and ideated for events and promotions. I’ve worked closely with Mehta Jewellery during my days as executive director of Ogilvy and Mather. So this isn’t an unfamiliar terrain.”

As far as the creative process is concerned, Minnie just goes by instinct. “So many well-known artists haven’t been to the art school,” she laughs. “When I see stones in varied shapes, sizes and colours, patterns emerge spontaneously. I don’t feel handicapped by the lack of formal training — at least in the category I’m working in. I work with experienced craftsmen who have acknowledged my creative contribution. If I get into specialised areas such as metal work, I might have to do a course.”

Though it is obvious that the collection is colour-driven, Minnie uses contrasts when it comes to shapes, sizes and shades, so that the jewellery does not take you on a visual overdrive. By mixing monochromes and multi-hued stones, circles and squares with asymmetric contours, small sizes with exaggerated ones, she proves that she has what it takes to be a designer — have a clear sense of cut, form and colour. Sterling silver is the base metal and she has designed some pretty clasps and toggles. “I see people with beautiful low-slung cholis and neat bouffants wearing neck pieces with ugly hooks. To me, it kills the look. So I’ve taken extra care in designing the clasps and toggles,” says Minnie who has spent three months to put together her debut collection. “It involved sourcing stones personally from London, Mumbai and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, I visited the mines and listened to all the stories the mine folks had to say about the stones. I’m simply in awe of the stones.”

Minnie who is enjoying this new phase of creativity assures that Edition I will not be a flash in the pan. “I see endless potential in the semi-precious category. So I have a long-term focus. I want to make it a ‘badge product’ that’s affordable. Silver is the base metal and I’ve used the stones in a combination that’s not prohibitive.”

A fixture in the social circuit, Minnie says that turning designer will not deter her from participating in society dos. “It is one of my many hats. I think one complements the other. I’m my own ambassador!”

(Minnie Menon’s Edition I will be on show from today till October 6, at Mehta Jewellery, C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Abhiramapuram. The line is priced between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 26,000)