‘Flower Child’ Shaheen Abbas gives in to the lure of diamonds and creates a new line that she unveils in the city today

When Shaheen Abbas launched Flower Child in 2005, the collection proved to be a silver lining in the staid world of affordable jewellery. The experimental line in silver was perfect for those who sought great looks for less. It was when her clients asked her to replicate some of her pieces in gold and precious stones that Shaheen decided to design diamond-encrusted statement pieces. The line that includes easy pret and elaborate couture is being unveiled at Studio Saks, today. In an interview, the Mumbai-based designer and wife of famous television personality Roshan Abbas, talks about her inspiration, Bollywood clientele and global trends in jewellery.

What got me started: My mom has a very refined taste. I used to tag along, whenever she went shopping. For family weddings and social dos, we used to hand-pick adornments and give them our own twist. Appreciation from friends turned into encouragement. Soon I found myself designing people’s trousseau and having trunk shows. What began rather informally became a serious business. Initially, I worked with silver and semi-precious stones for my Flower Child line that had a vintage appeal. Creative confidence and a grip over the business made me take the big step. I’ve now started working on gold jewellery and a range of precious stones.

Diamonds are a designer’s best friend: There’s something about the rock that makes it a designer’s delight. From wacky and edgy to safe and traditional, it lends itself to a variety of designs. Diamonds evoke memories. There’s a feeling of timelessness that give them unmatched value. The current line is encrusted with diamonds of different shapes and sizes. There are also pieces with emerald, ruby, citrine, turquoise and tourmaline.

What moves me: Designs float in my mind all the time. Look, I always carry a notepad and pencil to jot down random inspirations that might crystallise at some point of time. Travel is the biggest source of reference for my collections. Recently, I was in Saudi and was fascinated by the jaali work on buildings. It will serve as a huge inspiration in a future line. Textiles, embroidery motifs, architecture… all influence jewellery design in a big way. Sometimes, the size, shape and colour of stones too spur creativity. I’ve particular about price points. All my creations are competitively priced. The gold and diamond range for Chennai is priced Rs. 50,000 onwards.

So, what’s new? The new classic. Tradition with a twist. Old designs that are tweaked to suit new age tastes. That’s what I’ve done. You can wear a chand bali design with a cocktail gown! Or an updated paasa with a dreamy dress! It’s the age of experimentalism. You can move ahead without forgetting the past.

Reel and real: A number of Bollywood celebrities have been photographed with my creations adorning their necks, ears and fingers for film glossies and fashion magazines. People from the film world make the brand popular. But the real business happens outside the celebrity circuit! It’s immensely satisfying to do bridal and see how the bride’s look evolves during the many sittings, and coordinate jewellery with clothes.

What’s in globally: I think the new classic works. People are getting more and more experimental. I’ve used spikes on some designs this season. And a client has asked me to design a skull ring with diamonds. People are not asking for the predictable chandeliers any more. Animal motifs continue to be an inspiration. Glamorous stones are hot. Think blue sapphire.

(Shaheen Abbas will showcase her jewellery at Studio Saks, Gopalapuram, on February 15 and 16)