String theory

Vidhya Maghanath Sunder designed jewellery as a hobby, but the response she got for her creations convinced her to look at it as a serious business venture

Published - October 26, 2016 01:46 pm IST

Vidhya with her creations

Vidhya with her creations

“I was amazed that there were takers for my jewellery,” exclaims a bemused Vidhya Maghanath Sunder, a faint accent giving away her NRI status. She has come back to her hometown Coimbatore from the U.S. for a year’s sabbatical so that her son and daughter can spend some quality time with their grandmother and extended family.

Vidhya has been making jewellery for some time but it was only now that she took part in a recent exhibition in the city where she was pleasantly surprised to see her creations flying off her stall. She calls her enterprise Urbanitii Studio.

“Back in the U.S. it was mostly my friends who bought the jewellery from me initially. I was happy to just gift it to them but they insisted they wanted to pay me for it and then placed more orders for them to give the earrings and neck pieces as gifts.”

Vidhya got the idea of making her own stuff when she visited bead shows in the U.S. “I never seemed to find anything I really liked. So a couple of YouTube sessions later, I started making my own jewellery. And even then, it was something I just did because I enjoyed the process of creating. My investment was just $100,” she smiles.

Vidhya studied at Avila Convent and graduated from Stella Maris College, Chennai, where she studied BCA and then at Amrita where she did her Masters.

She laughs about how the subject she studied has nothing to do with what she is doing now. But she is happy she is working on something that she can do from home. “My kids still need me and working from home suits me just fine.”

Seeing the enthusiastic reception her jewellery received in live exhibitions, Vidhya is now thinking of taking the next step. Of travelling the south and participating in other bazaars and events.

“I have only sold through my Facebook page. I would put out small collections each month or so and call them the ‘January collection or February collection’ and shipped the jewellery when I got the requests on FB.”

Handcrafted jewellery from Urbaniti

Handcrafted jewellery from Urbaniti

Now she feels that it is clearly time to move on. Vidhya comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Though her dad was a doctor, she says she never had the least inclination to study medicine. But her mother and sister are both entrepreneurs and she says that business sense is only now kicking in and she is looking at the jewellery business a little more seriously than a mere hobby.

“I am thinking more strategically now,” she says. Her dream is to have a studio, a haven of peace and beauty where she can work on her jewellery. “Even if it is in my home, I want a separate space where I can get into the zone and create.”

There are days when everything goes right and she makes several beautiful pieces. Then, she says there are also days when nothing gets done!

Vidhya’s collection is varied. She has sourced beads and charms, pendants and baubles from Afghanistan, Turkey, some African countries and so on and strung them together beautifully. There are chunky pendants teamed with rudrakshas as well as delicately pastel Beryl beads teamed with silver and gold-plated charms.

There is a mix and match of semi-precious, glass and other pretty gee gaws. There is also a very dainty collection of earrings for children that, Vidhya says, are most popular.



Her earring collection ranges from Rs 1200-3000 and necklaces cost anything between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 7,000.

“There is a lot of ethnicity in my designs. But I don’t actually sit down with a paper and pencil and draw my design or anything like that. I just gather my pieces together, get into a zone, and put together what my gut and eye tells me to. I have never gone wrong listening to my instinct,” she says.

But she does add that she is often inspired by textiles, the texture, the colour combinations and the designs.

“My friends often tell me to design jewellery to go with a particular outfit or sari.”

Urbanitii online

You can view Vidhya’s creations on or call her on 9585551927. You can also email

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.