Designs that stand out

THOUGH T. NAGAR'S many stores sell everything from stainless steel vessels and vegetables to sandblasted jeans and silk saris, exclusivity is rather hard to come by. And on Usman Road, where every other building is a jewellery store of some size, finding custom-made ornaments seems rather unlikely.

However, Original Kerala Jewellers (OKJ) has just introduced a counter for designer jewellery that will feature Asha Sebastian Mattathil's collection from Cochin. Asha's creations are intricate and elegant yet radiating a sense colour and lightness. "I realised that younger people prefer costume jewellery to heavy gold, even for occasions," says Asha. "Since they don't like the traditional designs, they avoid gold entirely." So she decided to design gold jewellery that is trendy and light, though showy enough to be worn to a wedding or party.

Designs that stand out

Her designs borrow heavily from Minakari and Rajasthani patterns. The colour combinations are striking — ruby reds, peacock blues, coral pink, bright green and gold and pearls. The earrings are clusters of tiny pearls, coral and rubies. Most of her necklaces encircle the neck and when seen from a distance gives the impression of glittery beads held together with just a ruby or two, with no obvious chains of gold in between. The patterns are unusual — large squares with intricate blue, white and gold work, bunches of rubies and emeralds, or just a simple elongated ruby on a slim but stiff gold chain.

"We have a lot of customers who want fashionable jewellery that no one else has. That's why we decided to bring in Asha Sebastian," says Babu Emmanuel of OKJ (ph: 24340027/5809). Most of the jewellery on display, priced between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 60,000, can even be worn with Western formals as well as casuals. The square embellished pendants strung on black bead or delicate gold chains and simple bracelets make elegant accessories for a party.

Asha also designs waistbands and bracelets for children, to which extra hoops can be added so that "it can be extended as the child grows and it can be worn till the child turns 14 or 15."

Designs that stand out

"My jewellery can be worn with jeans or a sari, and the designs will appeal to everybody."

The Cochin-based designer has been crafting ornaments for the past 19 years. At OKJ, her jewellery will be sold over the counter but customers who want a little more exclusivity can ask for customised jewellery. "I enjoy making jewellery to order, indulging the customer's little quirks and preferences. Doing entire bridal trousseaus - jewellery from head to foot - is my speciality."