Talented and committed, Gunjan Suri, is one of India’s well-known award-winning jewellery designers and a qualified gemmologist from the Gemological Institute of India (GII). Blessed with an amicable persona, she has been in the field of jewellery designing for many years. She worked as head designer for a couple of big companies before she decided to branch out on her own. Today, at her by-appointment-only eponymous boutique in Navi Mumbai, she creates unique bespoke commissions for her clients or sells off-the-shelf bejewelled pieces. Her style is distinct and essays a convergence of vintage-meets-modern motifs that are laden with a rich tapestry of coloured gemstones and diamonds. She is also a design consultant for various national and international companies. Here’s her personal account of her journey so far.
Grand Earrings and Organic Rings
The centre ring forged in yellow gold with a variety of textures takes cues from coral reefs and is set with uncut diamonds in an open setting. The other two rings in pink gold take inspiration from potpourri and are accented with rose cuts and full-cut diamonds.
The gold earrings (of which one is featured here) are inspired by Mughal art and feature intricate nakashi detailing.
This pair of Pathway diamond earrings describes the path or the choices made by the woman of today; the gem-set ring is influenced by architectural forms; the emerald and diamond bracelet brings together the glory of nature and art; the ultra-light pair of diamond earrings is from the Cherry Blossom collection.
Earrings and Ring
The ornamental earrings articulate the grandeur of Mughal motifs.
The gem-set yellow gold ring is inspired by a kalgi or head ornament.
It all started with a dream to aspire and achieve. The aspiration remained however, the dream changed, from aspiring to becoming a doctor to now a jewellery designer – it’s been a long journey of almost two decades.
I still remember the day I missed college and appeared for an aptitude test conducted by the Jasani Department of Jewellery Design & Manufacture. I was one of the lucky 20 candidates selected from all over India through series of aptitude tests and interviews.
There was no looking back after that. Before completing the four-year jewellery programme, I was trained under the guidance of Gavin Fraser Williams and Elizabeth Anstice Brown from the Royal College of Art, UK. I was fortunate to have bagged two major awards in the all-India diamond and gold jewellery design category. Flooded with job offers thereafter, I got a chance to work with some of the best names in the industry.
I also had the opportunity to work on special projects for De Beers, World Gold Council, PGI – India and Swarovski, to name a few.
Wordsmith to Entrepreneur
Then arose in me an urge to pen down my thoughts on creativity and design, and soon my articles were published in jewellery magazines. Thus began a new phase in my design career – readers liked my thoughts on design and in August 2015, I published India’s premier book Sieve By Design, which was sponsored by jewellery designer Varuna D Jani and published by Spenta Multimedia Pvt. Ltd.
I was in a happy space, but the Almighty had other plans for me. It so happened that the company I worked for as a design head for a decade, shut shop and I started working as design consultant for various companies. That is when I decided to start my own brand of couture diamond jewellery and a parallel design studio that provides design services to various international and national jewellery houses.
Jewellery for me is similar to a miniature sculptural art form. I am partial to strong forms, but I am inspired by nature so I try fusing these two aspects in my jewellery – an intense mix of edge and femininity. But most importantly, no design is complete without a strong foundation or story.
Inspiration strikes from unlikeliest places – a conversation, a quote, travel, children and their perspective, nature…
At Gunjan Suri Couture Jewels (GSCJ), we are predominately driven by design that tells a story.
The first ever collection I designed was called ‘transforme’, inspired by the amoeba that changes its form in every step that it takes. That triggered in me an idea to create a collection that was ahead of its time. Every piece in that collection was asymmetrical, raw and yet beautiful.
Ornate designs featuring fancy-shaped diamonds; unique combinations of coloured gemstones that juxtapose shades such as blue and orange, pink and purples; and beads and pebbled stones are also gaining popularity. I believe in the near future there will be an infusion of dense texture work in jewellery.
The Indian millennial is not against buying jewellery, but they have specific tastes… they go for simpler designs that bear personalised messages, which is unique to them. Solitaires seem to be a favourite with them; also, more innovation in terms of a setting or technique excites them.
I have managed to strike a chord with my customers, who walk away with an experience and not just a piece of jewellery. I guess it’s about building relations that last forever.
I love travelling and believe in being a good human being and living life to the fullest. I feel life is a celebration, so one should make the most of it!