COOMI BHASIN is a woman who has evidently succumbed to the charm of gold. The India-born and now US-based designer loves the metal for its purity, and finds a spiritual connection to it. Her jewellery is laden with symbolism and she tells stories of nature, history and people through gold by highlighting its texture and lending it a curious character. Her ultra-delicate but superstrong and rugged forms are striking and leave a lasting impression on the wearer. A history graduate, Coomi also trained as a textile designer, but began making one-off customised pieces on request while in her teens. Gradually, she plunged full-time into creating gold collections under her eponymous brand.
To say that creativity runs in her veins would be an understatement. When Coomi moved with her husband, a commercial builder, to the Us, she also undertook a degree in construction management, and later picked up assignments as an architect and landscape designer. Her jewellery is therefore a merger of many influences and the forms that emerge from her workbench are fluid and textured with a backdrop of a vibrant, natural landscape enhanced by gemstones, rose-cut or brilliant-cut diamonds. The designer, whose motto is to live in the present, connects the present generation to the ancient world through her handcrafted art.
By SHANOO BIJLANI
You are a woman who has played many roles, including that of a textile and landscape designer. How did you get into the field of designing jewellery?
My basic education was in textile design, and I did my thesis in jewellery design. Jewellery was my first love and will always remain so. Designing ornaments makes me happy. Everything I create has my unique style and signature to it, and I think that adds to the rarity of my collections. I do not hold my jewellery up to standards set by what is trending or what other designers are doing.
After completing BA in Art History, how did you land up doing textile designing? When did you start creating jewellery for private clients?
My father was in the textile business, and believe me, it is the hardest thing to design textiles, since it draws from every imaginable field. I was drawn to it because it’s always been around me. However, I began creating jewellery with beads for family and friends when I was barely 15 years of age.
You started your signature label in 2002. How do you create jewellery – do you put your thoughts on paper first?
I carry my sketchbook with me everywhere I go. I could be walking down the street when inspiration could come to me in many forms. It could draw from a stranger’s smile or gestures, too. Everything inspires me.
Were you good at designing since childhood, or did you pick up the art later?
Designing is a part of who I am. I was also good at arranging furniture. When I was a young girl, my mother was nervous to take me anywhere. I would rearrange entire rooms into a whole new space.
Do you weave stories into your jewellery or are they based on abstract thoughts? Since you are a history graduate, are your designs influenced by ancient civilizations and cultures?
It is a bit of both. Some pieces are based on abstract thoughts, and some of my designs tell stories. Ancient civilization is a part of everyone’s history, and I like to connect our present world with the world of the past through my jewellery.
How would you define your jewellery?
I basically draw on human survival. My jewellery speaks to our genetic map print—women and men can relate to it. The same piece can be worn during the day paired with jeans, and it can be worn with a cocktail dress at night. I do not follow trends or what other designers and brands are doing, I create from my heart. There is spirituality in the thought process which guides me. My jewellery is a representation of whatever makes me happy.
You work wonders with gold. Do you have a strong affinity towards the metal? Or do you also work with other precious metals?
Growing up in the East, I do have a strong affinity towards gold. The yellow metal is pure and life-infusing. I also work with silver, which is considered auspicious in India, and bestows good health upon its wearer.
What is the profile of your regular customer? How many boutiques do you have across the globe?
My jewellery is worn by a well-travelled, fun-loving individual who isn’t afraid to be herself. Right now, we are concentrated only in the us.
What hobbies do you pursue?
I have certain de-stressing rituals that include cooking, gardening, and lots of laughing. Since my jewellery comes from whatever makes me happy, I do what I love the most.
What are your best-selling jewellery pieces?
I would say long necklaces, because they are very versatile. You can wear the chain, add a pendant or charms, or double the strand.
What are the coloured gemstones you prefer to work with?
I’m partial to anything bright and sparkly, but rubies are my favourite gemstones.
What is your philosophy about designing?
My philosophy is to keep a sacred balance and flow that can always make you smile.