In Elle India's Nov'18 Bridal editorial: 'Minimalism vs Maximalism' November 20 2018
"Whether it's the age-old concept of maximalism that appeals to you, or a more contemporary and minimalist version of couture, dressing for weddings has never been this individualistic” - from Elle India’s November’18 bridal editorial, ‘Minimalism vs Maximalism'.
📷: Sushant Chhabria
Styling: Divyak D'souza
Art direction: Pranish Moore
Models: Vartika Singh and Aishwaryaa Desai
Our 'Hidden Messages' collection in 'Trend and Style'! November 17 2018
Our 'Hidden Messages' collection finds a mention in 'Trend and Style' Winter 2018 issue!
A German trade publication, the style scouts of 'Trend and Style' (www.trendwelten.eu) chanced upon our work at NY NOW, Aug'18. We are SO thrilled at this unexpected inclusion! :)
Featured! November 05 2018
Our Diwali just got sweeter! The stunning Indian actress Dia Mirza in this month’s Travel and Leisure's (India) cover story, wearing our Victorian abalone drop earrings! 👏👏👏💃💃💃
Fabulously styled by the one and only Divyak D'Souza! Shop these earrings here.
Our guide to Chandni Chowk October 05 2018
Whether you are a tourist or a local, unlikely you'll fall in love with Chandni Chowk in the first go. Or ever. It is messy, chaotic, dirty and noisy. Too many people, too much traffic, too much of everything, infact. But in a world getting increasingly homogenized, it can only be a wonderful thing when a place like this can exist, sustain, evolve and hold on it's own sub-culture, centuries after it was founded.
Said to have been built during the Mughal era by Emperor Shahjahan’s daughter - Jahanara, Chandni Chowk is the sole surviving custodian of the legendary charms of Delhi of yore- the Delhi of Mirza Ghalib.
The many speciality markets within Chandni Chowk were set up during the ancient times and have known to survive almost three centuries- both in old and new avatars. Kathra Neel for cloth, Chawri Bazaar for stationery, Dariba Kalan for jewellery, Khari Baowli for spices and many others.
Crumbling Havelis now line the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, a mere shadow of their former glory. The kuchas (alleys) and mohallas (residential neighborhoods) are all swallowed up by shops, vendors, crowds and vehicles. But if you care to look beyond what meets the eye, stories from a richly layered past start to emerge.......
Chandni Chowk- a Lai curation:
Shop no.15 (Khari Baowli; dals/lentils and beans) (Trivia: operating since 17th century, Khari Baoli is Asia's largest spice market. The Khari Baoli step-well was constructed during 1650's and during Shah Jahan's time the Baoli was used by animals and bathing. The first traders and merchants of Shahjahanbed set up their businesses here and some of the shops are still known by the serial numbers assigned more than 200 years ago!)
Shyam store (Khari Baowli; spices and dry fruits.)
Kedara (Kinari bazaar; masalas- specially dal and chaat, papads, 'mangori' and ubtan/face pack.)
Kinari bazaar (for all sorts of decorative odds and ends required in 'puja' and weddings.)
Natraj Dhai Bhalla (a Lai favourite. Two items on the menu since 1940; aloo tikki and dhai bhallas- both beyond delish!)
Katre Neel ki tikki (next to the gate; for what else but aloo tikki!)
Gol Hatti (Fatehpuri; for chola bhatura/chole chawal)
Annapurna Bhandar (near Fountain; for samosas: with a filling that has potatoes cut into tiny cubes and not mashed, served a signature dry chutney that needs to be diluted in water, we'd say these are the best samosas in Delhi. Yes, we like them that much! Don't forget to try their mishti doi and other delectable bengali sweets.)
Fruit Chaat at SBI bank
Ved Prakash Nimbu Pani (Town Hall; for banta- this place is believed to be the birthplace of banta! For the uninitiated, banta is lemon soda with a dash of spice, bottled in those amazing 'kancha'/marble topped bottles.)
Daulat ki chaat (in the by lanes of Kinari bazaar and else where- but only in winters. Also called 'malai-makhan', this milk and cream based sweet delicacy is light as air and all sorts of sublime!)
Kuremal ki kulfi (Sita Ram Bazaar; go for their natural fruit flavors in Kulfi. We love the mango, anar, paan and jamun ones. Also their fruit stuffed kulfis- if only for the prettiness of it.)
Amritsari Lassi Wala (Fatehpuri Chowk; for nice thick 'malai wali' lassi.)
Chandni Chowk: The Mughal City of Old Delhi, Swapna Liddle
Twilight in Delhi, Ahmed Ali
Clear Light of Day, Anita Desai
The Heart Has its Reasons, Krishna Sobti
Our guide to Delhi October 05 2018
Where modern life clashes with the old world, sometimes gently sometimes not quite. Forever evolving. A city with which I have a love-hate relationship but one that I return to every year. Because it is home. It is where family and friends are. It is where my most precious memories were made and fiercest battles fought.
Utsav (our favourite for sarees and yardage from across India. Look out for their annual sale in Aga Khan Hall.)
Bukhara (a legend not without reason.)
Indian Accent (when you pick it as the venue to introduce then boyfriend, now husband to your parents, you know its a special place! Despite its move from Manor to The Lodhi, this place is a must do on every India trip. Opt for the six-course tasting menu for a memorable culinary experience.)
Qutub Complex/Mehrauli Archaeological Park (for ruins, history, open spaces and the beauty of them all together. The only area in Delhi known for 1,000 years of continuous occupation- includes ruins from various dynasties- the Tomars, the Sultanates, Mughal and the British. Or just go for the Qutab. Don't miss the annual 'Qutub Festival', held in November-December.
Delhi: A Novel, Khushwant Singh
Twilight in Delhi, Ahmed Ali
Lai spotting! Priyaka Bose September 06 2018
The fabulous and uber talented actor Priyanka Bose in our Devi amulet choker! Can’t get over how stunning these pictures are! 😍
Two weeks to go!! #NYNow July 27 2018
Last year we took a huge risk. Having never participated in a trade show, we decided to dive into the deep end of the pool and learn how to swim!
For those of you who are familiar with trade shows, you’d know what a massive under taking it is- financially and time wise. I sat on the fence for three years before finally summoning the courage to dive in. And dive in in so small measure- we went all out and chose one of the biggest shows in the world, placing our designs, hard work and love in 50 sq. feet of space. One of the 2500 odd exhibitors. In a behemoth called NY NOW.
Cut to a year later, Lai can be found in stores of hallowed institutions like J Paul Getty (LA), Asian Art Museum (SF), The San Diego Museum of Art and more. Not to say that the show was a roaring success or suddenly we had ‘arrived’. Far from it. But it thrills me no end that my conviction to not change our designs and aesthetics to ‘suit the market’ paid off. That we could hold on our own. And that there was enough success and encouragement that we are going to be there again.
Wish us luck.....cause we need tons of it!
Sterling silver/Silver jewellery 101 June 20 2018
Long post alert!
“They are all made in 92.5 silver. I like it’s not sterling silver. (Sterling silver and zircon are worst!)”. We are quoting verbatim a line we came across on an Indian blog reviewing a jewellery brand.
The other day we received a DM on Instagram asking the price and material of a nose pin we had posted. On sharing the details, we got the reply- “Oh, I only wear silver”.
These statements are so factually wrong that we are compelled to clarify this. ‘Sterling silver’ IS 92.5/925 silver.
Since pure (100%) silver is too soft to be made into jewellery, some other metals (usually copper) are added to make it harder. 92.5% silver, as the name suggests is 92.5% silver + rest some other metal(s).
92.5, 925, Sterling silver are all the same thing. Sterling silver is a universally used and recognized standard for fine silver jewellery.
As for Zircon- it is a naturally occurring stone, found in abundance and hence not expensive (though in bigger sizes it is!), but beautiful in the many colors it occurs in. Surely nothing negative here!
But we think we know what the author might be trying to warn her readers against. German silver (an alloy of base metals) which is what all street side junk jewellery is made out of and Cubic Zirconia or CZ, which are man made stones used in imitation jewellery. A case of good intention but wrong information?
Which brings us to the broader point of being careful and selective in the information we are consuming.
It is so easy to Google and wax eloquent on the new weave or regional jewellery one is flaunting on Instagram, isn’t it? Who doesn’t like interesting captions and what better than to throw in a factoid or two that you just looked up?
Our two cents:
(1) please enjoy all the captions and stories but when it comes to spending your money, make sure to do your own research rather than blindly following and taking the word of your favourite blogger, influencer or curator.
(2) look for information coming from horse’s mouth which includes artisans, organizations and brands directly working with artisans and experienced experts in that field.
(3) Google is still your best friend but be sure to check out multiple sources and not go by and stop at the first thing you read.
(4) ask, ask, ask till all your questions about material, provenance etc. have been answered to your satisfaction by the seller/brand. But please do a favor- checkout their website first. Most legit brands take a lot of care to preempt and answers all queries under ‘FAQs’ or ‘About’ section- do see if your query has already been addressed to before you shoot them a mail/message. All brand owners/designers love to answer questions but it can get tiresome answering questions that are repetitive and have been answered on the website.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this- anything else you’d like to add or correct?
P.S: sterling silver = 92.5 silver = 925 silver! 🙂
Originally posted on our Instagram page.
Our new collection is now open for orders! November 18 2016
"Jewellery tells a story. Like many art forms, it has the power to evoke memory and emotion. We hold on to it and protect it, carrying it with us through life. We pass it on to younger generations. Its worth cannot by measured solely by the materials with which it was crafted. A piece of jewellery can reveal much about the designer’s style, but it tells the wearer’s story." (source: unknown)
Each piece in this limited edition collection has been handcrafted by expert artisans in our Jaipur workshop with extreme attention to detail at every stage. Since these are labour intensive and technically complex pieces, we have decided to make this a 'made to order collection' with a lead period of 3-4 weeks.
We will be taking orders for a week after the launch (till 27th November, Sunday). No booking shall be taken after that. Payment can be made via credit/debit cards, on-line bank transfers and cheque/cash deposit in out account. Those opting for latter 2 options need to ensure that the payment is in our account within 48 hours of placing your order.
Contemporary, yet timeless. Inherently mysterious, intriguing, and- once the wearer makes them her own- unparallely personal. Our "Amulets, Lockets and Talismans" collection is a must for every jewellery lovers wardrobe! :)
Yay again! November 08 2016
Thrilled to find the spot light on our Bidri X MCM collection on one of the most wonderful sources available to conscious consumers for discovering ethical brands/designers and from world over- Magnifeco.com. Thank you so much, Valerie!
P.S: we may be working on launching a new story soon but we are still focused on promoting our Bidri collection, to make collaborating with craft groups a sustainable exercise for them and for us- especially to the US/European clients this Holiday Season. So if you have jewellery loving friends and family on this side of the globe, please do share this with them!
Yay! October 27 2016
Our favourite Mumbai based read The Daily Pao lists our long rectangular bidri earrings as one of the best Diwali gift buys from country's 25 indie labels.
Thrilled to be on their list! :)
Lai spotting in Cuba!! October 13 2016
So kicked to see this behind the scene picture from Majestic Disorder's fashion editorial shoot for their upcoming issue- shot in Havana, Cuba! Feathered here: Round Bidri cuff from our Bidri X MCM collection.
Majestic Disorder is one of our favourite world arts + culture magazine and we are so proud to have had this chance to be a part of this awesome magazine! If only we could have travelled to Cuba with our jewellery! :)
Work in progress! October 12 2016
So many of you have written in to ask about our next collection....well its about time, isn't it?!
While we had all the intentions of giving you some wonderful options to add to your jewellery collections, this festive season- its clear now that we had grossly underestimated the time taken to actualize the gorgeous yet technically complex collection we have in pipeline for you.
While, despite all our efforts, it seems like we will miss the Diwali bus, we are sure to wow you with our new collection- now (almost) nearing completion. Stay with us for more!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 12th October, 2016.
"jewellery brands we obsess over" October 11 2016
Big thanks to the lovely folks at The Ardour for choosing Lai as one of the "jewellery brands we obsess over"!
Featured! October 02 2016
Thank you so much Pragya and team Creative Gaga!
Website re-launch! September 30 2016
- shop by not just collections but also by separate product categories (earrings, rings etc.), price bands (under Rs.2500/-, under Rs.5000/-) and by type (plain silver, with gemstones, gold plated etc.)
- secure payment by credit/debit cards, net baking, cash cards, on-line bank transfer and cash/cheque deposit
- a counter lets you know when a design is down to last 2 or less pieces in stock
- create a "wish-list" of both in stock and sold out designs that you can refer to anytime. You can pool in all your favourite designs under your wish-list, look them up in one place and edit the list anytime. Email the wish-list to family/friends, treat it like a registry to circulate amongst friends so that they know exactly what to buy for you and more!
- a 'notify me' feature to leave your e-mail id against any sold out design you are interested in. As soon as that design is back in stock the system will automatically send you a notification mail. This feature will also help us know which sold out designs you are coveting so we can put them into production- so we highly encourage that you use it!
- enjoy free shipping for all purchases above Rs.10,000/- within India or above USD 200 within continental USA
- world wide shipping from India and USA
We hope these features will make it a breeze for you to shop from Lai and make your time spent in our web shop more fun and productive!
Know of anyone who loves good jewellery just as much as you do? Then please do share our website with them!
As always, we are just an e-mail away, should you have any query or concerns that are not addressed on the website.
Thank you for all your support over these past few years....
An eight page spread in India's premier jewellery magazine! September 28 2016
Super stoked to find an eight page interview and and photo feature on Lai in India's premier jewellery magazine- Adorn!
A big thanks to Shanoo Bijlani, editor Adorn, for this wonderful oppourtunity and the brilliant interview!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 28th September, 2016.
Look at that! September 21 2016
An absolutely envy inducing Lai collection of one of our most enthusiastic supporters- Akanksha Dutta!
It is hard to put our feelings into words when we see all our designs, loving collected over time, shot with so much love and pride and shared with us.....
Thank you so-so much for all that love for Lai, Akanksha. Feeling blessed and humbled!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 21st September, 2016.
Media love for our Bidri X MCM collection continues to pour! September 19 2016
In September'16 issue of Elle, India
In September- October'16 issue of Creative Gaga
In September'16 issue of Femina, India
Saying that we are thrilled would be an understatement! :)
Featured! September 13 2016
Lai's Kinner Kailash enamel studs in Harper's Bazar Bride September'16 issue on an actress after our own heart- the very gorgeous Nimart Kaur. Thrilled!
Thank you Divyak D'Souza, Srishti Tewari and Harper's Bazaar Bride India!
Spotted Lai's Bidri X MCM collection being quoted by The New Indian Express journalist Nidhi Singh on her feature about the the rising trend of multi purpose/detachable jewellery!
We like! :)
Down the memory lane! September 02 2016
Found some old pictures of when we 1st sampled, some 6 years back, what are definitely a Lai classic now- these coin earrings!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 2nd September, 2016.
Featured! August 30 2016
Thrilled to find ourselves in a list of 3 indie brands that The Luxe Café has handpicked as "indie designers and brands which are changing the face of jewellery, as it were, and re-interpreting it as design artifacts rather than just a beautiful accessory."
"While stores like Nimai, en Inde, and online portals like Isharya are devoted to the cause of exclusively designed, eclectically curated jewellery, we have some of our own designer favourites adding to the list of labels doing not just pretty baubles, a list which started with names like Eina Ahluwalia and Suhani Pittie, which has grown to include other brilliant sparks. Rummaging through our treasure troves, we bring you these brands which are further propelling the indie jewellery movement, introducing the modern divas to innovative, experimental, bold and beautiful statement jewellery. Not defined by the price, rather by the passion with which they are created, these jewellery brands offer adornments which are flaunt-worthy and yet not flashy, they are loved by the celebs and still not overtly-starry. By the time you reach the end of this story we hope have you convinced about the next-up stores and portals to haunt for adding to your cache of concept jewellery."
So we had a bit of a SOS last Friday.... August 10 2016
It came to my notice that the Picasa links via which we had shared our catalogues with all of you for so long were now defunct. Google (who bought Picasa) had announced this a while ago but it came into effect last Friday. If you click on any of our links now, you will get an error message.
So instead of switching to Google photos- to which Google has migrated our catalogues, we've decided to transfer all the product pictures, prices and other details to our website. Given the number of collections we have, this is a herculean task but one we are determined to make and finish at the earliest. One by one, we'll upload every single collection, every design. This is phase 1.
A bit later we plan to e-commerce enable the website so that you can shop our entire (India) inventory directly from the website (yay!). This will be phase 2.
The US inventory will have a separate website and this will be phase 3.
I guess this was all inevitable. Much as I enjoy hearing from and writing to all of you, a large chunk of my day was going in just clearing the inbox. I was begining to feel the pinch of being the direct (and only) client interface. So the upcoming changes should hopefully make it easier for you to shop from us and leave me with more time for growing our brand and for more exciting product developments.
And while we are talking about this, I'd love to hear from you if you have any suggestions about features you find useful while shopping on-line (cart abandonment reminders?) and which in your opinion are a complete put off (pop-up?!). Any entrepreneurs, running their own website, reading this? I'd love to find out about payment gateways for India etc. Let me know if I can trouble you for some information.
Thank you all so much for all your support and love. Lai is all geared up for some big changes!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 10th August, 2016.
Featured in national daily Deccan Herald! July 18 2016
Featured in Friday's (15th July'16) Deccan Herald, New Delhi edition. Yay!
Thanks a ton, Shweta, for this wonderful interview! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 18th July, 2016.
Not staged. Real life. July 16 2016
Just got some pictures, taken on a cousin's wedding a few months back in India, and I love them. They, in a way, speak of things I miss most about being in India- the festivities, family gatherings and that occasional dressing up!
In the background, on left is one of my aunts who I've, since my childhood, seen wearing the most gorgeous Kanjeeverams, some serious jewellery, her signature big bindi and always looking so darn regal!Love the whole old-world feel to this picture- due credit to the photographer for capturing it and also choosing to make it black and white.
Also posted on our Facebook page on 16th July, 2016.
One of our dearest, most colorful, super wearable and deliciously affordable collection- Rangoli- is now back in stock! July 14 2016
Re-launching our Rangoli collection- because there is nothing more we need to wear, in these summer days, than light weight and comfortable pieces of jewellery- that are chic and super pretty too!
Lets admit it, while its easy to paint a very romantic picture of summer days, it is also the time when outside of an air conditioned environment, things can get not so pleasant and sweaty.
Whether you choose to wear a sundress, cotton kurtis or the classic white shirt, our Rangoli collection pieces will provide just that right pop of colour and subtle detail, while being comfortable enough to be taken from office mornings to an impromptu evening out. Effortless jewellery- but super versatile.
And, yes, all of these make for perfect gift options too!
These are all 'ready to ship' collections, so go ahead- make your selection and order away! As always, these are limited edition pieces so you will need to get back to us at the earliest to ensure you get your selection.
Haven't received our Summer edit mailer? Check your junk/spam folder or the 'Promotions' tab if you use Gmail. Still not there or if you are not on our mailing list, then write to us at email@example.com and we'll get back to you with the details!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 14th July, 2016.
#ThrowBackThursday July 07 2016
......to a time when I worked on fine jewellery and diamonds!
Seems like another life time! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 7th July, 2016.
Merci beaucoup, Howzzthat.com for listing Lai as one of "India's top creative brands"!
Our Bidri X MCM collection got featured! June 24 2016
A write-up on our Bidri X MCM collection in The Humming Notes, a new lifestyle website that focusses on travel, culture, heritage, food and wellness.
Always exciting to know that people are liking our work enough to want to write about it and share it! Thanks a ton, Aarti and team Humming Notes!
Look whose list our Nose pins made it to! June 22 2016
Always exciting to find Lai in Little Black Book, Bangalore's curation! This time in their round up of best places to buy nose pins.....
A big thanks for team LBB and Chandni for the shout out! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 22nd June, 2016.
#ThrowBackThursday June 16 2016
.......to about a year and a half ago when this shot was taken for an interview. I was asked to pick my most frequently worn jewellery and this is the assortment I chose.
It's seems a bit odd looking at this photograph now since about 70% of these jewellery pieces are not in my current rotation!
I'd be most curious to know how you wear your jewellery. Do you change jewellery on a daily basis? Wear them on a rotation basis? Stick to the staples? I'd so love to know! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 16th June, 2016.
It is wonderful to be back after a vacation and have tons of wonderful mails and messages awaiting us.... June 14 2016
.....like this one on our Instagram feed from a designer we admire a lot- Eina Ahluwalia:
"I just discovered your new Bidri line, and I had to write in to say I LOVE it!!! Congratulations, it's absolutely brilliant ❤️"
It is so generous and wonderful of Eina to stop by and comment- we are thrilled to have our new collection liked by some one whose work we admire a lot. In fact, Eina is not the only fellow designer who has written in to congratulate us on our Bidri collection....here are some others whose messages we are so grateful for!
"The bidri range is exceptional! Congratulations!!!"
- Benaazir of MoodSwings Jewelry by Benaazir
"The collection is fro sure not be missed. Loved every design"
- Sankeerthi of Rabbit Out Of The Hat
"Sheer art, Puja! Have always loved your design sensibilities. Bidri in this form is poetry 💜"
- Aparna of Nine By Thirty
"Really appreciate your latest experiment. It's incredibly brave of you to try something so different despite all the expectations and pressures that come with having a strong following."
-Vyshnavi of Dvibhumi
Thank you and much love to all of you! Feels great to be a part of such a warm and positive design community! :)
Click the above image to play the video!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 14th June, 2016.
We are off on a break! June 03 2016
We are taking a mid-year break and camping in Yosemite valley this coming week- a trip has has been in planning for past 2 years (we live quite close to Yosemite, actually....we just never got reservations in the campground)!!
A world heritage site and touted to be one of the most awe-inspiring places in North America, we are super excited to be setting off on our Yosemite adventure! Yay!
Mails and queries will be answered to after I return- 13th June.
Join me on instagram (@lai_designs) where I'll be sharing pictures of this adventure! Au revoir! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 3rd June, 2016.
Sunday, June 19th is Father's Day....... June 01 2016
.......and we think we have the perfect gift for your dad!Limited edition (vintage) watch-part cufflinks set in solid sterling silver with a twisted wire outline detail.
I had initially picked up some watch parts from an antiques faire near San Francisco and had carried them with me on my recent trip to India where I got them converted into cufflinks. These were gifted to my husband and dad and seeing how much they loved the cufflinks, I decided to hunt down some more watch-parts and have them converted to cufflinks for the special men in your life too!
We have 5 pairs of these available in India and 3 pairs in the US- ready just in time for Father's Day! :)
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for price and other details.
Also posted on our Facebook page on 1st June, 2016.
......we just had a crazy many great shots of the same piece and were forced to pick only 1! Case in point- these 2 pictures. Never shared here or anywhere else before.
Urmila Venkat, you are stunning!! Thank you so much for being a Lai muse! xox
Also posted on our Facebook page on 26th May, 2016.
Lai is in L'official's May'16 issue! May 13 2016
The creative powerhouse and our absolute favourite fashion blogger, Rhea of FUSS, looking fierce in our Lapis claw earrings for an amazing editorial for L'Officiel India's May issue!
Big thanks to you, Rhea, for making Lai a part of this stunning feature!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 13th May, 2016.
Lai's Bidri designs in making! May 11 2016
We know that all of you are impatient to lay your hands on your Bidri pieces and our workshop is furiously at work in an attempt to delivery your jewellery to you as soon as possible.....
.......some pictures of work in progress, in the meantime? :)
AAlso posted on our Facebook page on 11th May, 2016.
When one of our clients from Canada, Deepu, mentioned that some her old inherited Bidri artifacts had badly tarnished and she wasn't quite sure how to restore them, we suggested she rub their surface with a white pencil eraser.
And voila! Look at the results for yourself in this picture that Deepu sent us! How utterly exquisite is that Bidri box?! You can see on top how blackened it had become!
And since you know this little trick now, go ahead and bring back to life all your old Bidri pieces! Beautiful things are meant to be enjoyed and not kept stored away in drawers! :)
Also posted on our Facebook page on 9th May, 2016.
A big thank you!! May 03 2016
We want to thank all of you for the stupendous response to 'Bidri X MCM'! Due to many requests we are getting, we have extended the bookings till end of this week.
We'll admit, we did have moments of doubt while working on this collection especially when its coming together took so long.
Our workshop is furiously at work in an attempt to delivery your jewellery to you as soon as possible....
Thank you so much for being a part of our journey.....and for letting us be a part of your world. Much-much gratitude.
Also posted on our Facebook page on 3rd May, 2016.
We got some swell love from the wonderful folks at LBB, Delhi!'The Little Black Book' is our favourite source of all things happening in Delhi (and Bangalore through their Bangalore edition LBB, Bangalore)......so we are super stocked to find Lai's new collection, Bidri X MCM, make it through their recommendation filter!
Thank you so much Navya and team LBB for this wonderful shout out!
Bidri X MCM: our limited edition collection of silver and Bidri jewellery is now open for bookings! April 22 2016
Calling the individualists, the story collectors, those doing-their-own-thing and the cultural mavens......our new collection of handcrafted silver and Bidri jewellery is now open for bookings!
This limited edition collection comprises of 29 uniquely crafted necklaces, pendants, earrings, cuffs and rings which though contemporary, exudes an agelessness through use of ancient craft of Bidri in Mid Century Modern (MCM) inspired designs.
The striking contrast of colours- the glossy silver inlay being set off dramatically against the matt black- makes for visually stunning pieces. The result? An overall aesthetic that is delicate yet formidable, understated yet opulent.
Each piece in this collection has Bidri components that are handcrafted in Bidar, Karnataka by master craftsmen using time honoured techniques handed down over centuries. These Bidri components are then set in silver jewellery by expert artisans in our Jaipur workshop with extreme attention to detail at every stage.
It is for this reason we cannot make these pieces in large volumes; we start making your piece only once you order it.
This 'made to order collection' has a lead period of 2-3 weeks for the first lot and around 4 weeks for the next lot.
1st Lot: We have already gotten some bidri units made that are ready to be converted into jewellery......these pieces will be finished and ready to ship in about 2 weeks. As soon as we have your order we can block the relevant design for you and courier it to you once it is ready.
Next lot: Once the 1st lot is sold out, the wait time for the jewellery after placing your order will be additional 2 weeks since extra time will be required for the fabrication of the Bidri units also.
Drop us a line at email@example.com for details or to join our mailing list, if you haven't already!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 20th April, 2016.
Mid Century Modern de-coded! April 18 2016
Ever since my design college days, I've been a huge fan of Bauhaus and what is now referred to as the (American) Mid Century Modern aesthetics.
Reading west-centric (primarily USA based) design and decor blogs and magazines only lead to an ever growing fascination for this period.
'Mid-Century Modern' or MCM is a term often used to describe a design movement, encompassing architecture, furniture, decor, and graphic design in the US, roughly in the mid 20th century, that was essentially an American reflection of the Bauhaus movement in Europe, influenced by the works of designers and architects like Gropius, Florence Knoll, Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Post the 2 major World Wars, in the 1950s much of the world was depleted financially and emotionally. But spirits were high. Good seemed to have triumphed over evil, and the opportunity to pave a new way of life presented itself. Shortage of money, shortage of materials, accelerated rebuilding requirements- the 3 practical reasons that lead to an innovative use of minimal resources and deployment of new materials such as plastic, plywood, metal composites, laminates and fiberglass. The designs that came about were simple and therefore timeless. Many scholars believe that there was an emotional rebellion to the ornamentation that was prevalent at the time.
Shaped by the Bauhaus, MCM style favored concrete, steel and glass, open plans, geometrically precise forms and integrating the outside with the interiors. Clean, sculptural lines exemplified the mid-century modern furniture and quirky geometric and curvilinear shapes were other hallmarks of the decor and prints of this era. Followers believed that technology and mass-production weren’t necessarily at odds with artistry, and championed a utopian vision that everyday urban life could be elevated through design.
More than half a century after its origin, Mid century modern (MCM), suddenly feels very relevant again. Its minimalist sensibility, a preference for the clean lines and pared down designs seem to be exactly what we need as we look to simplify our fast paced, multitasking, over informed, frantic, internet fueled lives.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the time spent researching this design period for our new collection 'Bidri X MCM'.....sharing a few pages from our inspiration board!
[Text compiled with inputs from Wiki and articles on MCM on the internet]
Also posted on our Facebook page on 18th April, 2016.
Making of a Bidri piece...... April 14 2016
The exquisiteness and the clean lines of Bidri belie the complicated and time consuming steps that go into its creation.
Crafting of a Bidri article (inlaying silver wire/sheet onto an oxidized zinc and copper alloy base) involves four main steps: (1) mould making, (2) melting the alloy and casting the article, (3) engraving and inlaying the design and finally (4) oxidizing.
We've prepared a photo documentation to explain these steps to the curious! :)
Mould making: A mix of soil, castor oil and resin is used to prepare a mould.
Melting the alloy and casting the article: In this mould, molten metal alloy of zinc and copper (in the ratio of 16:1) is poured.
Depending on the product design, different metal casted pieces may need to be welded together to form one single product.
The rough surface of a freshly cast piece is smoothened by filing with files, scrapers and sand papers. Then a superficial layer of black is applied on the surface of the article by rubbing it with a solution of copper sulphate. This makes it easier for the artist to draw the design on it, which is easily visible on the black surface.
Engraving the design: The engraving tool, a kalam or metal chisel of various shapes and points, is used to engrave the designs which are drawn free hand. Traditionally, various Mughal inspired motifs such as flowers (known as Asharfi-ki-booti), leaves (vine creepers), geometric designs, etc. were commonly done on the items.
Inlaying the design: Inlaying work is done by silver sheet or wire which are deftly and skillfully placed in the engraved groves. The inlaid design is then buffed to smooth the surface.
Oxidizing: After final filing and/or buffing, the bidriware is now ready for the final blackening process. A special variety of soil which is available only in the unlit portions of the Bidar fort is used (it is said that this soil is very special. While no definite reason can be attributed to this- some artisans feel that the soil is away from the sunlight and rain for years and therefore it has great oxidizing properties). The soil is mixed with ammonium chloride and water to produce a paste which is then rubbed onto a heated bidri surface. The paste selectively darkens the body while it has no effect on the silver inlay.
The final piece is rubbed with coconut oil to brighten the black surface.
Also posted on our Facebook page on 14th April, 2016.
Bidri- a craft like no other! April 13 2016
Bidri is indeed a craft like no other. One of the main reason for its visual appeal is the striking contrast of colours- the glossy silver inlay being set off dramatically against the matt black.
Besides being visually stunning, Bidri work is also a very enduring- it does not rust and can last and look the same for centuries....one of the many reasons we love it so!
Here are some museum-quality pieces to feast your eyes on!
Also posted on our Facebook page on 13th April, 2016.
Travel with us to Bidar! April 12 2016
Many hundreds of years ago, the fine art of inlaying silver/gold wire on other metal surface made its way from Iran all the way to Ajmer, Rajasthan and from there to Bijapur- flourishing during the reign of the Deccan Sultanate.
It is said that in the 14th century, Alauddin Bahamani II invited Moguls from Bijapur to set up a metalworking center in Bidar. It is here that this craft evolved and matured, over the next 400 years, into the fine craft of Bidri which involves multiple time consuming steps to inlay silver wire and sheet on an oxidized zinc and copper alloy.
Bidar, a quaint hill-top city situated in the deccan plateau, in the north-eastern part of Karnataka state of India, may be well known for its many places of architectural, historical and religious importance but for us it is home to our new collection- 'Bidri X MCM'.
Before we talk more about this beautiful craft, how about a few snapshots of this quaint city?
Madarsa of Mahmud Khawja Gawan Bidar
Bareedi tombs Details inside the Bidar Fort
Also posted on our Facebook page on 12th April, 2016.
First Look! April 11 2016
I couldn't be happier than to finally be able to talk about our new collection- launching very soon!
Like many of our previous collections, this is a very personal one- born out of my current influences and preferences. However, this is one collection that has taken the longest time in making......no other collection has demanded such a long gestation time, so much co-ordination and such a lot of patience!
I fell in love with the craft of Bidri (a fine art of inlaying silver wire and sheet on an oxidized zinc and copper alloy) as a design student and have always wanted to work with it. When I moved to Bangalore from Delhi, I thought the time had come. I travelled to Bidar, a small town in north Karnataka, where this craft is practiced but the unit I was referred to didn't seem like the place that could or would do justice to our designs. So after some failed attempts, I put the Bidri project on a back burner.
When I moved to the US, I found myself drawn more and more to 'Mid Century Modern' (MCM) aesthetics that are so quintessentially Californian; and somehow Bidri and MCM just seemed such a natural fit together for our new collection! (More on Mid Century Modern in a subsequent post.)
So I started looking again for the right collaborator and finally my search ended with a master craftsman (and a National Awardee for Bidri craft) who had worked on many prestigious projects before. When I held the first few samples in my hands, I knew I had found the level of craftsmanship I had been looking for.
And after 8 months of work - designing, prototyping, numerous telephone calls, couriers and travels including a 3 month travel and stay in India - to get things just right, we feel so proud to be able to present our new work to you- real soon.....
Also posted on our Facebook page on 11th April, 2016.
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