What is Lai?
In Sanskrit, it means 'the beloved one'. In old French, a 'lyrical, narrative poem that often deals with tales of adventure and romance'. And we strive to live up to both meanings.
Lai is a design-led collaboration with artisan clusters in India, to create jewellery that melds traditional craftsmanship and a rich heritage with modern aesthetics.
We believe that women relate to cultural sentiments and aesthetics at a deep visceral level, and this isn’t just limited to their own cultures. Lai was born out of the need we felt- to create jewellery that worked with the wardrobe of today's women whilst allowing them to express their personalities, their love for old cultures, history, and traditions in a fresh, current way.
And this is what makes Lai unique. Jewellery that is both culturally nuanced and forward-looking at the same time. Jewellery that resonates with stories, symbolism, and myths. Jewellery that, unlike the mass-market, more-of-the-same stuff, lets you authentically tell your story.
We subscribe to Fair Trade principles. Most of our jewellery is handcrafted in sterling silver, in Jaipur, India by expert artisans using time-honored techniques. We often collaborate with other craft clusters in India, such as in Bidri x MCM or Nathdwara collections, to share our love for these ancient skills with our clients.
Employing traditional craftsmanship to craft design-led jewellery not only aids in preserving traditional skills and know how, it also enables the artisans to find market access and sustainable employment opportunities.
You can find our designs at leading museum stores across the world including The San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, CA), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Birmingham Museum of Art + international stores known for their unique POV like uncommongoods.com, Cargo (Portland, OR) and Tail of the Yak (Berkeley, CA).
Founder and Designer: Puja Bhargava Kamath
Puja has worked in the jewellery and craft sector for over 20 years. Her work took her to remote parts of India and gave her an opportunity to witness first-hand the magic of century-old jewellery and craft traditions. This passion and a deep abiding sense of commitment to traditional skills and cultural preservation lead to the creation of Lai.
Puja graduated from India's premier design institute, NIFT, New Delhi, and has won several design awards including those from DeBeers and World Gold Council. Delhi and California based, she has also lived and worked in Bangalore, Bombay and Jaipur- cities with a rich history and syncretic cultures.
Hi, I'm Puja, founder, and designer of Lai which is a convergence of my three big passions: crafts and traditional skills, jewellery, and history.
Since I started on the Lai journey, I’ve found support and inspiration from customers, friends, and so many kindred spirits - thank you for shopping and supporting indie brands! ♡
And if this is your first time here- I can't wait to connect! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries, suggestions or just to say hello...