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Your interest in jewellery? How did you end up in an offbeat , unconventional and unique career such as this?

Arts and crafts have always been a way of life for Sangeeta Dewan, head of the Tanishq design studio. Thanks to her mother, who is a painter, Sangeeta was exposed to creative thinking and innovative ideas from her childhood. Which is why, she had no problems in deciding that her professional future lay in the designing field.

What did you study?

She pursued her dream and studied accessory design at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi. During the study course, she discovered that she was drawn to beautiful sculpture and precious metals, and it was only natural that she decided to opt for jewellery design.

What did you do after graduating from NIFT?

After graduating from NIFT in 1997, she built up her practical experience in the craft of designing couture jewellery. For a while she worked with a jewellery manufacturing firm in Delhi, but soon left the firm when she won a design competition entitling her for a full scholarship to study at the Creative Academy promoted by the Richemont group in Milan.

She spent a year at the academy, creating jewellery and accessories. She also did a stint with Van Cleef & Arpels, where she was involved in designing an elaborate necklace for the King of Morocco, who wanted to gift his wife a present on the birth of their first child. “The necklace used a lot of diamonds and coral. Van Cleef largely makes customised jewellery for clients who include the likes of the Duchess of Windsor and other royalty. It was a great learning experience for me.”

Back in India in 2004, Sangeeta wanted to impart knowledge to other young designers in the country. “It was payback time for me,” she notes. For over a year, she headed the design education department at the Jewellery and Design Technology Institute in Noida. “It was the most fulfilling period of my life as I taught my students jewellery designing with a global perspective, and about the utmost care and precision that goes into turning a piece of jewellery into a thing of beauty.”

How did Tanishq happen?

Later on however, she took up an offer from Tanishq. “It seemed interesting as it is the only brand with the a country-wide reach. I wanted to utilise my knowledge to influence both the industry and the tastes of consumers across different sections in the country.” Today, Sangeeta and her team create ethnic and regionally-relevant collections for rural markets, and upscale and ground-breaking jewellery for urban markets. “Some time back, we introduced ‘Blush’, a collection in plain gold with an extremely modern feel and finish — a line that can be easily identified with by the young, modern woman.”

Sangeeta has also conceived and designed along with her team all the collections for Zoya, Tanishq’s top end retail chain. The latest is the España collection, which draws inspiration from the exotic locales and culture of Spain. It is the first of the four-part series on ‘travel stories’ depicted in the Zoya jewellery.

What inspires you?

Sangeeta is the archetypal nature lover. “My work is most often inspired by nature. Nature is God’s creation, and it never fails to ignite ideas in me. For instance, one of my collections is based on the touch-me-not flower. I was intrigued by the way the flower reacts to touch, and I designed jewellery around that concept.”

Sometimes even commonplace things amaze her. “Once I saw a truck laden with cauliflower stacked in a lattice form, which I later incorporated into my designs,” she says. “For me the challenge lies in making jewellery that enhances the looks of the wearer. Jewellery must fulfil its function of adornment,” she emphasizes.