Kolkata-based brand Niiaashi might be the new kid on the block, but the duo behind it has been creating some of the finest jewelry in the industry. The pieces are sophisticated, often cast in gold-plated brass, but have strong shapes and a primitive feel. They find a middle ground between masculine and feminine qualities, and work best for those who prefer the refined with a touch of the tribal.
We spoke to the founders, Ashveen Kaur and Nikita Puri about their work, trends in jewelry and design, and much more.
How did you get into designing jewelry?
Ashveen: Being an architect, I have a formal education in design. I always wanted to relate architecture to jewelry and hence my inspiration for the designs always comes from elements and architectural forms that are appealing to me.
Nikita: I am a lawyer by profession. I have always loved wearing any form of jewelry. Whenever I bought jewelry I always liked customizing it. I design jewelry based on current trends and comfort.
How did you become partners? Did you stumble into it by a happy accident, or was it a thought-out decision?
Ashveen: We’ve known each other for a very long time. There was always a common interest for doing something together. We'd call it a happy accident which was followed by a thought-out process.
Was it a risk to develop such an unusual style?
Ashveen: Yes, it was. We weren't sure how the audience would react to minimal contemporary jewelry. But we've been lucky with our journey.
What is your process when designing?
Nikita: Every piece of jewelry should be special and have a meaning, and so we create each piece based on inspirations and abstractions from a particular subject.
What is the production process and what are the challenges?
Ashveen: The production process is quite tedious. Our craftsmen hand make each piece with an obsessive attention to detailing. We have to be very careful throughout the process, as each step equally adds on to the final product.
How does your jewelry fit into the ethos of Indian craftsmanship?
Ashveen: We believe in encouraging and supporting local craftsmen and have kept the ages old tradition of hand making jewelry alive within the brand.
What type of woman do you have in mind when designing your jewelry?
Nikita: We want our jewelry to be versatile. We want to cater to women who are smart, stylish and bold regardless of the age.
What is a personal accessory that each of you treasure, is there a memory attached?
Nikita: My most favorite piece is the ' Five Elements Earrings'. This was a part of our first collection - the Nepalese Confluence. This piece reflects our core belief of minimal and simple jewelry.
Ashveen: My favorite piece would be the 'Connecting Spine Ear Cuff'. This was my first attempt on designing a piece for the ear other than an earring. This is one piece I could pair with anything I wear.
Who do you rely on for feedback, whose opinion do you trust?
Ashveen: We blindly rely on our customers for feedback as it is them for who we create.
Images by Niiaashi.