Curiosity, Destruction, Creation

As a child, one dismantles toys as much as one plays with them. Here was a stone chips necklace that I decided to break for no reason and kept it in a box of random such trinkets. It was a copper fuse wire that I found stuffed in an old drawer that I decided to string these stone chips onto and make tiny earrings and wear them myself. That I got an immediate allergy from the fuse wire coating is another story, but that’s my earliest memory of creating something of an accessory.

While the earlier story is of recreation via destruction, I eventually loved creating after receiving my first Legos from my uncle who had flown down for a visit from the US along with a Barbie. The Barbie’s hair was shred again by me, however the Legos created houses, townships, cars and what not. 

I got to know of the term Architect is used for people who build houses (design was not in the common vocabulary or conscience then). But I saw a blueprint for the first time, while we had a home renovation on and was fascinated by it right away. Well, I was in Mumbai and what better than JJ School of Art to study Architecture. So it was pretty set in my mind and announced from mostly age 8 or 10 that, that is where I would end up.

And so I actually did, unwavered. While the true meaning of Architecture unfolded in front of me rather slowly along those five years of graduation, I visited Mumbai’s it store called OMO in Bandra and was intrigued by the array of handmade jewellery. I was inspired enough after this visit to head straight to my local crafts’ supply shop and buy beads and sequins that I could fashion some earrings from. And then made some and decided to show them to OMO, who very generously agreed to keep them at their store and that was it, in 2004, the brand Maithili Kabre was born.

Flowering, Flourishing and Forward

This was my 4th year in Architecture and was looking at options for my Masters. With this new side interest, I was wondering if I could actually be on the path that could utilize my foundation in Architecture and build on it in some unusual direction. I heard of NID Ahmedabad, India’s most prestigious design institute through a friend and read about the Lifestyle Accessories Course there. In the break before my final year in Architecture I visited National Institute of Design, Paldi, Ahmedabad and was besotted.

Anyone who has visited NID Ahmedabad cannot help but just fall in love with this warm, intimate universe of its own. As much as I loved my final thesis in Architecture that was a Design of a Museum for the city of Mumbai, I was sure of pursuing Accessory design as the next step.

If today at age 40, someone asks which period of my life I would love to relive, it has to be my years at NID without a doubt. It was everything I thought and more. I learnt and mostly unlearned as much with my cherished teacher-mentor Shimul Mehta Vyas, who was the head of the Lifestyle Accessory Design Department and so many others. A great design education is of course about the process which was such a valuable addition to my mental knowledge bank, but just by exposure to so many other fields of design and the painstaking work that goes behind them, my senses and mind opened up!

My Calling

All through my NID journey, I always assumed that a career in Space and Interior Accessories would be a more befitting culmination to my academic journey. But Jewellery had other plans. Soon after my Masters I decided to launch a label of fashion jewellery ‘Swa’ in 2009, which would be a refined step-up reflecting a new process and sensibility. I was working with beads, acrylic, chains , anything that could be worked with my own hands and tools.

But reflecting back now, I realize that I am also a restless person, apart from being quite stubborn. I wanted to expand my scope of jewellery and go beyond using and fashioning ready materials. I equipped myself with a course in Silver smithing and making at IGIGI Mumbai and that further opened ideas for refined, more luxurious jewellery.

In 2013, I launched ‘Maithili Kabre’ an eponymous label of luxury fashion jewellery with dazzling Swarovski crystals set in gold-plated brass.

The Next Chapter

I am always trying to think of what more would I love to do as a designer and dive deeper into the world of jewellery. Being from a non-jewellery background per se, I decided to equip myself with more knowledge about fine jewellery - an area I had quite consciously stayed away from, partly due to reluctance and sometimes due to the fear of the deep dive.

However I decided to take that leap in 2022 and now I am a Gemologist after a fascinating course at IGI Dubai. It took me through a journey of the earth’s treasures built over thousands of years in the forms of precious and semi-precious stones. And now I am smitten anew!

The Brand 

Maithili Kabre, launched in 2004, is an eponymous label of Silver and fashion jewellery . The jewellery is embellished with exquisite gemstones and crystals, and finished to the highest degree of perfection. The statement making jewellery has an elegant, feminine sensibility that is designed keeping in mind the wearer- the woman, who feels great immediately once she wears my piece.

Uncompromising quality, small batch production, harnessing the best of Indian skill and craftsmanship and superior finish are the signature quality of a Maithili kabre piece. 

Since its launch, the label has found immediate love and retails at stores India-wide and has been featured in   magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitain, Marie Claire, to name a few. The jewellery has been  worn by celebrities such as Aishwarya rai, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt, Kriti Sanon, Janhvi kapoor and many more.