Imagine being surrounded with precious stones like rubies, emeralds and metals like silver while growing up, well that is what sums up the childhood of Tarang Arora, CEO & Creative Director of Amrapali, Jaipur. From studying gemology to designing exquisite pieces of jewellery for contemporary patrons, he understands the market and is a favourite for all who love traditional Indian jewellery. The brand itself has stories, from red carpet sightings, think Halle Berry, Sofia Vergara and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja to special promotions at Selfridges, London, they are well known players ready to take on tradition to the next level. In an exclusive interaction with L’officiel, Tarang talks about how gemstones add life and colours to each piece of jewellery, his more talked about collaborations, and how an ideal Amrapali muse would be unconventional yet elegant. Edited excerpts...
A family led journey that today stands at the peak of modern and heritage jewellery. Tell us about how it all began?
Well, it began in 1978, when my father and uncle set out without any plan in mind to unravel the unexpected, which today has led us to create Amrapali. The concept of constantly learning and understanding different perspectives from our heritage, travel and our clientele have taught us well. With an in depth understanding of local craftsmanship and gemology we set about to curate one of kind jewellery pieces for the modern public. Back in the day when they first set out into this realm, they began with silver jewellery which had a tribal prejudice over it, but we crafted it for the new age consumers and that is what sums up our ethos.
Your brand has also been actively involved in reviving traditional tribal jewellery while working with artisans for the same. Do you feel that traditional aesthetics and artisans have been getting their due from the industry at large?
For us, it has always been about reviving traditional tribal jewellery while working with these artisans. We have artisan families working with us since 30 to 35 years from remote parts of the country, including Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
They have become a part of our Amprali family, they are the true artists behind every piece of jewellery. And designing things the old school way, gives their craft more value. My priority has always been to garner their talent by profusing my design capabilities with their craftsmanship.
Each piece of your collection is a concoction of royal finesse and delicate charm. What is the ideation which goes behind their making?
For us, it is all about the wearability, usability and workability. Jewellery narrates a story and the ideation behind its design provides us with a canvas to begin with. We consistently think about the design, and how can it be crafted in different ways and if it can be an iconic piece that can be passed on for generations. A necklace or an earring for that matter can be so versatile that it can be adorned by a mother and later by her daughter. The idea behind making it extremely delicate and still enduring it finesse is what we perceive to achieve.
The jewellery industry has witnessed a major leap from heavily embellished to sophisticated and minimal. How has your brand evolved though this journey?
I think we have been true to what Amrapali is known for. We are known for Indian ethnic jewellery. We are known for pieces which emote Indian craftsmanship. Now making those pieces big and bold, which Amrapali always does to making them more simpler and sophisticated, while keeping them minimal, but having that touch and feel in every piece is the most important part of our brand. So yes, we have evolved through times and with the changing client requirements of today. But we have always made sure that we display Indian craftsmanship in our pieces at their best. Maybe it’s even enameling, maybe it’s a hand setting. Maybe it’s a jarai, maybe it’s the stringing, there is always something or the other which may strike a traditional chord.
Menswear jewellery is still not very prevalent in India. How is your label making a difference in the industry?
If you take note from history, then you may notice that it was the Maharaja’s who first adorned jewellery. Rather if we visit villages today, there are men wearing anklets and earring studs. But it is the modern part of our country which shies away from wearing jewellery. I myself wear 10 bracelets wherever I go, be it to meetings, social gatherings or even posing images on the social plateform, sometimes they are more than what my wife would wear. But that is the beauty of it. At Amrapali, we today design menswear jewellery ranging from bracelets, buttons, sherwani buttons, rings, and a lot more, only to encourage our culture further.
Your designs immediately transports one into a romantic storytelling act. What has been the driving force behind the Amrapali Museum?
My family has always been an aesthete of jewellery design and valued the traditions of our nation, and through the Amrapali museum this is what we try to achieve. Intially when my father and uncle lay the foundation of the brand, they fell in love with a lot of pieces and being patrons of art and craft they always wanted to start a museum. For us, it is a space of inspiration for young designers, and a story guide for international travellers when they visit India. It is a one stop destination for all things India and more specifically a tribute to exotic Indian silver jewellery.