New York City. Aug. 20, 2020. Shana Gulati of the eponymous jewelry design firm puts a modern twist on traditional Indian jewelry-making. Gulati sets upcycled diamond slices—tiny “residue” diamonds from Polki (flat-cut diamonds) designs—into sterling silver and 18k gold jewels in mosaic patterns held together by a proprietary resin-like substance.
“I found beauty in garbage,” she jokes about her signature look, one she spied in her home country of India and expanded on. Gulati unveiled her collection in 2012 after abandoning a career in law. After earning her JD and a master’s in international law, she struggled to find work despite her advanced degrees. Was she now overqualified for most positions? “I felt like the universe might be trying to tell me something,” she recollects.
In a moment of frustration and while venting to a friend, the pal urged her to take a more serious look at a gift that Gulati had dismissed as superfluous—her ability to turn something ugly into a something beautiful and coveted. “She told me, ‘You always put things together in the most beautiful ways,’” says Gulati.
Reluctant but intrigued, Gulati sat down with a sketch pad, inspired by a love of jewelry fostered by her own culture. “Polki means not the perfect cut,” she notes. “Polki diamonds are cut in uneven ways and thick slices, but my slices are much lighter and are byproducts of other cut diamonds. No two jewels can ever be same.”
With her family’s support, she started turning out pieces named after loved ones like her grandmother Veera and personal connections, including street names in Paris and New York City, where she resides part time. Everything, including packaging, is made in India, where Gulati shares her design ideas with jewelry artists who bring her pieces to life. Most of her jewelry is cast.
The bulk of her uncut stones, meanwhile, come from India from a manufacturer she’s worked with for eight years. Others are sourced from Australia and Canada. Diamonds take center stage in most designs, though the occasional pink sapphire or aquamarine has been known to appear. “Design has more to do with color scheme and aesthetic than anything else,” she says.
Retail prices start under $100. Find Gulati’s work in stores worldwide and in her own e-shop.
Jewelry designer Shana Gulati
Julia studs in 18k gold vermeil with uncut diamonds, aquamarine, and silver resin, $188; available online at Shana Gulati
Arsha ring OS in oxidized sterling silver with uncut diamonds, champagne diamonds, and black resin, $298; available online at Shana Gulati
Halki necklace in 18k gold vermeil with uncut diamonds, aquamarine, and silver resin, $548; available online at Shana Gulati
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