By Meher Castelino
When Eina Ahluwalia creates a jewellery collection, there is nothing mundane about it. Don’t expect the traditional paisleys or jhumkas or chandeliers, because Eina is conceptual in her designs and her inspirations go beyond the metal and craft and more into a deeper zone of spirituality, causes and themes that are far from the tried and tested beaten paths.
Eina’s journey into the wonderland of jewellery started in 1999 when she completed her MBA in marketing from the Janki Devi Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. Her work experience during the following two years was more corporate with companies like Exide Industries and Encipher Technologies.
It was in 2003 that Eina came into her own with her label “Breathing Space” which was the first designer driven semi-precious branded jewellery in the country.
From then it was no looking back, as Eina’s creativity went into top gear with her label retailing in 14 countries and various exhibitions were held in India. Her 2006 Byzantine collection was a hit and soon this Kolkata based designer was the talk of the jewellery world.
“For me my jewellery is my way of communicating with the world,” she states. Trained under pioneer conceptual jeweller, Ruudt Peters in Holland and an alumnus of AlChimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence where she is an advisor now; Eina’s jewellery has turned into statement pieces.
Eina’s jewellery is not for the shy and meek because she believes in making bold daring collections. Her jewellery for unconventional fashion designer and fellow Kolkatan, Kallol Datta has been such quirky pieces like the Dressform pendants in 2008, the Amputee pendants in 2009 and the Pacifier Pendants in 2010. ‘Verve’ magazine commissioned Eina to create the 7 Chakras collection in 2011 and the Death of Terrorism range in 2008. Each jewellery piece by Eina is an “in your face” item which is an endless conversation stimulator.
“Life inspires me, because of the unending possibilities it offers and the experiences, learning’s, excitement and challenges it brings at every turn. Travel inspires me, and I truly believe that the further you travel the more you meet yourself. Books, music, art and architecture inspire me; it’s magical how looking at a sculpture can make you feel things without it saying a word. Ordinary people who show extraordinary empathy, kindness, strength and courage inspire me. So my inspiration comes from living life and synthesising experiences. The concept comes from a place deep within, sometimes as a sharing of realisations, or a strong conviction, and at other times as a cathartic experience for me.”
Eina’s jewellery has been striking pieces not only for the wearer but also the viewer. Her creativity makes, both think on how the designer managed to produce an accessory so unconventional and yet presented a message that moves beyond ornamentation.
Giant jewelled eggs, eyes monocles boxes, human hear, massive chunks of coral were some of the pieces in her Forgotten Jewels collection. “My jewellery is pure personal expression… the more I grow as a person, the more I have to share through my jewellery. On the other hand, I have experienced that the more you grow as a person, the less you need to say. So my jewellery continues to evolve at this intersection of art, thought and self-expression.”
Eina attempts to send out strong messages with her jewellery which appeals to a woman who has the daring attributes of carrying it off with aplomb. Pendants shaped like daggers, knives, Trishuls, bows and arrows, sickles and even a very grim skull teamed with semi-precious stones are turned into long necklaces. She even uses words like “love respect protect” or square and round placards embossed with more messages to get the theme across forcefully.
“For the “Truth” collection I used the most exquisite agate and fretwork in silver combined with semi-precious stones, adding on corals, jaspers, citrene, amethyst and calcite, the necklaces with rings, cuffs and bracelets. I have also created a line which was a mix of scarves with silver bringing together fabric with metal, to give a new perspective to necklaces. Semi-precious stones, shells and silver ended with a frothy orange organza and silver neckpiece can be quite contemporary,” she states.
“The tiny miniature jars, vases, bottles and pots attached to luxurious chains to create neck pieces that were quite unconventional, were created by glass artist Serial Mukherjee with whom I teamed up for a collection. I have also worked with felt along with fur and swirls of yarn for a necklace centre, gave a new dimension to ornament designing. There is always a deep spiritual feel about my work which I try to get across to the buyer.”
Exhibitions around the world and regular fashion week appearances have made Eina a household name. Her brand “Breathing Space” is the perfect name for this conceptual jewellery artist. Holding several workshops all over the country, Eina retails in 14 countries with her creations being featured in several movies and TV shows. Considered the pioneer in designer driven semi-precious jewellery in India, Eina was the first to create jewellery in horn and silver.
An ardent photographer who is armed with her favourite Nikon D90 whenever she travels, Eina’s hobbies are reading and creating unconventional jewellery. Picked as one of the hottest talents to watch out for by David Lamb MD Jewellery the World Gold Council, Eina has also helped master craftsmen to earn a livelihood as they handcraft her jewellery.
Each piece by Eina has meaning and deep thought but at the same time is rooted in tradition as she communicates with the world through her creations. Eina Ahluwalia creates jewellery with social and spiritual messages which add value to her creativity and leaves a lasting impression.