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“We subvert the idea of jewellery as ornamentation and use it as self expression. As a statement of belief, a defiance of the norm, an expression of our self-awareness and an assertion of our strength,” says Kolkata-based jewellery designer Eina Ahluwalia. Ahluwalia has kept these ideals close ever since she launched her jewellery label 16 years ago. Themes like spiritual strength, compassion, kindness, self-love, and women-centric issues like domestic violence have all found expression in her conceptual jewellery.

She has categories like “feminist” or “spiritual” on her online store, featuring wonderfully woke designs. You can shop the ‘Eyes Up Asshole’ necklace if you are looking for something particularly sassy, or the ‘Fearless’ bangle if you need a constant reminder to step out of your comfort zone. The “Sabr” and “Shukr” designs from her spiritual collection in Arabic cursive translate to patience and gratitude, that you can own as a pair of earnings or a bangle.  And her latest launch, the Life Keys necklace, follows a similar vein.

Whether or not you wear your heart on your sleeve, the Life Keys necklace allow you to wear your affirmations around your neck. Featuring customisable pendants in the shape of a key, you can engrave either the name of a loved one or a word you live by on these. A maximum of nine letters per key, you can choose up to five. “Our lives are hinged on some beliefs and a few people. These are the foundations of our existence, our source of joy and emotional strength and sustenance. They hold the keys to our lives. So this bunch of keys is meant to be a totem to hold close to our hearts.”

The idea of meaningful design is important to Eina Ahluwalia, and finds expression across her handcrafted sterling silver or gold or rose gold plated charm bracelets, baroque cuffs, and intricate filigreed danglers; these have found favour with A-listers like Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra amongst others. “In 2009, I started questioning the value of what I was doing. Was jewellery not just one more thing women wore because they didn’t feel beautiful enough? Wasn’t I just feeding into that whole mindset? This is when I discovered conceptual jewellery and since then the jewellery has been evolving as I do. The concepts must pass a lot of meaning tests. We ask ourselves: will it add value to people’s lives? Is the concept timeless? They must pass these tests before we turn them into physical pieces.”

The Life Keys concept passed all these parametres, and at its heart is an idea that allows you to create a piece of jewellery unique to you, symbolic of what you stand for or hold dear. Ahluwalia wanted to give her customers the opportunity to keep close to their hearts the names of the people that keep them rooted or the philosophies they live by. These keys are meant to represent core beliefs, a constant reminder to keep you feeling grounded and empowered.

The Life Keys necklaces range between Rs 2,650 – Rs 14,950, depending on how many keys you opt for. They can be ordered here.

All Images: Courtesy Brand

Diya Katyal

Diya Katyal is a full time procrastinator and a part time writer from Kolkata.