Chennai may be known as the land of temple and gold jewellery, but that’s not the road Ritika Ravi, who grew up there, decided to go down. Always passionate about jewellery, what appealed to the young designer was the idea of fresh, beautiful, and lightweight designs that were easy and wearable — a big step away from the traditional aesthetic ruling the local market.
As a result, two years ago the London College of Fashion graduate launched her brand IVAR, in which she has managed to create contemporary designs featuring traditional craftsmanship involving enamel, gold, polki, and sapphires. The bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings are millennial-forward, chic pieces, something the 26-year-old calls a sophisticated yet laid-back style.
“In India, jewellery is, very often, considered an investment. We buy these stunning pieces and keep them in a safe. So, I wanted to do something fresh. If it’s easy and attractive, it’s more wearable.” Possibly one of the reasons the designs are stocked at the flagship store at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort; at an ‘IVAR Corner’ at the North Island Resort in Seychelles; and at jewellery wholesaler Torroni in Geneva.
Currently, two collections old, Ivar’s new 10.18 collection is made largely of polki and sapphires set in gold. The first collection, Troubadour, featured enamel and gold. “I love playing around with various mediums. While the 10.18 collection is more classic, Troubadour is whimsical and playful,” says Ravi. Both lines, however, are inspired by the sand, sea, and organic shapes of the Maldives, one of her favourite holiday spots.
After launching her brand in 2018, Ravi’s come across a fair bit of success. “I was lucky to have a clear idea of what I wanted to do. It’s important to have an end goal. Once you have that, you can work backwards. That being said, every day I discover something new, and the whole process has been a big learning curve,” she says. This is especially significant in light of the fact that Ravi hails from a family of established real estate developers, better known as the Appaswamy group. “While my family is in the construction business, they’ve always been very supportive of me and my dreams,” says Ravi. “Through them, I have imbibed values like quality and sustainability.” IVAR is a palindrome of her father’s name Ravi.
Given the current pandemic, she agrees that now, more than ever, it’s important to stay relevant in India. “I’m a big supporter of #MakeInIndia. From the start, I chose India for manufacturing because it has so much to offer. My aesthetic and brand story taps into traditional techniques with a contemporary outlook.” Ravi believes in the handcrafted appeal of her jewellery, brought to life by craftsmen.
“They’ve learnt this craft from their families over generations, so each piece is as unique to them as it is to the wearer. I want to take this sense of heritage and open up a sort of gateway to modern luxury.” Ravi plans to launch a new collection soon and hopes to be able to travel again. She’s looking forward to hosting trunk shows and pop-ups in Europe and the Middle East.
All images: Courtesy brand