Inspiration often traverses borders and continents—a classic case in point is Van Gelder Indian Jewellery, a fine jewellery label born in the Southern Netherlands but with an Indian heart. The label traces its origin back to 1980, when Bernadette van Gelder–van der Ven started travelling to India with her husband who was in the textile production business. A thorough aesthete, she quickly became fascinated by the country’s culture and started collecting Indian jewellery, while also studying and researching every piece. This set the foundation for her eponymous label which was steeped in the history and decorative arts of India, using homegrown materials and techniques.
Today, the company is helmed by her daughters Fleur Damman-van Gelder and Noëlle Viguurs-van Gelder—second-generation jewellers who combine their multi-faceted education with a strong foundation in traditional Indian jewellery, thus adding a fresh perspective to their work. They have given the label a millennial makeover with Van Gelder Indian Jewellery Contemporary Collections, which launches this Fall with three collections— Jali, Jodha Bai and Colors—through an exclusive event at Mortons Private Club in London.
We speak to the duo about their inspirations, sensibility and a whole lot more. Excerpts from the interview below.
On the brand’s sensibility
“Our knowledge of Indian jewellery in its full context, and our focus is on quality, creativity and personalised service. For almost 40 years, we have been on a quest to understand and collect the most extraordinary traditional jewellery from India. Frequent and extensive travels to India, as well as ongoing research allows us to add new highlights to our Heritage collection. Growing this historical collection is our life’s work and a continuous process. Every object is extensively researched for art and cultural historical reference. In addition, every piece of our Heritage Collection comes with an independent scientific metal and gemmological research report, for which we have partnered with The Dutch Gemmological Laboratory in Leiden, an international authority in its field. Our collections and styling effortlessly connect eastern and western sensibilities, thus appealing to women of taste across the globe.”
On marrying Indian craftsmanship with an international approach
“We are passionate about the unique way in which Indian jewellery marries beauty, craftmanship and wearability. This is how we approach our contemporary collections too: designing unique pieces that marry the original meaning of the source with contemporary touches. Each piece is worked into wearable art using the highest quality, sustainably sourced precious and semi-precious gemstones, 18K gold and sterling silver by our experienced goldsmiths and artisans in Jaipur.
Our inspiration for comes from Indian culture, history, nature, architectural elements or everyday life. It is about having a curious perspective on the past and present. We are also mindful that the designs are respectfully and responsibly inspired— appropriation for the sake of fashion is out of the question. For example, the Jali collection takes its cues from typical Indian jali screens. Jodha Bai, on the other hand, is deeply inspired by weaponry specifically designed for Rajput princesses. It closely interlinks with our fascination for the drive, creative power and accomplishments of strong women across the world.”
On their quintessential muse
“We are our own muses. The originality of Indian jewellery is characterised by the crossing of boundaries and blending of styles, techniques, and materials. We embrace this spirit of breaking of conventions in our approach too. Our designs pay tribute to the strong, independent women of this day. Women who freely embrace their own unique beauty, who understand the value of expression, and who create their own legacies.”
On jewellery shopping advice
“Women should make individual statements through their jewellery that reflect their personality and originality. Jewellery should always make you feel good. Choose quality over quantity. Invest in a timeless pieces that are wearable and easy to pass down. Build a legacy with your jewels, don’t be swayed by trends.”