The new canvas for jewellery is not held back by traditions. Gold, diamonds, and emeralds might personify precious jewellery trends in India but there are a handful of designers who are challenging conventions by using wood, glass, biodegradable waste, and concrete in their designs. We’ve listed 6 Indian designers who are creating alternative material jewellery pieces.

En Inde
En Inde pieces are a mix of metal and fabric
En Inde pieces are a mix of metal and fabric

Influenced by their global travels, Anupama Sukh Lalvani and Sonal Sood launched their jewellery label En Inde in 2004. The need to do something different and ensure that their point of view stood out in a market filled with traditional jewellery design led them to seek inspiration from tribal techniques; they have experimented with Patwa, an ancient Rajasthani technique of winding thread to create tribal-inspired jewellery. In ‘Nauru’, one of their collections inspired by African rainforests, they have also experimented with coloured jute. Their collection ‘Orissa’ is about layering beads, leather, and thread together with pieces of steel.

Deepa Gurnani
Deepa Gurnani's tasseled earrings
Deepa Gurnani’s tasselled earrings

Think of alternative material jewellery and the label Deepa Gurnani comes to mind. Launched in 2005 by New York-based designer couple Deepa Gurnani and Jay Lakhani, the luxury jewellery label boasts exquisitely crafted colourful tasselled earrings, beaded and crystal neckpieces, and cuffs made in plastic and rhinestones, all of which sum up Gurnani’s eclectic body of work. For the duo, handmade is luxury and through their unique pieces that showcase Indian techniques, they have also ensured local artisans a livelihood.

Riddhika Jesrani
A neckpiece by Riddhika Jesrani
Neckpiece by Riddhika Jesrani

If you are looking to take a detour from everything metal, then Jesrani’s pieces will intrigue you. From using biodegradable materials and glass beads to different kinds of fabrics, this Parsons graduate has taken the cause of sustainable jewellery forward. Not only does she create pieces in semi-precious stones, wood, shell pearls, synthetic agate, threads, and acrylics, but she has also crafted India’s first 3D printed sustainable jewellery. Another standout feature is the striking colour scheme.

Olivia Dar
Earrings by Olivia Dar
Earrings by Olivia Dar

One look at Dar’s jewellery pieces and it’s evident that an India-inspired colour palette is at its heart. Add to that a variety of materials and what you have are whimsical designs that seek inspiration from nature. Think parakeets, ox-eye daisies, and fruits. Her neckpieces, earrings (featuring the wide-eyed motif), chunky cuffs, and bangles are made using beadwork, traditional Indian embroideries with coloured threads and different types of plastic.

Razia Kunj
Artsy pieces by Razia Kunj
Artsy pieces by Razia Kunj

One might not consider wood to be a material worthy of being transformed into exquisite jewellery but Mumbai-based Razia Kunj proves otherwise. Her hand-painted pieces stand at the intersection of art and design and find inspiration in Indian folklore and tribal art. From different types of wood to rudraksha beads to cotton cords, she creates a wide variety of pieces ranging from wooden earrings to wooden bangles.

Greytone Jewellery by Aditi Sharma
Concrete pendants by Greytone
Concrete pendants by Greytone

Interior designer-turned-jeweller Aditi Sharma has found a new way of indulging with architecture, design, and concrete. From New York’s Chrysler Building to the Parliament of Dhaka, her label Greytone is all about pieces inspired by different architectural wonders of the world, crafted in concrete, grass, and steel. The 33-year-old retails out of reputed stores such as Ogaan and Good Earth.

Anupam Dabral
Sr. Associate Editor
It was while studying fashion journalism at London College of Fashion that Anupam developed a keen interest in the anthropological aspect of the discipline; for him, fashion only makes sense when seen in the context of its environment. He is always on the hunt for great stories, and in his spare time binge-watches films/shows starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.