The Urban Meenakar – Sunita Shekhawat’s jewels abound in inspiration

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No longer is the conventional hand-craft of meenakari associated with old designs and heavy pieces that only go with traditional attires or are collected to keep in jewellery chests. The good news is that this jewellery craft is back in vogue. In fact, some designers from London have collaborated with craftsmen in Jaipur, and are offering a beautiful fusion of meenakari and western sensibilities across the globe. Even in India, some talented designers have given this craft a new lease of life.

After having mesmerised connoisseurs (royalty, celebrities from B-town and international buyers), the eponymous brand, Sunita Shekhawat—Jaipur decided to spread its wings to India’s capital city. A good business move indeed; Delhiites have rich tastes, big hearts and even bigger pockets. Plus, Delhi is frequented by visitors from all over the world. So we scoured and found five incredible reasons why this store stands out:

Museum of magnificence: The interior design of the store can be compared to that of an art gallery or museum. There are single glass cabinets that display some of the ‘masterpieces’.

Although there’s a subtle golden patina that engulfs the entire space, it is also interspersed with wine and brown accents, khareda stone, polished brass fixtures and sleek mirrors that bestow a tactful juxtaposition of colours and design elements. The piece-de-art though is the hand-engraved wall art installation, that replicates the skyline of the Amer fort of Jaipur.

While the store is a feast for the eyes; the bejewelled pieces are breath-taking.

A craft reinterpreted: Interestingly meenakari is a process of enamelling and ornamenting gold surfaces using minerals and gemstones. And thus these pieces are so colourful. Yet somehow, meenakari’s fame declined due to its traditional appeal. But Sunita Shekhawat has been an upholder of this craft for 25 years now. She is lauded for reinventing meenakari by amalgamating it with kundan work, and also for devising a unique process. There’s conceiving, then designing of the layout and making the framework, engraving, enamelling, polishing and finally gem-setting and stringing if required, making the pieces easily distinguishable from others.  

Giving it a different cut: It’s tough to sell old-fashioned jewellery, but when given an innovative twist, it becomes a trend. While kundan and meenakari are both very traditional, the collections at this store exude contemporary aesthetics. Along with animals, flowers and birds, one can find fresco motifs, architectural shapes and numerous hues that make for eclectic choices.

Like the Firoza collection is inspired by a real turquoise. Similarly, black and gold come alive in the Kalika collection. Along with large sets, there’s also everyday jewellery that can be teamed with western outfits as well.

Necklaces by Sunita Shekhawat

4: Lasting value: Substance, style and practicality are interwoven in the designs. So while the designs are urban, they are not funky that will go out of fashion. These accessories can be worn time and time again, year after year, across all age groups and can be passed on as modern-day heirlooms.

5: Customisation and price point. Jewellery buying boils down to these two factors. This Defence Colony store doubles up as a personal appointment space for customisation and a retail store for instant buying. Yet, the pricing is affordable starting from one lakh onwards.

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