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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reena Ahluwalia Designs Historic Indian Diamond Jewelry Collection

Courageous Spirit necklace

A friend of Jewelry News Network, Toronto-based jewelry designer Reena Ahluwalia, has created a jewelry collection that uses diamonds mined and manufactured in India. The first time in more than a century this has happened.

The diamonds came from Rio Tinto’s Bunder Project in Madhya Pradesh province, in the center of the country. Ahluwalia was born in Madhya Pradesh.

“What an amazing honor to give back to my province and country of birth,” Ahluwalia said.

Courageous Spirit earrings

Titled Courageous Spirit, the jewelry features a statement necklace and a set of complementary earrings. The collection incorporates a total of 25.34 carats of polished Bunder diamonds and 2.8 carats of rough Bunder diamonds, including a 5.04 carat round brilliant cut white diamond and a 5.02 carat round brilliant cut cognac diamond.

The diamond-encrusted disc symbolizes the natural abundance of the Bunder diamond deposit.

“Inspired by a compass, the disc rotates on a central axis, while a marker points to the true center of the Bunder story—the earthly origins of the diamonds and the pioneering spirit of the people who are so integral to Bunder's development,” Rio Tinto said in a statement. “The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Bunder diamond deposit are inscribed on the back of the disc.”

The rough diamonds were cut and polished by master craftsmen in Indian cutting and polishing factories, while the design was brought to life by Indian jewelry manufacturer Uni-Design Jewellery Private Ltd. of Mumbai.

The jewelry was unveiled Friday at an event in the province with Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in attendance.

“The Government of Madhya Pradesh has supported us from the very beginning in our quest to develop a new benchmark for mine development in India,” said Nik Senapati, managing director of Rio Tinto India. “I am delighted that seven years after our initial discovery, we can showcase these exquisite pieces of jewelry that provide a window into the enormous potential of the gems contained in the Bunder deposit.”

He added, “The Courageous Spirit jewelry collection holds a very special place in Indian diamond history as it has been at least a century since India has mined, designed and manufactured its own diamond jewelry.”

The Courageous Spirit collection is not available for sale, but will be showcased at a number of events throughout the second half of 2012.

The Bunder project was discovered in 2004 by Rio Tinto who entered into a “State Support Agreement” with Madhya Pradesh in 2010 to develop the project. Diamonds from the mine likely to come into commercial production in 2016, Rio Tinto said.

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