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Friday, October 17, 2014

‘Designing jewelry has been a passion of mine,’ Cocktails with JNN: Mayuri Vara of Vara of London

Smoky quartz is the main stone for the Fleur de Chine ring with black diamond pave center mounted on 925 sterling silver and lucky Chinese coin gallery on the back.

Every year that I go to Hong Kong to attend the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair I discover something new. Last year, I attended a press conference at the Portuguese Heritage Club in the city’s Central district hosted by Qeelin, a luxury jewelry brand purchased by French luxury holding company, Kering. Afterward, I interviewed Dennis Chan, the creative director and co-founder of the brand. 

Taylor and Fleur de Chine Cuff uses gold plated textured 925 sterling with amethyst and pink tourmaline.

This year I found myself at the Gray Café Deluxe, on the 49th floor of the Upper House hotel, one of the city’s finest, with a spectacular view of the Kowloon skyline as it turned from day to night. This is where I met with Mayuri Vara, the founder of the new jewelry brand Vara of London, where she showed me her first jewelry collections over well-made martinis.

Bamboo Leaves ring uses chrome diopside for the leaves and 925 sterling silver.

Articulate and soft-spoken, the self-taught jewelry designer explains that the collections reflect her diverse heritage, experiences and personal influences. She is of Indian descent, raised in London and was on course to follow her father and brother’s footsteps in the medical profession before she veered off into more creative ambitions.

The upper part of the Diva drop earrings extend up the earlobe set with amethyst with with pink tourmaline. Lower hoop set with diamonds and amethyst center drop stone.

“I have always been fascinated by art and design, and designing jewelry has been a passion of mine,” she says, “having always made handmade jewelry as far back as I can remember.”

She has lived in Hong Kong for the past five years with her husband who is a lawyer. Her outside influences are equally diverse and include Elizabeth Taylor, Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star and a fashion icon, and Maharani Gayatri Devi, the last queen of Jaipur.

925 sterling silver is used for the Serpentine open bangle with smoky quartz and black diamond surround.

“I draw inspiration from the Chinese culture, artworks and architecture,” she adds. 

For someone with such a diverse background her first offerings are focused and for the most part classic and elegant. It’s a well thought out mix of products where individual pieces match but in a variety of ways so it doesn’t look like a formal suite. Most of the pieces are large and bold enough so they can be worn alone. They also are designed to be worn daily. 

The left side of Le Boteh open ring is set with smoky quartz with a black diamond centre; and the right side set with amethyst and pink tourmaline.

Nearly all of the pieces are made of 925 sterling silver plated with either gold, black rhodium, or white rhodium. She says her next line will be in 18k gold. She is particularly proud that the quality of craftsmanship, done in China, can be seen on both sides of the pieces. “I’m fortunate to find the right people who understand my flow,” she says.

The Cleopatra Noir ring features smoky quartz surrounded by two snakes and black diamond pave on head and tail with red garnet eyes. Black spinel surrounds body of the ring.

The black rhodium finishes add an edge to the classic styles. She also provides contrasts by using classic Lotus flower and paisley shapes with pieces that feature serpents. She is fond of colored gems, with smoky quartz, amethyst, citrine, peridot and tourmaline among her favorites. A few pieces have a sprinkling of diamonds.

The collections were launched in June during the Jewellery & Watch event at London’s Saatchi Gallery and are also available at the Quintessentially Gifts in London. 

Noor drop earrings uses 925 sterling silver set with Rose de France amethyst stones. The upper part is set with white topaz surrounding a single amethyst stone.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

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