Breaking free from conventional images of royal jewellery

Namrata Singh’s versatile jewellery is created with her innate and inherited sense of design and seeks to show
that the definition of ‘royal’ jewellery is not set in stone.

“The noble and royal families of India, especially the Rajputs, very consciously adapted to European jewellery settings, to the famed Victorian styles of blending silver with gold and making stones, precious and rare, or just bright and beautiful, as the central theme of their creations.” 

Namrata Singh, born in the sleepy but beautiful town of Kishangarh, brought up in Jaipur, designs jewellery that is not just a piece of adornment, but also reflects the beauty of her inner imprints, memories and past recollections. 

“It is actually me recapturing my various trips to distant lands in the form of jewellery, besides the inborn sense of design that most of us Rajput women are born with,” she says.

Working with silver and gold, Namrata creates what she calls, everyday bells and baubles, “perfect when worn with a floral chiffon sari or even a sharp, dark business suit.” 

She works her designs as a sketch first, inspired by a shape, a form, a lyrical fable from the past. Each piece is then crafted, after selecting the stone, with the shape and form emerging from a strong underlying theme that guides the collection.

Namrata has, in the past, worked on a variety of themes, including the tribal imprints of the Masai Mara tribes, the lyrical poise of the geisha, the pyramid-like form of the pagodas and the poetic beauty of the Hawa Mahal, which is an icon of her city, Jaipur. 

Related to the Jaipur royal family, and inspired by Princess Diya’s work with craft, Namrata informs, “Diya Baisa is such an inspiration. She and Rajmata Saab have inculcated in every Rajput woman of Jaipur a drive to not just create something but also the commitment to keep our culture alive.”Namrata’s jewellery tells stories of brilliance through rare, precious and semi precious stones like quartz, crystal, lapis lazuli, malachite, onyx, cat’s eye, and moon stones. 

“Though I also work with very precious diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and rubies, I prefer not to get restricted to these classic colour palettes,” she says. Her jewellery is unique and stunning, besides being a reflection of the strong influence which European Ateliers had on royal India during the Raj. 

There is many a story of the nobility taking sacks full of jewels to Tiffany, Van Cleef, Cartier and others to get them to set in very ceremonial designs. Yet all that you see in the name of royal design are very rich polkis and kundans. As she says, “It’s sad that most people are not aware that Rajput women wear jewels that spell simplicity and elegance. 

It is very irritating to see images of a bride clad in 10 kg of kundan jewellery with the tagline ‘royal’.” This is an imprint that Namrata, in her subtle ways, is trying to break free from.

Published on November 27, 2020 ByAnshu Khanna as at The Daily Guardian