If you’re looking for beautifully crafted, intelligently designed, artistically brilliant jewels, you’ll find them at Pallavi Foley. Pallavi Foley is one of India’s leading jewellery designers and one of the few with International acclaim. With many awards, both national and international under her belt, she is one of the youngest in India to have achieved such fame. Rio Tinto had called her India’s “hottest young talent”, and the World Gold Council had titled her “the Elsa Peretti of India”.
She has been on the cover of India Today where they called her a game changer and she was featured amongst 35 young achievers in India who “make a difference”. She secured second place at the International Saul Bell Award Competition in 2010 for her piece 3-space. In her decade long design-association with Tanishq, she was one was their leading designers, with many innovative and successful collections to her credit. She also designed the Femina Miss India Universe Crowns and Tiaras in the year 2006 and 2007 while she was at associated with them.
What enables Pallavi to create masterpieces every time is that, when it comes to design, she is fearless! She understands the limitations of the manufacturing process but that she is not encumbered by tradition, or the accepted way of doing something. So, under her watch, gold and precious stone are pushed to their limit – the end result being jewellery that is an avant-garde piece with a timeless classic appeal.
Her remarkable ability to think out of the box has created many a masterpiece for she believes her work to be more than art. According to Pallavi, “after conceptualising a design idea, it’s all about design detailing; there is as much science in a piece of jewellery as there is art”. This ability has also encouraged traditional craftsmen to enhance and explore their skills with her design sensibilities.
She was recently featured in a Coffee Table book called the ‘Trailblazers of Bengaluru’ which featured 28 entrepreneurs from Bangalore who stood out in their respective arena. She has also been awarded “The Best Designer”, instituted by the South India Jewellery Show (SIJS-South India jewellery show). To add to her kitty of great achievements, she won the NID business world design award for designing a hugely successful, contemporary jewellery collection, designed using traditional Indian motifs.
Some of the most well-known names in Bollywood have worn her jewels and sashayed the ramp in her jewellery, making way for new trends. She showcases her collections at the Lakme Fashion weeks and IIJW shows, which are looked forward by everyone, for clutter breaking designs, rendering her a trail blazer in the truest sense of the term!
Her recent collection, ‘wear your prayer’ has made wearing prayers cool. Not only does she retail this collection through her stores and online, but she also has a version of it, which sells through a collaborated with Tanishq. This collection has become a rage in the country with thousands of pieces being bought as we write this. Not only in India, this collection has admirers and buyers from across the globe.
Pallavi’s foray into jewellery design is much like an artist’s journey, making ‘creative visionary’ a word synonymous with her. Her designs are captivating; with significance behind each piece she creates. The designs are known to be enriching, enchanting and rejuvenating.
Here’s what Pallavi has to say about her collection and about the current state of affairs.
I was always fascinated by art and how it could transform anything. This was my primary motivation to study design. Most of my life, I have spent sketching, studying-art, jewellery-design and gemmology in different design schools across the world. I have believed that inspiration comes from travelling and meeting people from different cultures. It helps us establish a holistic perspective about our prior beliefs and is a big source of personal evolution. During my travels, I have looked at fashion brands across the world and have always been of the opinion that true luxury is not a big logo of a brand showing up everywhere in your outfit. True luxury is hand crafted pieces that showcase the best of our craft and art, through intelligent and sustainable design. Covid19 pandemic which is a current challenge that every community co-inhabiting our planet is facing is changing us in a radical way. There is uncertainty at all levels and we are all staying home to save ourselves and each other. This time alone or with our family has forced us all to evaluate our lives more deeply. Yesterday, as I went to buy groceries at the half-empty-supermarket with my mask-on and being careful that was I buying what-is-needed, and being aware of what I was touching, I suddenly found myself, mindful. The empty shelves made me see everything that was there a lot more clearly. I noticed that there was a section that they had only for a variety of special kinds of fish, which I had never noticed before. Though, I am a vegetarian, and under usual circumstances I would never have noticed it, in this time of uncertainty, I realized that my senses were heightened and my awareness levels were at an all-time high alert. I was tuning into the present and the essentials were becoming the luxury, which is the actual truth.
From the past few years, I have found myself wanting to work on jewels, that are not just about aesthetics but go far beyond their primary function, and moving into another realm of service. As many fashion and jewellery brand enter fast fashion, I have been questioning this entire thinking pattern, of ‘why one should throw away clothes every season?’. ‘Why would we make things that wouldn’t last?’. This quarantined time at home has been a great time for me to evaluate and understand why I had been running away from shallow ways of fashion and trying to find deeper meaning through my work. I feel that through all of this time of upheaval and distress, we are not thinking luxury, we are thinking survival, and not just for ourselves but for the whole planet, and with everyone that we share it with. And suddenly it dawns on me that we are thinking right after a long time. This time has helped me in validating my thoughts, that if design and fashion are not serving the community at large, they are being selfish and might not be needed once the virus is over and people have had the time to think and reassess their true needs and their role in the world.”
My Collection, ‘Wear Your Prayer’ that has been my most popular collection in the recent time, has 19 different world prayers. They are written through the process of filigree and fret saw work, a technique our jewellery craftsmen are very talented at. Here I changed our patterns to prayers. The gold jaali eggs in 18 k are miniature jewels, they are 9mm in size (The size of our finger nail or the size of a garden black ant).
This jewel is feminine and very detailed, from a distance, others see it as a pattern of Jaali work, however to the wearer it has a very deep meaning, as one wears the prayer that one believes in and it gives her/him inner strength. The collection has been bought by thousands of people across India, and I’m glad that in this way the prayer will be passed down through the generations.
The stories I hear from people who have worn my collections, are my biggest inspiration. The happiness in keeping our crafts alive, in working with the super talented craftsmen from our country is a privilege that I am insanely always grateful for. Most jewellery collections that I have designed, have sold in thousands of numbers and sometimes even more. On this collection I have also have an association with Tanishq, and a version of my collection can be found at the Tanishq stores as well, from where it is being bought in large numbers. I am in love with my work. My love for jewellery design has deep intensity, and it is my joie de vivre but to me, however the only way to measure one’s success is with the number of lives you have touched and served through your design.
Once we come through this, I really hope that good design will live forever and essentials will become the new luxury, fast fashion will become the thing of the past and we all buy products that are durable and will last us forever.
Covid19 feels to me like a recalibration of this planet. We already are seeing people putting the good of others first. Hoping so much that post Covid 19 that inner joy of giving will become the new luxury.
Let me take this opportunity to wish each one of your health, safety and nourishment of body and soul. We are in this together, and I urge you to think positive. Do not let anything dampen your creativity. Also, nothing stops you from revisiting, in your mind, the places that you have travelled to before and who knows you might discover inspiration there.