Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A gem of a lady

Jewellery designer, Rosily Paul Vadakkel, uses her imagination to make unique designs

By Shevlin Sebastian

In 1996, Rosily Paul Vadakkel, 48, was working for a jewellery firm, Enchante, in Delhi. At that time, the well-known politician Maneka Gandhi gave a commission to the firm: she wanted jewellery with designs based on animals. Many designers from the firm showed samples, but Maneka rejected them all.

Desperate and frustrated, the firm’s director asked Rosily whether she would like to try. “At that time, I was the junior-most designer,” she says. Anyway, she went and met Maneka. “After talking with her, I realised she did not want a replica of an animal, but a stylised form which had a global appeal.”

Rosily took a week off and did research in numerous libraries of the capital. Then she drew several designs. At the end of the week, she went back to the director and said she was ready. Soon, a meeting was set up.

“I was nervous and scared because this was my first assignment,” she says. “But when Maneka saw my designs, she liked it immediately and said, ‘You have done a good job.’ When I look back, it was a tremendous morale-booster for me. I suddenly realised I could create good designs.”

On a fortnight’s vacation in Kerala, Rosily, with her luxuriant flowing hair and colourful saree, gives off an impression of vivacity at her apartment in Aluva. A decade after the Maneka incident, she is running a successful design firm, Rosily Paul Creations, which has an outlet at the Gold Souk in Gurgaon. She does designs for necklaces, rings, bangles and earrings, with prices ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10 lakh.

Rosily says her forte is custom-made jewellery. So how does she go about making the right designs for customers? “First of all, you have to understand the likes and dislikes of the customer,” she says. Some women like floral designs, while others dislike them. “There is a customer who only likes geometric designs,” she says. Some women are rigid, while others are flexible and will ask Rosily for an opinion.

Her customers range from the upper middle class to the affluent. The Delhi-based Anupama Khera, 40, has been buying regularly for several years. “The plus point of Rosily is that she is able to do alterations that caters to my taste, my requirements, and, most importantly, my budget,” she says. “I like her designs because it leans towards the contemporary.”

Anuradha Sinha, 45, who works in a multinational firm, also agrees that Rosily’s strength lies in the fact that she is able to personalise the jewellery. “She designs according to what I have in mind,” she says. “Whenever I wear Rosily’s creations, I feel that it belongs to me. She has a unique style.”

This uniqueness has enabled her to win several awards. She twice won the De Beers National Jewellery Design Competition in the bridal category, won the first prize, as well as the Critic’s Award in the Tahiti Pearl Trophy for the Indian Subcontinent in 2004 in the necklace category, apart from five Swarnanjali awards from the World Gold Council. In 2006, she was the national winner in the Tahiti Pearl Trophy International in the Parure category.

Rosily explains the creativity behind the making of a necklace which won the first prize at Vision 2005, a competition conducted by the Indian Institute of Gems and Jewellery. “I saw a jasmine on a fence,” she says. “That inspired me.”

Her necklace does look like a jasmine. It flows from one side. “The basic idea is to resemble creepers going over a fence,” she says. “I have represented the fence with four chains, made of 18 carat gold. There are leaves and flowers and, at the tip, I have put black pearls to signify the buds.” Made of gold, and weighing 240 grams, it costs a whopping Rs 3.5 lakh.

Rosily, who is making waves in Delhi, says there is a difference in the fashion styles of North and South Indian women. “North Indian women are more stylish, design-oriented and prefer big-size jewellery,” she says. “There is a bit of showing off.” South Indian women, on the other hand, prefer understated jewellery to match their conservative dressing style.

This popular designer was born in Kaduthuruthy, did her B.Sc. from Deva Matha College in Kuravilangad and her Masters in Sociology from Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu. Marriage to businessman Joy Paul Vadakkel meant she had to move to Delhi. She spent several years looking after her children, Mathew, now 18, and Tushara, 17.

Then, one day, she saw an advertisement in a newspaper about a course in gemology conducted by the Indian Institute of Gemology. She attended it and found that she enjoyed it immensely. Thereafter, she did a course in jewellery design from South Delhi Polytechnic and discovered, to her astonishment, that she had a talent for drawing. Following this, she did an advanced course in design and as a goldsmith from a German expert, S.R. Schroeder and, fully equipped, has been able to make a mark as a jewellery designer.

Asked how she is different from other designers, Rosily says, “I am an imaginative person. Unless you can imagine, you cannot create something unique. That is my strength.”

(Permission to reproduce this article has to be obtained from The New Indian Express)

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