Lai Jewellery – The Marriage of Tradition and Culture
Lai, “the beloved one” in sanskrit, is an India / California-based jewellery label under which Puja Bhargava Kamath and her team design and manufacture unique, culturally inspired collections of handcrafted sterling silver jewellery. As a graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), New Delhi and a gemologist, after many years of providing design services to a number of leading national and international jewellery houses and working with craft clusters across India, Puja decided to venture into producing her own designs.
This was a decision born out of a realization that silver jewellery was one category where my three big passions converged: working with crafts and traditional skills, jewellery and history.
At Lai, Puja wants to give today’s woman relevant and contemporary ways to express their taste in culture, history and arts – through jewellery. Lai aims to retain, in some form, that spirit of culture and identity that adornment has always stood for. That and the soul and warmth of handcrafted versus mass produced options. Core to Lai’s aesthetic and philosophy is jewellery with a story– one that can be passed on through generations, remaining personal to the wearer. Puja shares,
No simple, dainty triangles and dots and dashes for us. We don’t want to add to the homogeneity that is all pervasive in the jewelry space currently. We want to retain, in some form, that spirit of culture and identity that adornment has always stood for. That and the soul and warmth of handcrafted versus mass produced options.
Lai subscribes to Fairtrade principles and all their jewellery is handcrafted in sterling silver, in Jaipur, by expert artisans using time honoured techniques with centuries-old craftsmanship and quality. Lai will appeal to the memory collectors, the wanderlust bitten, the experimenters and culture maven looking for timeless design stories in jewellery.
Lai’s new collection, “Bidri X MCM” is inspired by the aesthetics of Mid Century Modern (MCM) and skillfully handcrafted using the unique craft of Bidri, a fine art of inlaying silver wire and sheet on a oxidized zinc copper alloy.
Mid Century Modern was the era (1935-65) of modernism and functional beauty. The balance of aesthetics and utility. Finding harmony between the natural and the manmade. It was a historical milestone and a living ideal, reflected in today’s best furniture, architecture and design.
This Limited Edition collection of 29 uniquely crafted contemporary and timeless pieces is the result of an overall aesthetic with each piece handcrafted in Bidar, Karnataka by experts using the Bidri technique, handed down over centuries.
Lai was recently picked by Conde Nast Traveller India as one of the top 50 Indian brands that “use traditional techniques and materials to create cool, contemporary fashion. Find out more by visiting the Lai website.