Antique silver and gold take centrestage in Lara Morakhia’s designs
The impersonal nature of mass-produced jewellery proved to be off putting for Lara Morakhia, a doctor with an adventurous streak when it comes to fashion. So, she would design them herself. It was during
a shopping trip to Mumbai’s multi-designer boutique Bungalow 8 that she was spotted by the proprietor, Maithili Ahluwalia, who enquired after her statement jadau earrings. “She was so impressed that I made them myself, and invited me to hold a showcase of my collection at the store,” recalls Lara, who then went on to hold a pop-up there and launch her silver jewellery label online.
Fuelled by her passion for antiques, art, travel and all things sartorial, the label understandably reflects all those elements. “I travel a lot and I have been collecting antiques, vintage text, art and embroidered fabrics over the years,” shares Lara, who gravitated towards the artistic field after a trekking accident had her out of action for close to eight months. “That’s when I gave up my medical profession to do something else I equally loved,” reveals the designer who shuttles between Mumbai and New York City.
Her Spring Summer line takes inspiration from Indian temples and other architectural points of interest in the country. The silhouettes are reflected in the pieces, right from the bangles to the necklaces and earrings. “This collection is quite heavy on necklaces crafted with gold, vilandi (uncut diamonds) and pearls,” she explains.
Call of the wild
Every piece seeks to make a statement, be it the African batik bone earrings, made with antique silver, vilandi and jadau, or the Nakshi jadau gold and silver kada, an antique silver kada set with nakshi jadau and vilandi with gold and pearl beads. And, no two pieces are alike. “They’re all conversation starters. My first priority is that the design should make a statement,” she says.
Apart from silver and gold, Lara also uses a variety of other raw materials, such as leather and porcupine quill (sourced from an African getaway into the Maasai villages) and ethically sourced Warthog tusk, which are incorporated into lapel pins, pendants, rings, bracelets and more. “I think we’re all looking for a way to connect with our roots, and that’s something my jewellery offers, from the South-style Nakshi earrings to the Rajasthani jadau work,” she says in conclusion.