Rahul Jhaveri, Co-founder of Studio Renn (means rebirth), is an abstract artist at heart, who happens to be a jeweller. A staunch proponent of abstract expressionism, his potent bejewelled creations compel you to pause and reflect on them.
A Business graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA, Rahul was inclined towards writing poetry, photography, painting, and industrial design. Gifted with an exceptional ability to flip concepts on their heads, Rahul interprets complex ideas into simple but startlingly refreshing designs. He finds beauty in imperfection expressed through precious wearable art, that reminds us of the impermanence and incompleteness of life. The futuristic works denote purity and simplicity laden with bhaav (emotional heft).
It was a humid, sunny morning, when I met the husband-wife duo Rahul (the Creative Head), and Roshni Jhaveri, (Head, Business Operations), in their art-filled studio in Borivali, a distant suburb of Mumbai. The atelier, situated in a bustling industrial hub, was like an oasis of art. With the bejewelled creations laid out for viewing specially for me, it transported me to an art gallery with abstract paintings – only these were rendered in gold, diamonds and gemstones and some less elevated materials like concrete.
Struck by their unorthodox beauty, the limited-edition pieces have an immersive quality – be it rugged and organic voids set with diamonds, play of light and reflection through diamonds and surface finishes in jagged and serrated jewels, interlocking zigzag constructs and more. The oft-neglected cacti, the humble karela (bitter gourd), seed-leaf pods, and fish bones are upgraded into modern art.
And then there’s a ubiquitous motif that appears in all his designs – a cross. The avant-garde artist explains that while most people view the world as round, he perceives it as a four-directional globe.
His proclivity towards all forms of art is discernible from the way the studio-cum-atelier is designed. Filled with conceptual sculptures and objects, Rahul reveals that he occasionally writes poetry, loves to paint and revels in the company of artists and art collectors.
Even his ideas for design originate in a unique manner. “We work on the idea not necessarily to bring out a jewellery collection,” says Rahul. He deconstructs an idea through many artistic filters – by collaborating with sculptors, painters, goldsmiths, engineers, architects, self-taught artists to seek their interpretation of the idea. “We explore the intangible aspect of the concept and leave it open-ended to interpretation. Jewellery just happens to end up as a physical manifestation of our study. It’s a confluence of various stimuli and shared experiences to simplify a concept into jewellery form.”
This soul-centred view also extends to finding beauty in imperfect diamonds and gemstones. Rahul reveals, “I trained under my father, Rajiv Jhaveri, in his company S. Rajiv Company, and learned about diamond manufacturing skills. I fell in love with partially processed diamonds – sawables.”
“Flawed” gems, sawables, precarious diamond settings inverted gem-settings are an integral part of his repertoire. A closer look reveals that each piece is a technical marvel and seem to be on razor’s edge between imperfection and perfection.
“For me jewellery is not about being timeless, what is timeless is the thought … that never changes,” the artist muses.
The organic process of evolution is also part of the brand’s birth in 2018. What started as an exercise to design jewels for kith and kin, formalised instinctually into a company. In its four years of existence (shave off nearly two years of the pandemic), the young brand has already made its mark not just on the domestic but international scene as well.
“We didn’t want to have a physical store in accordance with our transient philosophy. So, we hold thematic shows of our limited-edition pieces across India in art galleries, architectural studios, and more. It’s a holistic approach as we collaborate with artists from different streams because it’s not just about selling jewellery, but an experiential and creative outlet for our clients,” says Rahul.
“We held our first physical 7-day show in February 2019 at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, and the response was so enthusiastic that we had to extend the show by another week. We met a lot of new people who were evolved collectors. Everything fades, nothing is permanent, and so is our show, which is temporal in nature. We are discovering the country through our shows – most of our eclectic collections were sold in Chennai, which is perceived as traditional in terms of design aesthetics!
“We are seeking international exposure and debuted in GemGenève in 2021 and the Couture Show (where they won the Innovation Award). We want to be in a place where we can contextualise our work. Participating in these shows was a phase of discovery for us, as we could identify which customer was right for us and vice versa.”
For the readers, here is our edit from Rahul Jhaveri’s ‘art gallery’
Cacti Karela Bracelet
Netted Stick Horn
The Fish Ruby Bracelet
Sacrificial Teeth Ear climbers
Intersecting Two-finger Digna
Seed-Leaf Emerald Earrings