Bengaluru-based designer Sankesh Surana was always inclined towards arts and architecture. A prolific artist, he skillfully juggles roles, and his ingenuity extends not just to designing jewellery, but even lifestyle products such as tableware, perfumes, scarves and more. The new talent on the horizon is raring to go!
Shankesh Surana’s foray into the industry began in a firm as a gemmologist and after eight years, he moved on to a French company for a year, where his boss and mentor recognised his latent talent for designing jewellery. There has been no looking back for Sankesh since then.
When did you establish your brand and where?
Though my interest and experience in the jewellery field extends for more than a decade now, I set up The Sankesh Surana Studio in 2018 in Bengaluru, India.
What drew you to the world of jewellery design?
The birth of Sankesh Surana, the designer’’ began on the idyllic beaches of Gokarna in southern Karnataka. I was on a short holiday there and was struck by the shimmering shorelines, pristine waters and striking colours of nature. I was relaxed and sketched all day. My first jewellery piece inspired by the waves was conceived there. That design won me several awards and I decided it was time to change tracks.
Are you a first-gen jeweller?
Yes, I am the first-gen jeweller but I love to call myself as a lifestyle designer who is into contemporary art, perfumery, scarves and tableware.
What’s your design philosophy?
My brand’s monogram Nabhas is the reflection of my design ethos and philosophy. The four pillars of our brand are architecture, culture, beauty, and the diverse and rich flora fauna. These are my main sources of inspiration for creating one-of-a-kind jewellery.
What is your USP?
I am a trained enameller and specialise in plique-à-jour, a vitreous French enamelling technique. I personally enamel my creations as I don’t have an artisan to assist me for this technique.
Who is your target audience?
Millennials and fashionistas, and men who don power suits.
Which metals and gemstones do you generally like to work with and why?
I always use gold and the gemstones I mostly use are rubies, sapphires, and pearls. My favourite is corundum and I infuse my creations with multicolour sapphires. Apart from these, I employ French enamelling, which is my specialization.
You recently tied up with Ruani, a multi-brand haute couture jewellery house in Mumbai … How has the response been so far?
We have an association with Ruani to showcase our art pieces. It’s a marvelous place where creativity meets art, and it brings together experience, excitement, and energy.
The tie-up with Ruani has given me good exposure even in international markets as promotions are being done abroad rigorously through media influencers. Within a short span of time, I have got a good number of clients from Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Tell us more about your tableware creations.
I am heavily into designing lifestyle accessories and Hunar, the tableware collection is one such project. I always balance the act by creating luxurious and affordable lines. The tableware is created with black onyx and lined with thin 24-karat gold wires and natural diamonds. As is the case with every artist, I was plagued with doubts about how the line would fare. Fortunately, the response was tremendous. In fact, in January 2022, I will be launching the Surana Majestic Lifestyle Products at Ruani with tableware created from rose quartz, mother-of-pearl and aventurine.
Do you create limited pieces for Ruani?
Yes, we don’t repeat our designs for Ruani. I have an 89-piece edition for men’s jewellery as well. That is a segment that is thriving currently.
The idea to develop a jewellery line for men struck me during my participation at IIJS Signature Design Corner a couple of years ago. I was wearing a tie pin and cufflinks designed by me, and that caught the attention of clients who walked into my booth. I have designed a range for men’s jewellery priced between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 1.5 lakh. I don’t like to exceed the cost as affordability is my mainstay.
I am also designing a fresh edition of my Mogra and Jash-e-Taj lines for Bluestone.com
Do you make bespoke pieces?
Business for bespoke commissions is booming at present. Clients want jewellery designed specially for them, and they are happy to pay a premium for it. In two years of my brand’s existence, I have had over 80 clients who have placed orders for bespoke jewellery.
How did you get into creating perfumes?
I was hugely influenced by my mother, who used to make homemade fragrances. She was trained by a perfumer from the perfume capital of India, Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, where perfumeries have been around since time immemorial. The artists use the deg-bhapka method that has remained unchanged since 1000 AD. We have designed three handmade fragrances that are pure, organic, and indigenous under my brand.
What is your brand’s USP?
Our art pieces are thought-provoking, iconic, bold, and contemporary.
Are you available online as well as offline?
Yes, we have both online presence and offline presence. The Sankesh Surana Studio is situated in Bengaluru.