Actress & Style Icon Sonam Kapoor graces the 7th Artisan Jewellery Design Awards held in Mumbai

The 7th edition of The Artisan Jewellery Design Awards, hosted by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and powered by GIA, challenged designers to tap uncharted territory by integrating unusual materials and cherished objects into their jewellery designs, to infuse their pieces with a unique identity.

Actress and style icon Sonam Kapoor graced GJEPC’s 7th edition of Artisan Jewellery Design Awards in Mumbai and presented awards to winners. Sonam Kapoor graced the stage with an aura of elegance and charisma along Mr. Vipul Shah (Chairman, GJEPC); Mr. Kirit Bhansali (Vice Chairman, GJEPC); Mr. Sriram Natarajan (Managing Director, GIA India); Mr. Milan Chokshi (Convener, Promotions & Marketing, GJEPC); Mr. Sabyasachi Ray (Executive Director, GJEPC) bestowed the coveted awards upon 6 Artisan winners.

This year the theme for the Artisan Jewellery Desing Award were two unconventional themes – ‘Objet Trouvé’ (Found Objects) and ‘Unusual Materials’.

The concept of ‘Objet Trouvé’ centred around crafting jewellery pieces that capture the essence of treasured objects from the past within a contemporary context. While the second theme, ‘Unusual Materials’ encouraged designers to create a dialogue between the familiar and the unexpected by combining contrasting materials with at least 50% precious materials.

Actress & style icon Sonam Kapoor said, “I am proud to be a part of the jewellery industry, which showcases India’s excellence in design and craftsmanship to the world. The Artisan Awards is a great initiative by the GJEPC to nurture and celebrate young talent, who are pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation. I believe that jewellery is not just an accessory, but an art form that expresses one’s personality and style. I admire the Indian designers who create stunning pieces that blend tradition & modernity, and inspire women to experiment with different forms and colours. For me, the artistic value of a jewellery piece is more than the material value, and that is what makes it truly precious.”

Vipul Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, notes, “The Artisan Jewellery Design Awards, now in its 7th edition, stands as a beacon for creative expression in the jewellery design realm. It offers a coveted platform for talented individuals to unleash their creativity and showcase their innovative designs. Each year, this competition brings forth exclusive, never-seen-before masterpieces that underscore the boundless innovation within our industry. This this competition, our aim is to redefine the landscape of jewellery design and elevate India as a premier design centre. Aligned with the government’s Make in India campaign, The Artisan Awards reinforces GJEPC’s dedication positioning India as a leader in design innovation.

”Milan Chokshi, Convener, Promotions & Marketing, GJEPC, observes: “Each year, we strive to introduce a distinctive theme, challenging participants by collaborating with curators to elevate their engagement. Over the past seven years, the Artisan Awards have assumed increasing significance globally, with India recognising them as the most coveted accolade. This prestigious award serves as a driving force, inspiring designers, budding students, and manufacturers to create thematic jewels at the highest echelon. The quality of production within this thematic framework is truly remarkable.”

This jewellery design contest ignited a spark a wave of creativity, prompting nearly 600 participants from India and abroad to push the envelope, and create a new design grammar. The outcome surpassed expectations, breathtaking creations that challenged convention.

The list of winners

UNUSUAL MATERIALS: Winner – Cufflinks designed by Aparna Kesarkar and manufactured by Laxmi Dia Jewel Pvt. Ltd.; First Runner-up – Bracelet designed by Ahalya Vijayakumar and manufactured by VBJ; Second Runner-up – Earrings designed by Dipali Ghadigaonkar and manufactured by KP Sanghvi Jewels Pvt. Ltd.

OBJET TROUVÉ: Winner – Earrings designed by Yamini Devasree and manufactured by VBJ; First Runner-up – Hairstick designed by Rashmi Kaushik and manufactured by Kiran Jewels; Second Runner-up – Earrings designed by Vijay Indulkar and Manufactured by Walking Tree Venture Pvt. Ltd.

The entries underwent thorough scrutiny by a distinguished jury comprising Alice Cicolini, a renowned UK jewellery designer; Biren Vaidya, Managing Director of The Rose Group; Payal Singhal, Fashion Designer; Apoorva Deshingkar, Senior Director of Education and Market Development at GIA India; and Toktam Shekarriz, a jewellery designer based in Dubai.

The technical jury included Devinder Layal, Jewellery Artiste and Educationist; Meenal Choksi, Head of Design, Moksh Fine Unseen Jewellery; Sushama Kalzunkar Sawant, PD & Merchandising Head, Diagold Creation; Janki Choksi, Founder, Janki Choksi Designs; Gunjan Sapra, COO & Head of Department, Jewellery Designs, International Institute of Gemology, and a GIA Instructor, to honour the best and most talented jewellery designers.

During this illustrious event, GJEPC also honoured industry stalwarts whose remarkable contributions have made a lasting impact on both the domestic and global fronts. The nominations were evaluated by a distinguished three-member jury comprising Arundhati De, jewellery expert and bespoke jewellery shopping consultant; Devinder Layal and Sushma Kalzunkar Sawant.

Farah Khan, renowned jewellery designer, was honoured with the Design Excellence Award, while Rahul Jhaveri, Creative Head and Co-founder of Studio Renn, was bestowed with the prestigious Global Indian Jewellery Designer award.

Intergem Exports (YS18) was chosen as the proud recipient of the Manufacturing Excellence Award, underscoring its commitment to quality and innovation, while Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers was acclaimed with the Retail Excellence Award for its exceptional standards and customer service.

Here’s the verdict of the jury for The Artisan finalists:

Sriram Natarajan, Managing Director, GIA India: GIA India is pleased to support The Artisan Awards – a platform that fosters a space where creativity in jewellery design thrives. Embracing the themes of ‘Unusual Materials’ and ‘Objet Trouve,’ this initiative by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) aligns with our commitment to pushing artistic boundaries. Our continued support reflects the shared values of celebrating creative expression and advancing jewellery designing arts on a global scale.

Biren Vaidya, Managing Director, The Rose Group, said, “Judging the Artisan Awards has been a riveting experience, witnessing the evolution of creativity in our field over the last four decades and observing how the participants have conceptualised the story from ideas to designs, crafting them into jewels using innovation, skill, and craftsmanship.

Alice Cicolini, Avant-garde UK jewellery designer, said, “The freedom afforded to India’s young designers through these themes is commendable. Having worked in India for nearly two decades, I can attest that it stands as one of the most extraordinary nations for jewellery production, boasting incredible craftsmanship. It is refreshing to see young jewellery designers break free from traditional constraints, allowing their imaginations to take flight—an approach actively encouraged by institutions like GJEPC.”

Fashion Designer Payal Singhal said, “The Artisan Awards highlight a remarkable standard. The ability to work with challenging materials and produce versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and finely crafted jewellery is a testament to the high level of expertise present in our country. As for elevating jewellery into wearable art, initiatives like The Artisan play a crucial role. Supporting and motivating young designers and jewellery brands to embrace this perspective will contribute to the evolution of jewellery as a form of artistic expression rather than merely a complement to attire or a symbol of status.”

The two-day art festival was held on February 12th-13th, 2024, at Ice Factory, Ballard Estate, Mumbai, and drew a diverse audience including curators, art gallery owners, patrons, art school students and faculty members, socialites, celebrities, connoisseurs, architects, painters, sculptors, and jewellery designers.