Raj Mahtani’s jewellery label is all about statement pieces for the bold, modern bride.
Art was always an area of deep interest for Raj Mahtani— from music and painting to theatre and film. And he brings that passion to his career as a jeweller, crafting masterpieces with precious stones. Rooted in his family’s acclaimed jewellery business, his own label, which he established in 2000, combines the best of traditional Mughal design with a contemporary sense of style. The multi-faceted jeweller speaks to Brides Today on his career and craftsmanship.
Brides Today: How and why did you become a jeweller?
Raj Mahtani: Growing up, I was the editor of my school’s newsletter; I played the sitar and was a good painter. I was actively involved with theatre groups in Kolkata, and was buying art with my pocket money from a young age. And I always wanted to be a film star. But when my father died it became my responsibility to take care of my family. After a stint in fashion, I returned to our family jewellery business—that’s how it started.
BT: What inspires you?
RM: I love interiors—my bedtime reading material is architecture books. It helps me in constructing beautiful pieces of jewellery and understanding the engineering behind it. During college, I backpacked in Europe for six months. While kids my age were going to nightclubs, I visited museums, listened to music, and looked at art—it played a very important role in the evolution of my mind. I realised I had this one life and I needed to focus on the arts and do something exemplary. I would sleep at night dreaming about designs— it was like a premonition. It was then I knew I had to createsomething that was Indian in spirit yet able to transcend borders and travel.
BT: What should a bride’s jewellery trousseau contain?
RM: A bride needs very simple pieces of jewellery for her everyday wardrobe. She has to enjoy wearing them. I think she should collect fewer necklaces and more earrings. Her earring box should include all types—studs, long and short ones, hoops, three dimensional, and everything in between. She should also have fun with cocktail rings and bracelets. I think four or five bracelets stacked up look marvellous with a simple cotton dress.
BT: What are you currently working on?
RM: A kind of jewellery that I call Western Jadau. The pieces use the 17th-century Mughal era technique of Meenakari but in an extremely modern way. You can wear them with a black dress or a white shirt and go out.
BT: A piece of advice for brides?
RM: I think a bride in India is burdened with the idea of excessiveness. The mistake she makes is to want an ace designer, makeup artist and jeweller. Everyone is trying to prove a point. My advice is to keep it simple. Invest in effortless pieces of jewellery that come together for the wedding day. It shouldn’t be something that goes into the locker only to see the light of day once in two years.