We pick the brains behind affordable jewellery brand, Lustre Jewellery, to find the art that happens when one goes against the grain.
Self-taught jewellery designer ANAITA THAKKAR is a bit of a free spirit. From the time she was a rebellious teenager growing up in India in the 1980s, to her eventual foray into jewellery designing, Anaita has always gone where her heart takes her.
Her obsession with shimmering baubles started at an early age. “It was only gold and fine gemstones that were truly valued and appreciated in India. Silver and semi-precious gemstone jewellery was the stuff that university students wore – and that led me to a lifelong fascination with it!”
It was therefore only natural for this mum-of-two to eventually start her own line of affordable jewellery. By the time Lustre Jewellery opened in 2014, she had already spent a decade in Singapore, building several businesses. One of her first designs – a pair of ultra-feminine pink-and-red ruby earrings that’s almost fluid in form and structure – has become one of her most treasured pieces.
“I use natural gemstones that are organic, which is in itself a reflection of nature and the world around us,” says Anaita, whose favourite rocks include labradorites, rainbow moonstones and rubies.
The free-flowing aesthetics reflect her personality and experiences. As far as Anaita is concerned, whatever you want to do has to be a passion – it has to be something you’re happy to breathe, sleep and live with.
Here, she gives us a glimpse into her life, loves and Lustre Jewellery’s latest collection.
Where does your love for jewellery and gemstones spring from?
My maternal grandmother used to have a gorgeous box full of vintage paste jewellery that she’d let me play with. I was a tomboy then and it was in her jewellery box that I discovered the most feminine side of me. Unfortunately, she misplaced it when I was in my 20s.
What makes your jewellery brand different from the rest?
I sought to create a brand that embodied affordable luxury by providing beautifully made artisanal pieces that are handcrafted in exceptional materials, while still keeping the price point pocket-friendly. I’m proud to say that despite so many imitators in the Singapore market, Lustre Jewellery still embodies that. In addition to this, apart from a small stable of classics that are perennial, our collections are manufactured in extremely limited quantities. Once they’re sold out, they are truly gone.
What does a regular day look like for you?
My teen boys leave at 7am, and my second cup of coffee is on my balcony, listening to birdsong. I’m at my desk from 7.15am onwards; the first order of the day is always packing and despatching orders that have come in overnight. Then it’s emails and chatting with manufacturers, along with studio appointments.
I usually do most of my designing late at night, when the home is quiet and there are no interruptions. It’s not all work all the time though; I do give myself Mondays off, and that’s usually when I’ll catch up with girlfriends for lunch and get in some pampering or run errands.
What inspires you?
Nature, travel, Indian weaves and textiles, memories of all the faux jewellery that my maternal grandmother used to have. A lot of the jewellery that I inherited from my grandmother is Art Deco, and I loved Art Deco even before I could even concretely identify it as a design period!
Tell us about your latest collection and its back story.
“Uncaged” is all about freedom – the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to be your most authentic self, and the courage to do both. I use gold-plated brass for this collection of earrings, cuffs and rings.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
As much as I love working in sterling silver for its fine finish, and in 18k gold for custom orders for select clients, the metal that’s the most fun is brass. Since the ethos of the brand is gemstone jewellery at an affordable price point, I do watch the bottom line when designing. Brass isn’t as expensive as silver, so I don’t have to worry too much about the weight of the finished piece in terms of its affordability; that means I can let creativity shine by designing bigger and bolder pieces.
Can you share some hidden gems (pun intended!) in Singapore?
Thow Kwang Pottery Jungle – I love rambling through the place as it feels like I’ve stepped back in time; Colbar at Wessex Estate, because in a city entranced with the shiny and the new, it still clings fiercely to its old-world charm and service; also, the Japanese cemetery in Kovan, because it feels like you’re in a different country.
To get your hands on one of Anaita’s affordable jewellery pieces, visit shoplustre.com.
FB: @shoplustre | IG: @shoplustre
This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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