Fusing Eastern tradition with a modern aesthetic, the eclectic fine jewellery designs of Manjrie empower artisan communities in India. They say that every piece of jewellery tells a story. For entrepreneur Manjrie Gupta, her personal collections are her way of connecting with her roots and remembering moments. “Even before becoming a designer, I’ve always been fascinated by the work of artisans in India and charmed by old world heritage.”
A decade ago, she grew tired of her job as a computer science engineer. Taking a leap of faith, she decided to leave her established career behind and enrolled in a course in gemology at the International Gemological Institute (IGI). “At the time, I knew I’d always been fascinated by diamonds, gems and precious stones, so I thought why not?”
After qualifying, she turned her eye to design. Spotting a gap for a brand that mixed traditional Indian elements with a chic aesthetic, she began to work on the designs for what would later become Manjrie: her eponymous fine jewellery label melding exotic elements of the East with modern silhouettes of the West.
The label’s eye-catching collection offers necklaces, bracelets and rings, handcrafted in gold or silver and set with diamonds, polki diamonds or precious gemstones that are carefully sourced. Her ready-to-wear lines showcase luxe designs with a more expensive finish as well as a fashion-forward but lower priced sterling silver range; there’s something for all tastes and budgets.
What’s more, Manjrie’s production supports independent artisans in her home country of India. “One of my driving forces for starting this business was always to give back, and to help create opportunities for artisans from craft families in India. Instead of the skills disappearing, their next generation can upkeep the tradition rather than setting off to big cities to earn a livelihood. Through design opportunities, Manjrie helps keep that heritage alive.”
When it comes to a design approach, she says the idea is for “season-less” designs; “We create just a few signature pieces that we repeat.” After considerable demand, Manjrie has also started to take on bespoke commissions for special occasions like engagements, weddings, Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.
The charm of Manjrie’s jewellery is that each design tells a beautiful story. Take the Navratni Lotus Bracelet, the first piece she designed for her launch: handcrafted in Rajasthan, its nine gems (including red tourmaline, yellow citrine, green aventurine and blue iolite) together are known as “Navratna” in Sanskrit, and they symbolise the nine planets in Vedic (ancient Hindi) astrology. The centrepiece is 18-karat gold skilfully carved into a lotus flower, known in Buddhism to symbolise purity of the body, mind and speech.
Another eye-catching team favourite are the Victorian Rutile and Diamond Earrings. Taking inspiration from the Victorian era, each piece is fashioned with brilliant-cut diamonds and handengraved natural rutile set in 14-karat gold.
Since moving to Singapore two years ago, Manjrie has taken entrepreneurialism in her stride, showcasing her collections at the Jeweluxe exhibition and enjoying being involved in custom projects. What’s in store for the future? “One thing is certain. Whatever designs we create, I want them to be meaningful, give back, bring joy to clients and show the world that traditional craftsmanship can still look premium, desirable and stylish.”
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