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Eina Ahluwalia

Eina Ahluwalia (???? – ) Hailed by many experts and her contemporaries as India’s first conceptual jewelry artist, Eina Ahluwalia is a luxury jewelry designer. She trained in The Netherlands under conceptual jeweler Ruudt Peters and studied at the Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School in Florence, Italy where she is the school’s India Advisor

On her official website, Eina welcomes her guests with the following greeting, “My jewelry is my personal and social activism, created from the soul and inspired by life. My themes revolve around feminism and spirituality, and my pieces are sometimes subliminal and sometimes loud messages to the wearer and the world. They are meant to give people a strong yet beautiful way to wear a personal reminder or a point of view. … Rooted in traditional craft and hand made as a philosophy, I work with master craftsmen to create intricate and detailed fretwork with a soul that cannot be matched by machines.”

After working at a corporate job for four years, Eina quit to follow, study, and practice her passion: designing jewelry. In a 2013 interview with the Indian publication, Jugni Style, she described why she made that decision and its impact.

“I completed my MBA and joined the corporate world thinking that’s where I belonged … [O]ne day four years down the line I realized that I didn’t relate to my life at all. … I decided I wanted to do something I loved, and to live the quality of life I wanted – to have time to travel, trek, read, write, spend time with family and friends, do something meaningful, and wake up late every morning! So I quit and decided to make jewelry with the world famous master craftsmen in Bengal.

“I always loved silver jewelry … so in January 2003 I set up my label, and decided to make contemporary jewelry. I knew nothing about making [it]. … The first few years I learnt a lot from the craftsmen I worked with. From 2006 for about two and a half years, I worked as a consultant for a jewelry export company, looking after their design and international marketing. At their factory I learned the production process and traveled to jewelry fairs across the world (New York, Basel, [and] Istanbul) to represent them.”

Acting on deeply held beliefs, Eina began by working with master craftsmen in Calcutta to help keep alive skills passed down through generations, but are now disappearing due to mass production. By handcrafting each piece, the crafts workers earn a livelihood with dignity as they create one superb piece after another. Ahluwalia’s signature style is intricate and exquisitely detailed and incorporates delicate handmade fretwork known as, jali.

Having worked with these skilled colleagues for more than a decade and honed their skills to near perfection, the pieces they create are often mistaken as laser or machine cut. Her label ‘Eina Ahluwalia’ is synonymous with luxury jewelry that is a combination of art, fashion and design.

Each piece is intricate and intense, subtle yet strong. Rooted in tradition and imbued with meaning, her jewelry always has something precious in it: sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and not least, deep thought.

Eina was nominated for ‘Best Jewelry Designer’ by Marie Claire India for two consecutive years and David Lamb of MD, Jewellery at the World Gold Council picked her as one of the trade’s hottest talents.

Her label is a regular at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai and have been seen in independent runway shows since 2009. Eina’s creations are frequently featured in the magazines Vogue, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan. Her work has also been featured in British Vogue, InStyle UK, Stylist Magazine UK, Her World Singapore, Madame Figaro France, Zeit Magazine Germany, and more.

Eina’s creations also grace art galleries, exclusive stores and jewelry shows in India and Europe. Some of her pieces were chosen for the Hot Under The Collar Exhibition at the 2012 SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) conference.

Her Kirpan Necklace is featured in Lark Book Publishers Collectors Series 500 Art Necklaces. In 2013, Eina created her Love Respect Protect earrings. They are part of her Wedding Vows collection which is her stand against domestic violence.

In late 2015, Eina Ahluwalia launched her latest collection, Paradisiac, at Nimai, a multi-brand concept jewelry store run by Pooja Roy Yadav. Talking about Ahluwalia, Yadav said, “I think for any creator of jewelry, working with Eina Ahluwalia is tantamount to the brand going somewhere. Eina is a role model for all concept jewelers … I love how every piece stands for something and that she weaves in the concept of feminism and spirituality so effortlessly in them.”

Eina’s jewelry is worn by New York-based fashion entrepreneur Fern Mallis, model Dree Hemingway, British pop sensation Delilah and Indian film industry A-listers such as Freida Pinto, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and others.

Eina writes for several magazines and newspapers. When she isn’t traveling the world to gather new ideas, inspirations, and experiences, she is usually found bent over her workbench with her fretsaw.

“[My secret crusade is} to subvert the paradigm of jewelry as a means of ornamentation loaded with patriarchal symbolizers, a way to appear more beautiful to the other; and reclaim and redefine jewelry as a woman’s way of expressing her independent identity, as a symbol of empowerment, purely for her own enjoyment, as a celebration of herself.” –Eina Ahluwalia

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