She Makes Fine Jewels So Stunning, You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off

Sunita Shekhawat’s very private studio on Prithviraj Road in Jaipur was born out of compulsion. Bred in a family with links to the ‘Raj gharanas’ of Jodhpur, Sunita’s royal Rajput antecedents not only meant an inimitable connection with extravagant, antique jewels but also certain restrictions when it came to mingling with people outside the known family circle.

And so, when Sunita first started out designing jewellery as a work-from-home mom in the mid-1990s, she could only invite known friends and relatives over home to see her creations. Later, as demand for her pieces grew, her businessman husband decided it was time for her to move to her own studio not far from home.

But she continued seeing customers “by appointment only”, a quality that led her to be much sought after in certain circles.

And so her compulsion turned to her asset.

Till today, Sunita has never put up any hoardings in public places, preferring to let her work speak for itself. Now considered one of India’s most reputed jewellery labels, Sunita Shekhawat has branched out to Delhi and her family is part of the growing – but still highly private – jewellery business.

Her daughter Niharika handles the Delhi store, and her son has completed a course from the Gemological Institute of America to take the brand forward.

Ms. Sunita Shekhawat (CEO and Designer)
Sunita Shekhawat

Known for their intricate meenakari work, the brand has put Jaipur on the world map for luxury seekers who demand the highest quality and authentic heritage value in their jewels.

The label retails from its two tasteful stores and also from private exhibitions, about five of which may take place in any season. And so the cycle of production is continuous, and there’s never a dull moment in their various workshops across Jaipur.

“My work is worship for me,” says Sunita, who admits she has no time for page-3 events during work days, even if they help publicise her brand.

She’s also social-media averse. “I don’t want to be distracted by what others are doing online. I want to be true to my authentic self,” she says.

Many of India’s upper crust consider her brand to be the go-to destination for bridal heirlooms, and it’s a badge she carries with pride and responsibility.

Her Jaipur store manager, Abhilasha, puts it perfectly in context: “People come here when they have something to celebrate. It’s wonderful to be part of the happy moments in people’s lives.”

Scroll down to see her stunning creations.

Neelvarna Collection (5 piece).jpg
The label is known for its traditional kundan-meena work with a modern sensibility. Gold is so carefully inlaid with crushed gemstones that it appears like paint.
Kalika Collection Reversible Pendant
One of Sunita Shekhawat’s specialities is creating reversible jewellery, in which the effect is completely different on both sides, but both surfaces look equally exquisite.
Neelpushpa Collection
Sunita Shekhawat works with about 18 groups of artisans around Rajasthan, each of whom specialises in a different jewellery-making technique.
Neelpushpa Collection_Studs
The extravagance of her jewellery is not only a reflection of Sunita’s roots in royalty but also to her quest for work that reflects beauty and dignity.
Padmapriya Choker
Kundan-meena, by the very virtue of its design, craftsmanship and rich history, is considered an artifact. The challenge lies in preserving its beauty in the old form, while reinventing the designs for a contemporary age and audience.
Padmapriya Shoulder Dusters
Unlike traditional forms of meenakari, which is mostly done in green or red, Sunita uses unusual colours such as pink, black, navy and even white in her designs.

First published in the November 2017 issue of eShe magazine. Read it for free here. Or buy the print edition.