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