By Pari Syal
Reputed revivalist and patron of art, jewellery designer Roopa Vohra’s distinctive treatment of the rare craft of Thewa incorporated into the innovative concept of Naqaashi has penned a unique success story in Indian classic jewellery design.
Thewa is the craft that immaculately fuses gold and glass. Practiced by artisans in certain parts of India, this 400-year old dying Mogul art form has very successfully been saved from extinction, and incorporated into Naqaashi – the Mogul architectural art form used to carve doors and windows – an innovative exercise accomplished by Mumbai-based Roopa Vohra.
Acclaimed as India’s only revivalist jewellery designer, Roopa Vohra stands apart for her determination and dedication to resurrecting the art of Thewa by cajoling and convincing the few existing artisans in Pratapgarh to continue practicing it. In 1997, starting with a modest capital, Roopa set out to master the fusion of glass and gold and present it to the world. Months of relentless efforts and experimentation finally resulted in a perfect piece of ‘Thewa’ art as you see it today. She had managed to instill faith in an entire generation of artisans, who lost their means of livelihood due to lack of patronage.
This initial success led to the launch of her signature innovative concept – a fine blend of ‘Thewa’ and ‘Naqaashi’. The challenge lay in concising this mogul architectural art form used in doors and windows into modern pieces of jewellery, and merging it with the traditional craftsmanship of the Thewa art, without compromising on the distinctive essence and aesthetic of each. From 6feet to 3 inches… Roopa draws inspiration from the classic to create stunning contemporary designs, which successfully highlight the uniqueness of separate cultures. Each piece is finely hand crafted, exquisitely detailed and has a story to tell. “This, as a form of jewellery never existed in the history of jewellery manufacturing, although the basic technique applied is age old,” informs Roopa.
The designer has evolved with many a winning combination of classically distinctive design aesthetic, a wide range of colours and styles, impeccable stone settings and detailing, and flawless craftsmanship. Rich colours blend with classic romanticism, symbolic of tasteful elegance; at times redefining royal regalia and at other, pure and serene. Uncut diamonds, rubies, emeralds, south sea pearls and sapphires; or the delicate entrapment of gold & diamonds, accentuated with precious stones like blue topaz, amethyst, rose quartz, fiery and olive citrine, infuse her collections with unbridled colour, fluid form and vivacious expression.
Each of her collection maintains its distinct identity with the coming together of various elements such as clasping and binding, embracing and merging, combining and complimenting. From cappuccino, champagne and cognac browns to peachy pinks, ruby reds & murky maroons, the palate of colours used are uncommon to the jewellery industry and a breakthrough by itself. Roopa’s USP lies in chiselling pieces that have a timeless appeal and encompass every human emotion – love , passion, sensuality or just the desire to express all the above.