DESIGN IN THE TIME OF LOCKDOWN

The world went into lockdown last year with the outbreak of COVID-19. Lives changed, lives crumbled. But amidst all the chaos, it gave many of us a renewed sense of purpose. 
It certainly gave several designers inspirations for new jewellery collections.

We caught up with two independent jewellers to check how they fared in their worlds during the lockdown – and to find out what they came up with during months of stay-at-home and quarantining. Turns out the blue sky and marching clouds provided a creative spark for London-based Indian designer Akansha Sethi’s new Cloud Collection, while nature and lush fields inspired Cyprus-based Maria Kotsoni to come up with her Precious Grain collection.

One of the problems during a lockdown is being stuck at home and not having anywhere to go. Akansha Sethi found a fun way to pass the time and boost her creativity. The designer, who was in India during the lockdown, took to painting and dreamt up her new collection. Instead of the opulent, historic palaces in Jaipur or the vibrant Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech, the designer ambled around on her terrace and looked to the sky. She found inspiration in the blue skies and fluffy white clouds sailing past. “That was the only ‘outdoor’ activity I could manage. As a child, during long drives in the car, I enjoyed making up stories as I watched the clouds,” she recalls.

The Cloud Collection by Akansha Sethi

“Seeing how they moved and changed shapes in the wind was my way of relaxing; it made time fly. I guess whilst being in India during the start of lockdown, I started to do the same thing, but this time I started to see the clouds as jewellery pieces – and that’s why some of the pieces in the cloud collection have an element of movement.”

Through drawing the designs in the evening and turning to spiritual healing and discovering the relaxing properties of the stones, Akansha started to create ‘The Cloud Collection’ using moonstones and carefully sourced labradorites with diamonds. The collection rendered in 14k white and yellow gold –initially featuring a mini huggie, statement stud, ear cuff, rings, pendant and torque necklaces – has been expanded to include a pair of long statement earrings and a brooch. “The designs focus on the shape and texture of clouds,” she explains. An increase in demand for bespoke brooches sparked the idea for this new addition to the Cloud Collection.

Although earrings were part of the line’s initial offering, statement long drops were amiss. With virtual meetings being the norm, earrings have become the go-to style accessory for those working from home. “Realising a gap in the collection for those who enjoy statement earrings, I decided to complete the Cloud Collection with a long statement earring,” she says.