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Tarang Arora on the precious legacy that is Amrapali

Four decades ago, somewhere in Rajasthan, two unassuming young men set out on a road trip in a second hand car to discover their home state-Rajasthan. Travelling through the length and breadth of the state, they encountered local artisans, architectural marvels and age-old traditions that inspired them to do something to preserve this rich legacy. The two men in question were Rajiv Arora and Rajesh Ajmera and the culmination of their efforts is what we today know as Amrapali. Of humble beginnings, the brand today is sought after by the who's who of the world. In an exclusive interview, Arora’s son and Creative Director, Amrapali, Tarang Arora reflects on the brand’s journey and the road ahead.
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Tarang Arora, Creative Director, Amrapali


Amrapali is a family-owned business. Tell us about your journey with the company so far. 

Amrapali was founded by my father and uncle 40 years ago as a result of their love for history and their desire to preserve Indian jewellery and artefacts. It’s been a great journey so far and even today, the brand continues to stay true to its Indian roots.

What have been your biggest milestones with the brand so far?
There have been many: Amrapali was the first Indian jeweller to be invited for 23 and a half days of Bollywood an Indian promotion that took place in Selfridges in 2002. In 2012, we were invited by Harrods to be a part of their fine jewellery room. Again, we were the only Indian jewellers to be present there. In 2017, my father and uncle were invited to Buckingham Palace by the queen to commemorate the start of the UK-India year of culture.

What is the design philosophy of Amrapali?
Amrapali is a reflection of India’s traditions and craftsmanship. We have combined classical traditions with a modern interpretation; so while sticking to traditional roots our designs have a modern twist.

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A tiered silver necklace

Where do you find your design inspiration?
India is an abundant source of inspiration for any art form, I believe. It’s a land so rich with art, craft and architecture and is an infinite source of inspiration. The frescoes found in Indian palaces and the beautiful and intricate work at Indian temples is where I derive my inspiration from. Mother Nature also never fails to surprise me with its wonders—the different hues and the flora & fauna are so unique and captivating that it always inspires me in different ways.

What makes a piece from Amrapali stand out from the rest?
The design language of Amrapali is unique; our jewellery is handcrafted, so every piece is different in its own way. For instance, the colours of our enamel or the finishing of our pieces is difficult to find anywhere else.

The family’s love for Indian heritage has also culminated into the Amrapali Museum…
The Amrapali Museum is my father and uncle’s labour of love that began nearly forty years ago when they became friends at college, and it continues to this day. It is a one-of-a-kind museum in the world that has a unique collection of silver and gold jewellery and ornaments. It is unique because it draws from the everyday life of people of India.

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Facade of the Amrapali Museum in Jaipur

The brand has also been actively involved in reviving traditional tribal jewellery and has been working with artisans for the same.
A lot of our early pieces were folk and tribal jewellery that were originally used for barter in villages. We have re-used many of the designs. The people in the villages would typically melt the jewellery and sell it and subsequently the craft would be lost. However, these pieces were bought by my dad and uncle at a higher price and are now proudly displayed at the Amrapali Museum.We take a lot of inspiration from these pieces while developing new designs. We always encourage the preservation of old pieces or reform them rather than demolishing them.

Who is your favourite muse? Indian and internationally?
Sonam Kapoor & Emilia Clarke

Who according to you is the ideal Amrapali woman?
The Amrapali woman is bold and confident, is not afraid to experiment andis someone who has a modern outlook with a traditional heart.

 

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Tribal pieces displayed at the museum

What are the big jewellery trends for this year?
Rings are big, be it a knuckle ring, a statement ring or a stack of rings. Layered necklaces and tassel jewellery is also trending.

What are the jewellery must-haves every woman should own?
Pearls—they are classics and forever, so, invest in a nice pearl necklace. Statement earrings are great because of their standalone quality. Lastly, an iconic, charm bracelet should also be a staple.

 

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