If you like me carry a little bit of Old Delhi within you, then you will love Lai’s latest collection of jewellery. Old Delhi to me is synonymous with history, food, cacophony, tradition, culture, jewellery, fabric, books…what I could simply refer to as ‘life’. Have been frequenting this ‘holy place’ since I can care to remember! The food and festive shopping is what pulled our family to it initially; then as we got older, books, its magnificent ‘havelis’ and jewellery got added to our list of ‘must not miss when in Old Delhi’. So, our joy when we learnt that Puja of Lai was creating a collection inspired by Old Delhi, that was tinted with good ‘ole nostalgia, we had to find out more. Are you ready to walk the alleyways of Old Delhi with Lai? We certainly are.
Meet Puja, the founder of Lai
After graduating from NIFT in India, Puja worked on projects in jewellery, crafts, interiors and leather goods. She also spent this time to further study Gemmology and Art Appreciation. All this while she continued to provide design services to various national and international jewellery houses and work in the craft clusters of Srinagar (Kashmir), Hupri (Maharashtra), Nasik (Maharashtra) and Hajo (Assam).
Then, one fine day, when she was ‘ready’, she launched her jewellery brand where her three big passions, namely: working with crafts and traditional skills, jewellery and history converged under the umbrella of silver jewellery. There was a lot of jewellery in silver out there, but Puja wasn’t impressed by the designs in the market and hence had decided to launch her line to celebrate Indian minimalism while at he same time ensuring that they were wearable, relatable and affordable. Lai is never ever mass produced and each collection is always a limited collection; just how you would want a special piece of jewellery to be.
A peep into Puja’s day
The Mother-duo wheel of Lai
Lai’s Design journey
The first ever piece of jewellery that was designed by Puja that got sold was a gold necklace. It was an entry for the World Gold Council’s design competition called ‘Swaranjali’. She was then a student at NIFT, India and that entry made it to the final stage of the competition. Which meant that those designs (on paper) were fabricated and auctioned off at a show. Since then, Puja has continued to find inspiration from history for her collections. This latest one is inspired by the old world charm of Old Delhi. In Puja’s words:
‘This collection is inspired by a day spent walking around the bazaars in Old Delhi. Noting the architectural details, the distinct iconography, trying to imagine how it must have been in the 17th century and picking up memory stirring small bits and bob to use in jewellery…..
Old Delhi, specifically Delhi-6 (named after the pin code 11006), is where my grandfather moved to from Mathura, in 1939, looking for a new beginning with his newly wedded wife and set up a house. A house my father was born in and where we lived till 1984.
While I tried looking at Chandni Chowk with the intent of culling out details with a fresh perspective, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a lot of it was nostalgia tinted. My own childhood memories plus the numerous stories I kept hearing till much later’.
Puja’s advice to upcoming designer – The 2 Ps
How do you bring home a Lai piece?
- For Lai’s US website: Click here
- For Lai’s India website: Click here
- For Lai’s Facebook: Click here
- For Lai’s Instagram: Click here
- For a list of Stockists of Lai’s jewellery across the globe: Click here.
Uncomplicated jewellery, all thanks to an uncomplicated existence.
Appreciate the sweat and the history behind the creation; Be Notjustashopper!