She is the go to person when any top bollywood director wants some authentic jewellery to be designed for his film. Her creations have adorned several royal napes and she designed jewellery for some of the world’s most beautiful women including Lady Diana and Aishwarya Rai. She launched her line in 1988, a time when the concept of designer jewellery was unheard in India; in face of acute cynicism she has carved a niche for herself as one of the most recognized jewellery designers of India. She is women entrepreneur, eminent jewellery designer and the brain behind Art Karat – Asha Kamal Modi.
Asha is in town for the launch of her RAASLEELA collection this Sunday. This collection includes a beautiful range of necklaces, long earrings, bracelets, bajubandhs, tikas, rings and pins. More than 700 designs have been created for this collection and the entire range is priced between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 1,00,000 & above and here is what happened when she talked to Tiger.
Hello Asha. Thank you for your time. Shall we start?
Thank you Tiger. I am ready.
Where were you born? Tell me about your childhood.
I was born in Old Delhi, in an orthodox Marwari family. I had a rough childhood since I lost my mother at a very early stage. I was the only daughter and in a house where women’s education was not a priority it was my mother’s conviction to put me in a convent.
What and where did you study?
I did my high school from Presentation Convent and college from IP college. I have no formal training in jewellery design or gemology.
What were your dreams like when you were as a kid?
I always wanted to do something creative with my life. I was married into the Modi family from Modi nagar an Industrial House where women were not allowed to work. I started making jewellery for my family members as a hobby, I never dreamt that it would become such a big business.
That is wonderful. Tell me about what you do.
It was 1988, a time when gold was the only metal considered worthy of wearing as an ornament. I came up with an idea to make jewellery on silver that is so beautiful that women loose the irrational obsession with gold and wear jewellery for its beauty and not its intrinsic worth. It’s been a long journey but I always knew that this is the future.
How did you come up with the name Art Karat?
Art Karat, has the initials A and K which are mine and my husband Kamal’s initials. My husband has been my inspiration, my strongest supporter and my guiding force. Another reason of naming my brand Art Karat is because in my jewellery Carats measure sheer creativity and art.
Tell me your best experience after you started Art Karat.
When I was approached by Sanjay Leela Bhansali to make jewellery for Devdas, and after the release when it was applauded by people across the globe.
I am a trained gemologist and have been felicitated with the President’s award for design, the FICCI 2005 award and the prestigious Best Designer Accolade by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, among many other recognitions.
You are quite popular in bollywood. Can you share what you have done?
My creations cater to a wide canvas of both traditional and western tastes, blending majestically with whatever a woman wears. I have designed jewellery for more than 10 bollywood blockbusters some of which include movies like ‘Devdas’, Monsoon Wedding’, ‘Kamasutra’, Zubeida and recently released Ram-leela.
What do you try to convey in your work?
It is my deep-rooted sensitivity of being a woman and I try to bring in a lot of creative thought process to retain the authenticity of the concept yet being out the simple intricacies that make my work appealing to the connoisseurs and commoners alike.
What is your inspiration?I draw my inspiration from the basic elements of nature together with the rich Indian heritage, studying its changing moods and traditions. Each of my designs is different in style, mood and craftsmanship, made to perfection by some of India‘s finest artisans.
What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
The main USP of my jewellery is that it looks ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. I strive to create each and every design a masterpiece. To achieve this I use pure silver and stud it only with precious gemstones. Also I commission master craftsmen who for ages only made jewellery on gold, thus achieving the level of craftsmanship it deserves.
I know you have world wide recognition and clientele. Can you share some of them?
Some of my most influential clients are Lady Diana, Maharani Gayatri Devi Jaipur, Shekha Shamma – Crown Princess of UAE, Queen Rania of Jordan, Nita Ambani, Rekha & Aishwarya Rai.
What are your plans for the future? Say next five years?
I have already established my business in India, USA, UK, Canada, Singapore and Australia. My next foray will be in the Middle East. I also plan to open 10 stores in the next year across India.
Tell me about your family.
My husband Kamal Modi has been the guiding force behind Art Karat. My daughter Shivani takes care of my precious jewellery business and My son Saket Modi has taken over the entire business operations within India and overseas.
A quote that influenced you?
“Success comes to those who believe in it the most and the longest.”
The Raasleela Collection shall be on display from 24th to 28th August (Monday to Thursday) 11am – 7pm. For more information on the designs and collection: www.artkarat.com