Bina Goenka is the creative force behind the high-end jewelry brand, a successful and preeminent creative-entrepreneur and socialite, and a leading pioneer in the jewelry fraternity. Her brand has become a synonym for luxury, beauty, exquisite craftsmanship and quality.
Goenka has always been inspired by the magnanimous glory of nature in sync with the abstract renditions of geometry, and the wonder created by the amalgamation of the two.
The designer and founder of the brand claims that jewelry purchasing is a smart investment and so Arab News had a chat with her to know how can jewelry be an investment and to know more about her and her brand.
What was it about making jewelry that first attracted you to this medium?
I come from a family of lawyers and initially followed the family’s footsteps and pursued a degree in law. Although I had this formal education, I always found that I naturally gravitated toward the creative fields where I felt more comfortable. For me, design provided a release for my creative instinct. After marrying my husband and having my two wonderful children, I devoted my time to my family and it was only once the children left India to pursue their education that I found the time to follow my own professional ambitions.
I started out by designing jewelry for my family and friends and subsequently got very positive feedback. This led me to create a business out of my growing passion.
Describe the first piece of serious jewelry that you designed and constructed. What did you think about it when you first made it? What do you think about it now?
That was 20 years ago. The way I thought then was completely out of the box – and I still think the same way. People don’t change their style; it only gets sharper and more focused over time. The piece was stunning and even after 20 years it is still relevant. This is the beauty of the design, the sense of timelessness that it imbibes and yet it has a modern edge to it. A lot of the designs we created in the initial years can be reworked and used even today. My first client still orders from me. I think that is a mark of success.
What was the most challenging piece of jewelry that you ever attempted to make?
The most unique and by far the most challenging piece of jewelry I’ve designed and made to date is GAIA for our show at India International Jewelery Week (IIJW) in April. The piece is named after the Greek Goddess Gaia, or Mother Earth, who created herself out of primordial chaos. This necklace is a tribute to the goddess within us. The necklace comprises 17,833 round and marquise diamonds, a total of 186.16 carats of white and natural yellow diamonds.
The diamond sizes range from five to 70 pointers and many smaller diamonds. It also has 180.17 carats of a combination of white South Sea pearls and white fresh water pearls. The necklace is set in 758 grams of 18K yellow gold. It was crafted over a span of 30 days, involving more than eight skilled craftsmen, who worked day and night, for over 500 hours to make this beautiful piece for our fashion show.
Where have you studied, taken classes, or generally, how have you built your knowledge base?
I have not studied design formally, but at the onset of my career and after my education was completed, I gravitated toward fields that were intrinsically design-driven. It started with the fashion genre and then by giving my creative inputs to my immediate and extended family, whilst purchasing jewelry at several occasions, I almost seamlessly slipped into the trade.
“Being an avid traveler, I have always been exposed to the fine quality and intricate designs by the world’s best jewelers and this has influenced my design and vision.
What materials and gems do you prefer to work with?
I have experimented time and time again with only one metal, the most precious to all Indians – gold. I like to explore how many faces gold can show the world and how many looks one can craft from the same metal. Of course it is a challenge, but at the same time an absolute pleasure. With regards to the gems and stones, what I use depends on what works for the design at that time.
What methods do you use to put your style, name and brand out there?
The brand Bina Goenka is all about luxury, and luxury does not scream, it whispers. The brand is multidimensional, colorful, flamboyant and each piece becomes a pleasure to wear. With most jewelry designs we often wonder if the occasion is appropriate for it and tend to relegate the role of jewelry as a highlight for the clothes. But a Bina Goenka piece is the focal point when one dresses up. This is the style of the brand, and anyone who sees a piece wants to possess it.
Who do you target in your designs?
My clients are supremely confident. She is a trendsetter. She exudes the essence of contemporary elegance but yet has a timeless appeal. She trusts me to design something to match her needs and personality.
How do you describe your designs?
The Bina Goenka brand has universal appeal, while retaining and underlining the essence of an Indian soul with a global outlook.
How do you intend women to feel when wearing your jewelry?
Any woman wearing Bina Goenka feels confident and elegant. She knows that this jewelry is a reflection of her style and will make her the cynosure of all eyes at any event. There is a confidence that comes from wearing the best.
What kind of trends do you see coming up in the jewelry design world?
Design will take center stage as we are catapulted into a world, which is more complicated, multidimensional and full of color. There are a plethora of new techniques that are yet to be explored and while we move forward with technology, hand crafted jewelry becomes a priceless rarity.
You said that buying jewelry is an investment, how so?
The importance of a piece of jewelry is not measured by the size of its diamonds and gemstones, but by the quality of the material and the craftsmanship. The pieces should be so well crafted that even 10 years later you would not want to break it and lose the value of the labor. At the same time there is a category of jewelry that you break and melt and get back the value of the diamonds and gold, minus the labor. This is not an investment.
I offer a service for my old clients where I pick up an old piece of mine if they want to sell it and create a second line of sale where they become antique pieces and are valued as antiques. It would not be possible to recreate those pieces and therefore they appreciate in value and are more expensive. So you can understand straightaway that you have made money it will fetch a price at any time without having to melt it.
What advice do you have for the jewelry-making hobbyist who wants to turn his or her skills into a professional venture?
Never give up on your vision and creativity. Stay true to yourself and rewards shall follow.
Describe to us your latest collection; what gems and materials did you use, and what inspired you?
This year I am doing an event with Gemfields, which owns all the mines that produce Zambian emeralds, Kariba rough amethyst (African) and Mozambique rubies. All my designs will revolve around these colors, as I have devoted this year to Gemfields. If you think about it, there are miners who toil daily to excavate and bring up these gemstones that have been produced by the Earth. We have to give these colored stones the prominence that they deserve in jewelry, which will in turn also benefit the miners by placing the spotlight on them.
What is your next step?
As part of our expansion plans, Bina Goenka envisions a 2013 launch in the UK and in the Middle East, where we would like to see our expansions in form of concessions, stand-alone boutiques etc. The strategy is to position ourselves on par with other international brands.
I have been an ardent admirer of the way Arab women dress, their distinct sense of style and their flamboyance. And for the past 20 years I have been told by people that that’s the place I should be... So I am looking at expanding internationally, specifically in the Middle East. Further, we will introduce sub-brands under the Bina Goenka banner, which will cater to a different sphere of the market.
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