Best Of The Best 2006: Indian Passages
The designs of fourth-generation Indian jeweler Viren Bhagat are influenced by his country’s rich jewelry heritage, but they also are contemporary enough to appeal to India’s newly minted tycoons. His one-of-a-kind pieces are available in his Mumbai boutique and often appear at Christie’s auctions.
Bhagat’s influences range from the Mughal decorative arts and traditional Indian symbols, textiles, and temple friezes to sleek Art Deco forms. Many designs, such as floral earrings made of flat petal-shaped diamonds devoid of facets and accented with bright ruby centerpieces, express an unexpected simplicity. Even his most elaborate creations present a sense of lightness. Among such pieces is a five-row choker with nearly 100 flat diamonds that hang like droplets of water.
Bhagat draws from his country’s rich gem supply, both recently mined and period stones. He is particularly fond of India’s old Golconda and flat-cut portrait diamonds, as well as ruby, sapphire, and emerald beads.