By Rachael Taylor
Jewelry design can so often be hindered by limitations. What will it cost? Who will buy it? Is it too much? But for Arpita Navlakha, founder and designer of Houston-based Sutra Jewels, these are concerns for other designers.
"When I design, I envision the woman who will be wearing Sutra jewelry: she is confident, stylish, well-poised and the all-round quintessential modern woman," says Navlakha, who was not only born into a family of jewelers but went on to marry into another before creating her own brand. "Her taste is extremely refined and she is exquisitely accessorized with an undeniable uniqueness. The same theory holds true for my jewels when they stand alone."
For a brand named after a set of scriptures, Sutra jewelry is certainly not beholden to any sort of rule book, and Navlakha's insistence on never imposing constraints on her creativity has produced some seriously showstopping fine jewels. At Sutra, the scale is always supersized and the use of gemstones, which really are the life force of all Sutra designs, is utterly lavish.
"Once I decide on a focal point of the pieces, which is typically a large, bold colored stone that may or may not hold a natural shape, I create symmetry around it," says Navlakha. "I gravitate toward opals and Paraiba tourmalines. I love to create with them. When I work with Paraiba it takes me back to the Maldives, a place that is very special to my family and me."
The confidence and opulence of Navlakha's jewels make them ideal for the red carpet, and as such Sutra has picked up quite a few famous fans, from pop to politics. US First Lady Michelle Obama regularly dons the brand's shoulder-grazing gemstone earrings for official events, while Taylor Swift wore sapphire Sutra jewels for a shoot in Billboard magazine when she was named its Woman of the Year 2014.
Navlakha is constantly scouring the globe for new developments in gemstones that will help her to set trends, not follow them. She reveals that her latest Sutra jewelry collection, currently still in the design stages and due for release next year, will not only make women look beautiful but feel great too through mood-altering properties.
Beautiful jewels that lift the spirits - could we ask for more?
Arpita Navlakha, founder and designer of Houston-based Sutra Jewels.
Sutra earrings with Paraiba tourmalines and rose-cut diamonds in white gold.
Sutra earrings with emeralds and diamonds in black gold.
Sutra earrings with Colombian emeralds and canary yellow diamonds in yellow gold.
Sutra ruby bead tassel earrings with Burmese rubies and rose-cut diamonds in black gold.
Sutra diamond earrings in white gold.
Sutra ring set with a Paraiba tourmaline and rose-cut diamonds, encircled by a diamond halo, in white gold.
Sutra sapphire and diamond cocktail ring in white gold.