Today we have arrived in India, which is home to the resplendent Taj Mahal, which is considered among the Wonders of the World. India was once home to jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia.
Born in India, Ahluwalia left the country at the age of five, with his parents settling in Brooklyn, New York.
His teenage years were a time of self-exploration and creative experiences, and he made jewelry as a hobby.
An aspiring actor as an adult, Ahluwalia had never considered selling the jewelry he made as a hobby.
During a stay at the Hotel Raphael in Paris, the bird-mosaic tile in the bathroom transfixed him; overcome with inspiration he decided to start his jewelry line.
He collaborated with fashion designer Benjamin Cho and spent six months in Jaipur working with metalworkers to complete his line. He officially launched the House of Waris in 2005 and his first collection, called Omnia Vincit Amor (love conquers all), features a 24-karat gold and enamel bird pendant necklace that Ahluwalia named Raphael after the Parisian hotel.
Ahluwalia creates designs influenced by the history and romance of India and Italy. His designs range from the soft, delicate details of his bird and Fleur de Lis pendant necklaces to the somewhat macabre and edgy diamond encrusted skull rings and gold skull pendants.
Remaining true to his idiosyncratic design approach is central to his creations. "None of this is contrived. I'm just doing what I want to do. I'm not trying to meet some demand or fill a niché."
Click here to see Ahluwalia discuss his passion for jewelry making.
Photo 1 (top right): 24-Karat Gold and Enamel Raphael Bird Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): Diamond Skull Ring