Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We are in Delhi, India today taking an interesting journey through the Jantar Mantar observatory. Built by Raja Jai Singh II nearly three centuries ago, the unique observation post houses astronomical devices structured from lime, and marble.

The largest device being a giant sundial called the Samrat Yantra (Supreme Instrument). India is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Manju Jasty.

In another post I spoke of how fascinating it is to witness the path of destiny playing out in someone's life. I stated how intriguing it is to observe the manner in which life experiences can bring a person to a particular place at a particular point in time.

Raised in a country overflowing with spectacular architecture, art, and needlework, it is no wonder that Jasty's career path ultimately veered towards jewelry design. Even the meaning of Jasty's first name, "jewel box" revealed her life's destiny. Jasty, however, first explored other interests.

A graduate of New York University's Stern School of Business, Jasty enjoyed a successful, 10-year career working as an investment banker for Barclays Capital. Nevertheless, the sumptuous ornaments of her homeland were never far away. In fact, in her spare time she spent hours deconstructing and reconstructing heirlooms she owned.

She then began to make personal items once a year, which drew admiring gazes from friends, family, and colleagues. This pastime led Jasty to seriously consider a change in careers.

"Though my personal style is considerably toned down in comparison, inspiration for my work comes from the architecture of Indian palaces, and elaborate textiles," she says. "The maharajas bejeweled every part of their bodies, and their houses, even their weapons were studded with emeralds and rubies."

Working with 18-karat yellow gold, Tahitian and South Sea pearls, rubies, diamonds, and Japanese coral, Jasty creates elegant jewelry.

Though only a few pieces are featured on her website, the items are a blend of contemporary and traditional aesthetics with sparkling pavé diamonds, or a cluster of another breathtaking stone providing texture, gravity, and color.

In 2005, a chance meeting with Barneys New York's fashion director and VP, Julie Gilhart, provided the stepping-stone Jasty needed for exposure. She subsequently sold a small collection to the retailer and never looked back.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Peacock Bangle with Pave Diamonds
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Cylindrical Band with Rose Cut Diamonds
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