In June 2013, Priyanka Murthy’s two worlds of law—she was a practicing lawyer for a federal jurist on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals—and jewelry, her passion, collided.
The Jacksonville, Fla.–based jewelry designer and founder of Arya Esha was helping her employer research and write opinions for court that are ultimately appealed to and reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States, otherwise known as SCOTUS.
“I was following Windsor—the first same-sex marriage case that lay the groundwork for the recent decision—like a hawk not just because it was my job, but also because my background in international and domestic human rights law compelled me to do so,” explains Murthy, who debuted her firm this year at JCK Las Vegas as a Rising Star. “In my opinion, equality for same-sex couples is and was the single most important domestic human rights issue of our time. I read Justice Kennedy’s opinion on Windsor from cover to cover.”
A little background: Kennedy is the swing vote—considered the most influential vote—on the court and “has authored all the major decisions regarding LGBTQ rights leading up to this decision,” adds Murthy. “He got the ball rolling in 2003 with Lawrence v. Kansas, then moved it further along with Windsor and hit the goal with this one!”
The aspiring jewelry designer was so inspired by Kennedy’s opinion that she sketched out the Windsor pendant on a yellow legal pad at her desk. It was the first non-custom piece she ever made.
“The pragmatist in me knew that though Windsor was a great win, it was not enough,” she continues. “I went ahead and made the pendant but didn’t ever try to sell it, because it felt almost incomplete since we did not have true equality. Last Friday that all changed. I am elated, and I guess the pendant expresses my elation in a way words can’t.”
This piece remains in Murthy’s private collection and may get more wear now in light of SCOTUS’ historic decision to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide.
The silhouette isn’t exactly recognizable—“it is no standard shape, just what I felt spoke to me,” she says—but can be replicated and ordered since the gemstones like amethyst, ruby, and more, are attainable. Made in 14k recycled gold, the style retails for $1,300.
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