Harvinder Kaur Keila wasn’t supposed to be a jewelry designer. “No one is an artist in my family, period,” she says. But an appreciation for the arts stemmed from her architect grandfather, who reveled in the creativity of patterns and texture, Italian architecture, and Indian history. That inspiration would grow and be applied throughout Harvinder’s journey from environmental scientist to bona fide jewelry designer. Another journey, however, that of motherhood, would really prove to help the designer find her voice.
2008. Looking for a new creative outlet, Harvinder took a silversmithing class and learned to buy raw materials, form and solder silver, bezel-set stones, design, handcraft, photograph, market, and sell handmade jewelry. Evidence that she learned well was soon to follow: Harvinder sold her first piece of jewelry in December 2008 on Etsy.
2009. Harvinder sold the first pendant she made, dubbed Winter Solstice (left), in January. It featured a bezel-set Montana agate cabochon. “I spent a lot of time making it and was very happy with the setting—it sold within three days of listing it.” And she didn’t stop there. She very much enjoyed the process thanks to the combination of her background in science and geology, the skill of working with her hands, and love of art.
2011–2012. Expecting her first child, Harvinder now had a full jewelers’ bench in her home studio. But when the baby arrived, her dedication, quite understandably, turned to her role as a new mother. “I closed my Etsy shop after my 200th sale to be a full-time mom,” she says. But the creative are always curious! “While at home with my daughter, I started studying Indian history—specifically 18th-century weaponry and armor—and found that it represented jewelry more than weaponry. How could I resist?”
Lucky for us (and our jewelry collections), resist she did not. And as it turned out, Harvinder’s knack for creativity proved to be a vital tool in her journey as a new mom, offering strength and lessons in self-love. “I was inspired to sketch the first Kaura Jewels design after having a very difficult time with my newborn. She was an extreme colic case and cried 75 percent of the day for 10 months. During this time, I neglected myself. Finally I decided I needed to create and wear something to remind myself to stay balanced.”
That first piece: the ruby Ghoda necklace (Harvinder wears it, pictured above). The pendant depicts a dagger topped with a double-headed horse hilt, decorated with diamond, ruby, and gold accents. “The flowers and wavy lines on the horses represent the wearer and their environment. The dagger reminds the wearer that once you are balanced, you will protect yourself.”
2013. Four collections later—Protection, Strength, Balance, and Clarity—Harvinder partnered with her sister-in-law, and Kaura Jewels was born. “The pieces are very meaningful to me, as they represent my journey, starting with motherhood. They are symbols, reminders, and affirmations of my personal growth, strength, and love.” The next step? Selling those creations. Harvinder was no stranger to selling her jewelry on Etsy, but as the new Kaura Jewels, she was nervous. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to answer all of my client’s questions and feared that I wouldn’t make the sale. To my surprise, the sale happened in less than 10 minutes, and I sold my two favorite everyday pieces!”
2014. Nestled among the talent of the JCK Rising Stars at the Las Vegas Design Center is Harvinder, whose Kaura Jewels booth is outfitted in walnut wood pillars, saffron-color vintage suede cloth, and—obviously and thankfully—those designs. “I chose to enter the JCK Rising Star competition based on JCK’s track record for promoting emerging jewelry designers,” she says. Which brings us to the present.
Fans of Kaura Jewels will appreciate the sleek designer touches on the jewels inspired by ancient Indian weaponry and the sheer badassness of the message they convey. “The pieces are meant to elevate, equalize, and individualize the wearer.” If you are what you wear—it can be so very true, how what we don affects the way we feel—then in one of Harvinder’s designs, you’re a warrior. Bonus for retailers: Many of the pieces—all designed and manufactured in Los Angeles—are unisex, catering to a growing demand for men’s jewelry.
Fashion-forward, standout jewels? Check. An inspiring backstory? Check again. Add those elements to the message of empowerment conveyed by designs, and you have no reason to not become a Kaura Jewels fan.
For information on the pieces pictured, please click on the images.
For more from each of the four collections, visit Kaura Jewels on JCK Marketplace.
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