Belgian transplant and jewelry designer Apeksha Mehta, the force behind Design by Auro, displays her love of math in geometric-inspired styles.
Apeksha Mehta of Design by Auro
Headquarters: New York City
Year firm launched: August 2012
Signature style: “My jewelry designs tend to be fairly geometric with symmetry and/or a certain aspect of balance. This is because at university, I was a mathematics and physics major, so that technical aspect of my personality is clearly visible in my jewelry. A lot of my inspiration comes from the mysteries of our physical world, ranging from our entire solar system to minuscule atoms and molecules.
“Another signature look in our jewelry is perpetual motion or flow, which you can see in our gradient of colors, wave, and rotating movement of the spheres within the design. I feel like this makes our jewelry look less stationary and enables it to come alive when worn.”
Training, education, and design process: “I’ve been officially involved in the designing process for two years now, but unofficially, I’ve looked at and sketched designs for as long as I can remember, helping my parents with their jewelry company. My parents moved to Belgium from India to start a jewelry company more than 30 years ago. And though jewelry has been a part of my entire life, whether it was through our family business or my Indian culture, it was not the path I envisioned for myself during my high school years. After completing a university degree in physics and mathematics, I joined an investment bank in London. But after a year and half of PowerPoint presentations, financial valuations, and almost no weekends off, I realized this was not a career I was passionate about at all. I left London for a tiny village in Rajasthan, India, where I interned at an NGO for 6 months. While doing this, I had the opportunity to clear my head and rediscover myself, and with new energy and motivation I returned to my family in Belgium to figure out my next step.
“I started going to my parents’ jewelry office almost as soon as I was back in Belgium. It was only a matter of time until I got completely involved in almost every aspect, and I started looking at designs, working with manufacturers on the production side, as well as maintaining our scheduled deliveries and helping out with sales.
“I never formally learned or trained in any aspect of jewelry, I simply witnessed and experienced it. To quote Julius Caesar: ‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’
“I started working on my own design for Design by Auro about seven months ago, and with my parents’ wisdom and my husband’s help, launched it in New York City at the end of August 2012. I sketch designs, select material, stones, and colors, then work with my manufacturers in Italy to create the jewelry, which is half cast and half fabricated.”
Materials of choice: “We work mainly in sterling silver and 18k gold. Our initial collections will feature a lot of color, using enamel coloring as well as colored pearls. Our plan is definitely to expand into a lot of colored gemstones and producing a shading effect with colored diamonds.”
Starting retail price: “My first collection is in entirely in sterling silver and enamel with a starting retail price of $65.”
Retailer buy-in: “Although we don’t demand a minimum buy-in right now, we suggest that each retailer select at least 15 pieces of a collection—around $1,500–$2000—for a good representation of the designs and colors.”
Accounts: “None yet.”
Jewelry trade show exhibits: “The SMART Show in Dallas and JIS Show in Miami Beach.”