Designers / Industry

How I Got Here: Nidhi Dangayach on Jumping Heart First Into Diamonds


There are people who are impulsive, running with the first idea they have. Then there are the equally creative dreamers such as Nidhi Dangayach, who has not only a Plan A but Plans B, C, and D ready to roll.

That’s not to say that Dangayach, founder of D2C jewelry brand Verlas, hasn’t experienced failure. Rather, it’s that Dangayach came from a family where anything was possible, women were empowered, and boldness was the ultimate reward.

Dangayach grew up around the diamond trade, learning about jewelry from her father. He taught his daughters everything he could about the business from how to loop to how to cut a diamond. The one thing her parents never did was push her into one field or any decision—they wanted their children to explore their options, Dangayach says.

Verlas Butterfly Cluster Necklace
The Butterfly Cluster necklace ($549) is one of Verlas’ best sellers. It allows customers to create their own look with metal and diamond clarity choices, which they can then view online via 3D technology.

“They made sure my sister and I grew up fearless,” Dangayach says. “We believed we could achieve anything if we put our hearts to it. There was no gender bias of what was possible. They’d never say no. They always approached our ideas with curiosity, asking things like, ‘Why?’ and ‘What’s your plan?’ It made us extremely confident and very determined.”

For example, if Dangayach wanted her own telephone, she had to present her parents with a whole financial plan for its purchase as well as the investment opportunities within that industry, she recalls. These kinds of moments taught Dangayach that her own understanding of a topic depended on her research capabilities and her instincts.

With belief in herself, Dangayach says she tried everything put in her path from academic competitions—slayed them—to college explorations to career choices. She even bungee-jumped…but only after thinking through every possible outcome.

As a student in India, she excelled at math at St. Teresa’s Convent High School, so she went into that subject and statistics as part of her Bachelor of Science degree at St. Xavier’s College. During those years, the academically minded Dangayach even tried theater, something that might seem outside her comfort zone but has become a passion from college through today.

Verlas Viola Blossom Studs
Customers can try a variety of Verlas products—including its customizable Viola blossom studs—at home with cubic zirconia and then order the real deal with diamonds ($836).

Her first job at Ogilvy gave her experience as a project manager, learning how to work with a team and stay with a project from start to finish. She continued in project management at a variety of companies, moving to New York to serve as head of marketing for diamond-jewelry manufacturer H.K. Designs. There, she studied consumer insights and market trends—something that led her to think about starting her own business.

“I learned so many things but one of them was there is no amount of planning that will cover every eventuality. You cannot ensure success or seamless moments. But planning ahead allows for a cushion that lets you move onto Plan B,” Dangayach says.

She and cofounder Nityani Riziya launched Verlas in 2019 as a direct-to-consumer fine jewelry company, seeking to give consumers the best in technology so they could learn about diamonds from their home and feel confident they were buying the best they could, Dangayach says.

Verlas Cherished Vows
Customization in rings, such as this five-stone Cherished Vows piece, allows Verlas’ customers to come up with a look they love and understand its quality because of the easy-to-select online process, says cofounder Nidhi Dangayach ($1,236). 

“When I started doing my own research, I saw some obvious gaps in the luxury space. From a sellers’ standpoint, it was a male-dominated industry. From the buyers’ standpoint, there often felt like there were too many variables to deal with and jargon,” Dangayach says. “Buyers tended to rely on trusted local jewelers or higher-end jewelers that had enough authenticity based on years in business.… I thought, ‘Why should buying high-quality jewelry be so difficult?’”

Transparency was always the goal, Dangayach says, resulting in the brand’s 3D-viewing technology and services such as Try at Home and Upgrades & Buy Backs, letting the best of e-commerce boost consumer confidence in the brand and its products. The upgrade service gives customers the choice to swap their jewelry or return it at 100% value for a new piece.

“We’re trying to build up every aspect of the business around what shoppers want,” Dangayach says.

Top: Former ad agency exec Nidhi Dangayach cofounded Verlas in 2019 as a way to give consumers confidence in buying diamonds online and creating custom pieces through its tech-friendly website. (Photos courtesy of Verlas)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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