The last time I wrote about the jewelry designer Neha Dani was early in 2020, when COVID-19 had not yet descended on the globe and, instead, we were grieving the loss of life and precious natural resources due to a barrage of wildfires in Australia. Back then, I said her Shristi series was an “escape from the inferno;” today, her newest work has a similarly transporting, uplifting quality. Titled La Pluma, the series imagines colorful exotic birds in flight as something hopeful, poetic, and empowering. A symbol of freedom and the kind of resilience that the world is requiring of so many of us, here and abroad.
Made in titanium so that each jewel is lightweight and easy to wear, several of the seven pieces in La Pluma incorporate articulated wings and feathers, and all reveal a resplendent display of faceted and cabochon colored gemstones.
Each jewel is an abstract expression of avian forms. For example, the Pero bangle (below) is set with a cabochon amethyst specially cut to evoke the graceful shape and elegant curve of a feather.
The Loriini bracelet, named for the taxonomic classification for a parakeet, borrows its palette from the colorful bird’s plumage.
Meanwhile, the Scarlet ring does not reference a specific bird but has a wonderful animated quality, with its cocoon of windswept feathers spun around, and spiraling out from, a magnificent red Mozambican ruby.
Earlier this month, Dani unveiled La Pluma at PAD Paris, the prestigious art and design fair held in the famous Jardin des Tuileries.
“The collection of designers of the highest caliber under one roof was a great privilege for me to participate in,” she says. “The Jardin des Tuileries is an exquisite venue for an exhibition on art and design and elevates the mood to a very high aesthetic.”
Sharing her work with such a sophisticated audience was a unique pleasure: “With Paris being a center of high jewelry, the Parisian people have an instant understanding and appreciation of design and the process behind the creations,” says Dani. “In our interactions with clients, I felt that they were looking for unique pieces that display a high standard of aesthetic and craftsmanship. Amongst the La Pluma pieces, the Pavona earrings were striking to the eyes of the visitors—for the articulation, the colors and play of light that the piece displayed, especially when worn. From my other pieces, the Vaneesha necklace and the Aialik cuff were very popular and visitors came to the booth more than once to see the pieces up close. I was told several times that these designs were unlike anything the audience had seen before.”
This fall, our “fly girl” will touch down at PAD London. Maybe by then our hearts will feel a little lighter. Hope is the thing with feathers, after all.
Top: Pavona earrings in titanium with diamonds, blue and purple sapphires, tsavorite garnets, and pear-shape emerald cabochons, $46,500; Neha Dani
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