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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

JWB’s Exclusive Rendezvous With Pallavi Foley, Celebrity Jewelry Designer

  • JWB Post
  •  December 21, 2015


If you were a piece of jewelry, what would it be?

“I’d be an uncut diamond – something that has a lot of potential, and something whose beauty lies in its unseen shapes and cuts.”

These are the words of one of India’s leading jewelry designers, Pallavi Foley, who is famous for her eclectic and modern creations, and who, by her admission, thinks in jewelry.

We caught her off-guard at the 13th edition of the Jaipur Jewelry Show which is on in full swing and splendid grandeur in our dearest Pink City! She was amongst the intelligentsia that addressed the gathering of students and scholars at the Jaipur Design Festival, Jewelry Edition.


Before I take you through the excerpts from my little tête-à-tête with her, let me make an utterly honest confession. I was nervous… nervous of the big fat celebrity status nose that I thought I was going to witness. But the way the rendezvous with Pallavi progressed, dispelled all my apprehensions in a puff of dust! Read.

Me: I’ve stalked you a bit last night and owing to that, I can safely proclaim myself as a new-found fan of your work! How did it all start?


Pallavi*With a gracious stance and a humble smile* I started out as an accessory-designing student at NIFT. Back then, I was exploring my creativity, and working on a lot of projects, which is when I landed myself a job offer from Tanishq. My job took me places. I traveled a lot, I kept meeting new people, and so, my experiences continued furthering my flame and love for jewelry designing.


Having worked for more than a decade in the field, responding to the innate desire of starting something of my own was only a natural progression. And so came into existence, my label – Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels, and it has been five years since.

Me: Wow! So, what has been your muse, your ultimate inspiration, all through these years?


Pallavi: *Without a flinch, and with absolute conviction, she answered almost instantaneously* It is my love for jewelry. It is my passion. It is the fact that the Indian design and art is fantastic, and the fact that I, as a designer, can contribute to enhancing it even more. That keeps me going!


Me: Hmmm. And which jewel of yours would you give the stature of being your favorite?


Pallavi: Actually, the neckpiece that I am wearing is one of my absolute favorites. This also won me the Saulbell Design Award.

Me: Undoubtedly, it is gorgeous! So, what makes it so special?

Pallavi: You know, my father constructs apartments. So, I have been brought up in an environment where there has always been a focus on three-dimensionality. I think that is where I hail the 3D perspective in my creativity and designs.

So, if you carefully observe this piece that I am wearing, you’ll notice that it is very modern and three-dimensional. It is not flat.


This is also something that I always tell my students… Be fearless, be fluid when you design. Consider your pieces as not just jewelry, but almost as pieces of art and sculpture. Tell you a secret?

Me: Sure, but I’m not sure if I’ll keep it.

Pallavi: *Smiles* Be it any creative profession, the secret to success lies in being fearless.

And that, is a takeaway truth, dear artists!


Me: My little research on you also informs me well that your designs are widely cherished and adorned by Bollywood celebrities! Let’s talk about their approach towards jewelry, shall we?

Pallavi: Celebrities like to pick things that are bigger in size and scale. They want to make public appearances wearing pieces that will make them stand out. But, at the same time, the jewelry they select is also based on the outfit they are carrying, their persona, and their personal style statement, of course.

Me: No wonder they always twinkle like the stars! Jokes apart. Tell me about your fondest memory, a reminiscence that never fails to bring a smile on your face?


And there was her infectious smile again!

Pallavi: There was this one instance where I was designing the Femina Miss India crowns. So, as a part of the study that I do before I sit down to create something, I spoke with former Miss Indias. One of them was Nafisa Joseph, who is no longer alive. I still remember the vibrant woman that she was! She told me, ‘It’s the most amazing moment ever! Make it most glamorous!’. 

And then came the judgment day. To finally see the women winning the pageant, to see all of the happiness in the world culminate on their faces as they wore the crowns, was a moment of realization for me! Realization… that this feeling of enhancing someone’s life is the most beautiful thing, for which, I knew I wanted to work as hard as possible.

Not breaking eye contact for even a second, I continued observing her joyous emotions as she spoke… 


Pallavi: … Some time back there was this client who wanted me to design a ring with which he would propose his fiance. The couple still addresses me with so much joy as ‘You’re the girl who designed our ring!’ It’s like I’m a part of their lives!

Me: I can imagine how immensely gratifying a feeling that must be! But I’m sure there must be a set of challenges and pressures in this field. Tell me about them?

Pallavi: The biggest challenge is that the inventory and investment costs are very high. So, experimenting is always loaded with a lot of risks since we’re dealing with high-value products.


Me: Lastly, I would like you to define your perception of the modern Indian woman.

Pallavi: I believe that the modern Indian woman is someone who is essentially rooted in traditions, but is also not fearful of making her traditions. She is strong, she is creative, she is ready to take on the world and redefine it!

On that empowering note, I thanked Pallavi and took my leave. This woman, just like her designs, is a powerful breath of fresh air that is not afraid of blowing swiftly in the face of all the hurdles that come her way. 

Picture Courtesy: Pallav Bhargava

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