“Jewellery reminds me of a smile, dream, memory and a celebration of success”
The beauty of Kajal Naina’s work underlines the power of its inspiration, derived from history, culture and ethnicity of the country of its birth. A study in contradictions and juxtapositions, Kajal works with equal measures of creativity and ethnic technicalities to her work, creating pieces that find definition in both timelessness and contemporary style.
After working as a dentist for a decade, Kajal went on to obtain professional degrees in jewellery design and fashion jewellery, became a graduate pearl specialist, and received numerous certifications in metalsmithing, metal clay, and jewellery making. “I always aspired to be an artist since childhood,” recalls Kajal.
Growing up, Kajal explored jewellery from various countries and cultures in the international market but couldn’t find jewellery which would represent her as a modern Nepali woman.
She was finding it hard to find jewellery that had connection with the ethnic root and at the same time complemented the modern woman. “I have always been drawn to things that sparkle. The jewellery should represent who I am and this is what was missing in the designs then,” shares the designer.
If we even look at the jewellery trend a decade back it was often witnessed that women ended up wearing jewellery that did not match their personality. They would wear it occasionally but would hesitate to make it a part of their everyday wear.
With the changing time, Kajal’s bespoke jewellery blends unique design with meaningful stories for a worldwide clientèle. Jewellery today is all about being bespoke, it is more a reflection of the customer’s personality, she observes.
Born and raised in Nepal, she has lived in India, Singapore, Japan and now lives in Hong Kong with her husband and daughters.
Being a Hongkong based brand started by a Nepali which has attracted the attention of not only Nepalis from worldwide but also people from different cultures, Kajal Naina Fine Jewellery, courts the modern women, someone who doesn’t mind paying global prices for luxurious designs. “My wearable art pieces are an investment and pass a beautiful memory along,” she smiles.
What is Kajal Naina as a brand known for, we ask. “Many know KN as the go to brand for mangalsutra, but in fact many of my work helps to introduce Nepal to the world with the many international awards that I have won in this short span of four years as a jewellery designer,” she says. Kajal has successfully established an international platform that has been the foundation for a few of the recent Nepali jewellery trends. Not only do her pieces embody a modern elegance but they also inspire meaning along with beauty which is what sets them apart.
Kajal first designed a mangalsutra for Nepali actor Priyanka Karki. “Priyanka approached me to design mangalsutra that was elegant, modern but still proudly flaunted her personality. And thus, the Maya mangalsutra evolved,” Kajal shares. Considered an essential part of North India’s culture, Mangalsutra in the Nepali market emerged as a trend only a few years back, and much credit goes to Kajal’s designs. Her Maya mangalsutra was immensely loved by people. “It was a great motivation for me. The demand it created led me to launch my first mangalsutra series,” she says. Today Kajal’s client base spreads across continents.
“The designs were an instant hit. It was sold out within 14 days of its launch,” rejoices Kajal. Clearly, the mangalsutra series became Kajal’s turning point. “These best-selling art pieces are very dear to me because it encapsulates my DNA while trying to integrate the Nepali aspects of the product,” she says. Kajal’s brand has become synonymous with unique and meaningful Mangalsutras. The evolution is such that it has been a mandatory jewellery piece among many modern women. “It has become a valuable which celebrates a lifetime of love between two people; a visual promise of devotion and a reminder of one’s promise of a forever commitment,” she adds.
The popularity of her trendsetting mangalsutra designs was such that it resulted in several replicas- some similar, some inspired and some tried to make exact copies. “These replicas often remind me how loved my designs are,” Kajal laughs.
Overjoyed with the response from the first collection, Kajal has recently released the Mangalsutra 2.0- a collection inspired by the role of puja in every wedding in Nepali culture. As Kajal says her jewelry is for the modern women rooted in tradition. “The response in the first few days of the launch has been overwhelming and selling out just like the first collection,” she shares.
There are six designs in the new collection and named Diya, Pushpa, Sakshi and Ful Mala which
will not only compliment your beauty but also add meaning to your jewellery. KN Mangalsutra aims to
help women to define love and marriage in their own way and find a balance between culture and life in the modern world.
All her designs have functionality in common. Kajal says that it was her mother, who taught her the importance of creating value. The designer believes in keeping things as classic and timeless as possible. “I don’t believe in fast fashion. All my designs can be worn as classics and passed down to generations,” says the designer, who draws inspiration from all that she sees and experiences: from sky and stars to culture and people.
Talking about how social media plays a vital role in today’s times, Kajal says, “The platform has definitely helped me to reach customers from across the globe.”
The award-winning designer has not only coined her name in the jewellery industry within a short span of four years but also has introduced several Nepali elements on a global stage, namely Laligurans, Vajra, Navaratna etc. These designs with a uniquely modern approach have been turning heads nationally and internationally.