CHHATRALA JEWELS: AN EMERGING FAMILY LEGACY
It all began in 2006, when Kunwarani Sushila Kumari requested Maharani Sahiba of Jodhpur to permit her a small jewellery curation table at the palace store of Umaid Bhawan. Her inherent knack for pickling quality pieces and aesthetics led to Kunwarani Sushila Kumari’s pieces selling out one after the other. This initial success under Maharani Sahiba’s patronage further inspired her to lay the foundations for her very own jewellery brand, which she showcased via frequent exhibitions in her home. The sheer joy of creating new jewellery pieces, coupled with her attention to detail increased her brand’s popularity so much so, that in 2010, Chhatrala Jewels earned a store of its own and there has been no looking back since.
Rajputana Collective is delighted to showcase the entrepreneurial journey of Kunwarani Sushila Kumari’s Chhatrala Jewels as told by her younger daughter, Prakriti. “They say sharing knowledge is the only way to give something without losing anything- that is the goal of Chhatrala as a brand. We want to share our deep understanding of Rajasthani jewellery with the world”, Prakriti in her introduction of her mother’s jewellery design legacy.
Taking inspiration from vintage motives and the natural world, Chhatrala Jewels carries forth generational aesthetics and breathes present-day relevance into it. The art of doing so is certainly a gift inherited by only a few, and Kunwarani Sushila Kumari hones her gift by adorning it on the distinct silhouettes of her clients. Chhatrala Jewels’ distinct selection of palettes, the intricacy of their thread work and meenakari collectively make them stand out from their contemporaries, even to the layperson who bears little knowledge of the craft.
An interesting contrast made by Kunwarani Sushila Kumari’s brand is the way it stands apart geographically from the mainstream jewellers’ hub of Jaipur. In this regard, Prakriti comments, “Today we have between 10-15 artisans that we work with in Jodhpur, but this road was an uphill task, as Jaipur as a city has always thrived with artisans and availability of stones. Here in Jodhpur, we are lucky to find people who are malleable with their design aesthetic. It was a collaborative growth with us paving the way for pieces that are more visually appealing. In return, the artisans imparted their wisdom on how this can be achieved”.
Another aspect that she highlights is the immense knowledge that Jodhpuri karigars carry for traditional jewellery, another rarity in today’s world.
Not only does their design style focus on luxury, but they utilise their technical knowledge to maximise comfort as well.
Speaking of developing Chhatrala’s signature style, Prakriti mentions that the traditional Timaniya bridal Rajasthani necklace is their largest selling style, alongside other traditional Rajasthani wedding jewellery.
Even though this particular genre isn’t their signature style, Chhatrala’s ancestral legacy helps them retain a fair understanding of the concept. Other popular pieces that remain in demand are the mehri, chand-suraj headpieces and naths, especially the newer designs created by Chhatrala.
Unlike larger jewellery giants, Chhatrala’s unique pieces are far from being mass-manufactured. Every hand-crafted piece created by them is done so after fully understanding the particular customer’s personal needs and choices. “We are inspired by the people of the past, the style and quality of bespoke jewellery we haven’t been seeing today. The grandmothers and great-grandmothers who designed pieces to pass on to their children, the karigars of a time when professional education was non-existent but creativity was alive and thriving. An era that produced some of the most gorgeous jewellery pieces we still try to learn from”, says Prakriti in a concluding statement.
Chhatrala Jewels is a family-owned jewellery label based out of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. All images and content are the sole property of Chhatrala Jewels. Rajputana Collective claims no copyright over any content represented herewith. All opinions belong solely to the person(s) featured and the article has been drafted in the best interest of the featured brand.