Pieces from Tsura’s Vertebrae collection including the Chain necklaces (left) and Garnet Choker necklace (right)
While the world of fine jewellery has long been dominated by brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, there is also a growing group of young designers who are looking to break the traditional mould with avant garde designs that are more conceptual and relatable.
Tara Thadani, founder of Tsura, is one of those designers. I first saw Tara’s designs last year and was immediately attracted to its organic look and modern tribal inspiration. Born and raised in cities including Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and the UK, you can clearly see the influence of different cultures in her work. She launched the brand in 2009 and soon created a following with her clean and simple designs that still made a bold statement.
We spoke with Tara about her passion for jewellery and her latest Vertebrae collection which combines modern design with versatility, allowing women to create their own piece of bespoke jewellery.
What inspired you to become a jewellery designer?
I have always had a passion for jewellery, ever since I was a child. When I was a little girl I would get dressed and feel I needed something specific to match with my chosen outfit. I would make a necklace, a bracelet or something right then and there with my extensive bead collection! Jewellery can define a person- its adorns and embellishes any outfit. Jewellery is a unique way to express yourself.
How would you describe your style?
I find inspiration in tribal jewellery and aesthetics. I design for the tribe of people with a global nomadic lifestyle. It’s jewellery that can be worn day or night; they are converstation pieces that make you feel dressed for any occasion.
Where do you get inspiration?
Tsura takes inspiration soley from the natural world- the forests, the starry skies and even reflecting inwards at our own bodies. Also my own travels from the terraced padi fields of Bali and meditative dzongs in Bhutan to the bustle of the spice markets in Istanbul and colourful traffic in the streets of Mumbai.
How important are materials in your designs?
I hand pick every stone that is used. Before I started Tsura I did a basic gemology course in Bangkok and found so much beauty in all the stones. In fact for the first collection the stones were the first inspiration before the design. It works both ways now- sometimes I get inspired by seeing the stones and sometimes I know exactly what I am looking for. I am also doing a lot of reading on the power and properties of the different stones. Our new collection ‘Tsura Balance’ will be centred on exactly that. The first pieces from the collection are chakra prayer beads which use stones that relate to the seven different chakras.
What other jewellers inspire you?
There are so many designers out there doing amazing things. I started doing jewellery with no real market research as such- I went into this line more like an artist, just working away and designing. But last year in Istanbul, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Sevan Bicakci. His jewellery is completely on another level to what anyone else is doing. I am such a huge fan and I hope to be able to develop such a distinctive style and aesthetic with my brand. Each piece is instantly recognisable and is a one off, making it a work of art.
Out of all your designs, which one is your favourite?
I have two favourites. The first is the first piece I designed, the Tribal Sun Bangle, which symbolises what Tsura is about because it’s inspired by an old Indian tribal piece. The second piece is the individual Vertebrae charms from my latest collection. They have such a tactile nature and I love their versatility. A few can be worn on a chain, or in larger numbers they can make up a bracelet or a necklace. Each client can have a different piece of jewellery as there are many different colours and combinations to choose from.
Tell us more about the Vertebrae collection which you just launched…
It started out as an extension of my first collection and has developed into a new line, which is now my permanent collection. It was inspired by a snake skeleton. I experimented with different platings and stone colours on the vertebrae and developed a range of charms to choose from. It’s my take on the charm trend. All the vertebrae connect and make an interesting link, so you can keep collecting and create bespoke pieces. I also used the tiny vertebrae to make up long chains in silver and gold plate.
If a woman had to choose just one piece of jewellery in her wardrobe, what would you recommend?
A ring. There is just something so feminine about wearing rings on your fingers and your toes.
Vertebrae charms (above)