Ask the designer about her inspiration, and pat comes the reply, “Learning about old jewellery techniques and designs from my six generation jewellery heritage and trying to apply that to new designs inspires and challenges me every day and encourages me to do something new each day. Not to mention my Indian roots and connections to my family jewellery background, which is quite strong and has inspired me from the moment I started to take jewellery design seriously.”
An absolute woman at heart, Parson too finds colourful gems as irresistible. “To me the most difficult aspect of the jewellery creation process has been to resist from purchasing every gorgeous coloured gemstone that I review and stay-in-scope with what I need at the time of the design. I simply love tourmalines, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, rhodolite, iolite, rubelite and the list goes on,” says Parson with a mischievous shine in her eyes. Talking about her choice of metal and stones, she says, “I design mostly in yellow gold from 10KT to 22KT. My Indian roots have taught me the value of gold and I find it a quite luxurious metal to design with. I mostly enjoy designing with touramline carved and faceted, multi-colored sapphires, rhodolite, iolite, emeralds, and diamonds, as I love colours.”
To begin with, we talk to her about her most recent collection, and she has a story to share. “A recent collection that I am very excited about is my Jumki Tassel Collection. Though the name is very Indian, women in Paris are my inspiration for the same. I was fascinated by the pendant necklaces that the French women wore. I did my research and learned that the term Cotiere means eleborate long chain with pendant worn in France in the 16th century. Once my concept started to materialise, I began the sketching stage. I am trying to combine my eastern traditional design sense to my western style that would add uniqueness to the brand.”
Her designs are her babies, be it a tiny pendant or a lavish, heavy jewellery set. “Upon completing my collection renderings, I begin the process of simultaneously sourcing gemstones with my wholesalers and reviewing the designs with my Karigars in Jaipur. At each stage of the jewelry making process, I sit with my Karigars to approve each stage from the model to stone-setting to polishing. I inspect each piece for the highest quality before it is ready for sale to my clients,” says the dedicated designer.
See her going down the memory lane and recall her childhood days with a faint smile as we ask her about her debut into the jewellery industry. “My interest in jewellery design peaked during my childhood summer’s in Kolkata, India. I would sit with my late-grandfather and learn from him about jewellery design and making. He influenced me a lot and my parents were my greatest support. I learnt so much from my grandfather,but the invaluable lesson he taught me was to be shrewd and not to compromise your business ethics. Decades later, I was ready to follow my dreams and design my first collections and open the heritage brand for business in January 2011.”
She received a bachelor of arts with a double major in communication and political science from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Following this, she went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York city to study the Jewellery Design and Studio Programme. In addition, she also has a Diamond Grading certificate from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Parson has had a successful career working at some of the well established jewellery and fashion brands in the US like—David Yurman, Liz Clairborne, and Calypso. “My positions ranged from working in sales to global sourcing to e-commerce marketing in these companies. “It gave me a solid understanding and foundation on how to run a jewellery company. I travelled to China and Hong Kong to work directly with the jewellery manufacturers, negotiating costs, and developing jewellery. The fast-pace work at these companies and the jet-setting lifestyle prepared me first-hand for my own jewellery development in India for the Madhuri Parson collections,” shares Parson.
Just like her creations, her clients too are special. Ask her about a woman who would prefer a Madhuri Parson piece, and she says, “I try to design for the international woman, who is well-educated, has a strong sense of self and appreciates individual uniqueness. Her discerning style is not defined by one culture, but by a blend of cultures.”
The little young girl from Jaipur comes out, as one asks Madhuri about her celeb status. “I pinch myself often to see if it’s a dream or reality. I feel blessed to design jewellery and make someone else feel happy with my creations.”
Queen Rania of Jordan and late Elizabeth Taylor are her muse. “While Queen Rania is quite elegant, Taylor was a fantastic style icon, she had an innate sense of style for jewellery. Her jewellery collections are one of the most vast and extraordinary pieces that I’ve ever seen,” says a wide-eyed Parson.
Among her creations, she holds her peacock creation pretty close to her heart. “The Grand Peacock necklace took approxmiately 15 days, while the Grand Peacock earrings took almost 10 days. My karigar worked non-stop to complete the set. It was quite an affair to start the making as it required precise details sketched on to graph paper so that we could calculate the exact number of beads required without incurring further wastage costs. In the end, the set is magnificent and is certainly a Madhuri Parson signature piece.”
Though jewellery designing defines Parson, there is another aspect to her as well. Revealing the same, she says, “I like to travel and I am an avid runner. I ran my first marathon in Honolulu, Hawaii, and participated in a sprint triathlon in Napa Vally, California. In the winter, I enjoy going to the mountains and snowboarding. But spending quality time with my family and friends trumps all.”
About her future projects, Parson shares, “I will begin sketching my new collection, which will entail bright colors and geometric shapes. I will keep the rest of the details a surprise.”
Herself a jewellery designer, Prason is an admirer of many jewellery brands. “Recently I’ve been admiring a beautiful creation by Chanel called Comete. The designer beautifully designed necklace with constellation of stars,” says she. While she suggests the budding designer to stay true to themselves, for her future, she has plans for bringing a non-profit angle into her business by giving back to the karigars in a way that allows them to continue making hand-crafted beautiful jewellery.
A distinct feature of the Madhuri Parson brand is that any of the pieces do not bear the logo or the barnd name, ask why, and she says, “I purposely chose not to brand them as I wanted to honour the way my ancestors in India designed jewellery and sold jewellery to clients. The focus is on the craftsmanship and the design encapsulates the brand.”