Reena Ahluwalia would definitely be on our short list of women we admire. This women has won awards for being a top jewelry designer, made jewels and we mean JEWELS for royalty (Kate Middleton's tiara to be exact) and on of top maintaining her thriving life as a jeweler she is also what she has coined - a jeweler who paints. We fell first in love with her artwork, which beautifully captures the scintillation and depths of diamonds and how they arrest our imagination and minds. We recently caught up with her to learn about her career and life philosophy which did not disappoint. Take some cues ladies and get started living life to the fullest.
So you are an amazing renaissance women: artist, jeweler, & inspiration! Tell us your background how did you end up here?
I'm a hands-on person and was always fascinated by materials and symbolism. I would always be creating, drawing, sketching and playing around with whatever came in front of me, whether it was wood, metal or scrap. Besides this, growing up in India had a lot to do with it – I was surrounded by fascinating assortment of Indian jewelry, symbolism and concepts of ornamentation. Interactions such as these would later led me towards following my artistic passion and jewelry-making as a profession. My design philosophy is shaped by these unique experiences and are rooted in my Indian heritage, as well as my proud Canadian values.
Soon after, I graduated from India's top design and art school, I was fortunate to start my first job as a jewelry designer at one of India’s largest diamond companies. I got my formative training from the best master goldsmiths, diamond-sorters, production and marketing managers. It was an incredible experience!
I established Reena Ahluwalia Design Inc. in 2009. Along with creating jewelry with world's most coveted diamonds, mostly private commissions, Reena Ahluwalia Design Inc. is a strategy adviser and design consultant to some of the top diamond and jewelry houses worldwide. Along the way, I feel privileged to have won the top National and International awards, including the coveted De Beers Diamonds-International Award, Rio Tinto Diamonds Global Design Competition and Tahitian Pearl Trophy. Now I am fortunate to judge some of these coveted International awards. Parallel to my jewelry design career, I was continuously painting, sculpting, teaching as a professor and speaker across continents and building communities. All of this is important and has shaped me as an artist I am today. And the most important realization - create something memorable and create to express not impress!
Tell us more about your artwork?
Diamonds in my paintings are part of a larger story, always metaphoric and symbolic. I am a jeweler-who-paints. My paintings merge diamonds, storytelling, culture, symbolism and art. I have been painting since forever; however, it’s only recent that I have gone public with it. A few of my diamond clients who are also private collectors of my paintings encouraged me to share my paintings publicly and I am thankful for their counsel! My painting journey started as a study of diamonds. I would spend countless hours trying to understand the structure of diamonds by pencil sketching them. The paper changed to canvas and I slowly moved from pencil sketches, to inks, watercolors, gouaches, oil paints and finally settling on acrylic paints and mixed media. So what started as a closeted passion is now my obsession, to paint, record and preserve incredible diamonds and gemstones and further elevate them to an art form by diamond storytelling.
In my paintings diamonds are not specimens, they have story and soul, that’s what makes a diamond, a diamond for me.
You live life to the fullest, any advice for young women out there?
I believe we are writers of our story and creators of our own destiny. Be authentic, be yourself.
Work hard and stay honest to your work. Know that each experience counts – good or bad. Ask, explore, experiment, evaluate, integrate and implement! Don’t think about making money first. First know what your true passion is. You have to know and love what you do and do it better than others. Get extremely good at it, work very hard, there is no short cut, ever! Only if you truly do that will you have the confidence to take the right risks, knock on the right doors, and not get dissuaded by closed doors. Which will ultimately result in a pay off. Be adaptive. Read the market situations and adapt to them. Be single-minded and persistent. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Failures are part of growth, embrace them and move on. Collaborate; elevate others who work with you, you only grow when others around you grow.
What do diamonds represent to you?
There is something poetic about diamonds! Having worked with diamonds my entire career, I am super passionate about them. Diamonds have been my material of choice since I started designing, making jewelry and painting them. For me diamonds are truly magical, majestic and symbolic.
I can never get tired looking into their eternal depths.