True art is an expression of limitless inner beauty and strength. This Bangalore-based jewellery designer—who has made imagination her script, an enthusiastic heart her forge, and spectacular jewellery her master creations—is, for sure, an epitome of this ideology.
Pallavi Foley has etched her name in the glamorous world of jewellery designing. This skilled artist is one of the youngest jewellery designers in India, whose creations have been showcased by some of the gorgeous celebrities of Bollywood, like Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam. She has not only secured the second place at the International Saul Bell Award Competition but is also the master-designer behind the Femina Miss India Universe crown—this talented beauty will surely leave you awe-inspired.
In an interview with NTD India, this creative visionary takes us through her breathtaking journey of crafting artistic masterpieces that bring alive captivating stories.
From an early age, Pallavi had an inclination to painting and sketching. “I was allowed to sketch on the walls of my room and it was a huge gift my parents had given me—it gave me immense happiness. I could spend hours colouring and sketching, and it always felt like meditation,” she says.
After graduating from the renowned National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Delhi in the year 2000, she joined Tanishq, a famous jewellery brand in India, as a designer for a decade. She has also travelled the world in order to take up design courses to master her skills.
In 2011, she launched her own signature label, Pallavi Foley, at the Leela Palace Hotel in Bangalore. She now also has her own luxury store in the city’s hip mall, VR Bengaluru.
But there is surely more to her than what meets the eye; Pallavi’s passion for designing has introduced the world to a language that gold and silver have never spoken before. The inspiration behind each of her designs is her vivid imagination.
“I let my mind wander. I find my inspiration everywhere—in my travels that I love, in my vivid visualization of what I read, in movies, in paintings, in my daughter’s constant chitter-chatter, and her singing,” she says.
Pallavi makes us believe that inspiration can emerge from anything, even from one’s subconscious mind.
“Wear your prayer” is a masterpiece of her subconscious inspiration. In a detailed 18-karat gold miniature “egg,” she has managed to incorporate different scriptures with intricate jaali work, portraying the strong message of faith and belief.
“I designed it as an egg because life comes from it. It is my way of wishing well for people who wear them. What makes this story even more precious is that the customers don’t necessarily buy the ‘prayer egg’ of their faith—they buy the prayer that most resonates with them,” she says.
Passion and thinking out of the box comes naturally to this talented artist. When Pallavi was working with Tanishq, she had the opportunity to design the Miss India Universe and Miss Earth crowns in 2006.
A marvel of absolute beauty, the Femina Miss India Earth crown for 2006 brought out India’s rich flora and fauna. Intertwining perfect harmony and contrast, this piece is based on the movement of the majestic peacock and its feathers. But what really enhances the piece is the pear-shaped deep blue stone in the center that symbolises the traditional Indian tikka, giving the crown an absolutely stunning look.
On the other hand, the Femina Miss India Universe crown is an expression of true design ingenuity. Weighing about 450 grams and encrusted in 2,000 stones, this creation is inspired by galaxies. On looking closer, you will find the delicate strands studded with precious crystals radiate out like shooting stars.
Rich craftsmanship and pure perfection are two qualities that come alive in each of Pallavi’s creations. As a jewellery designer, Pallavi believes, “Jewellery as an accessory is a very powerful way to express one’s personal style. The outfits can go out of fashion, become tight or loose, but your jewels will never fail you.”
She also adds, “I want people to feel good about themselves, when they wear jewels that I design, which are all handmade by the best Indian craftsmen. I want them to know that what they are wearing has been thought through in detail, and would have taken me months to design and then months to create. I want them to feel proud of themselves, and see the jewels for their exquisite craftsmanship, the design, the story and the details.”
Pallavi also possess a magical power to enchant us in complete awe. Wild mushrooms are one such creation that has brought out that fairy tale charm from the book Alice in Wonderland.
She says, “I was gifted the book on my 6thbirthday. In that book, Alice sat under the tree with mushrooms around her. I always wanted to work with wild mushrooms and invert them, that is cup them the other way round—where all the magical and fascinating stuff from the under the dome, the serrations and the layers, could be brought to the forefront. And that is exactly what I have done in the collection.”
She further adds, “The collection has 30 designs and is available in 18-karat gold and uncut diamond polki, and I have a fun line in silver as well. Each piece is handmade—the multiplicity, the soft bending of the mushrooms, the odd shapes, the off roundedness, the fragile stems, the connect with fantasy, the real world blending with the imaginative world, inspired me to create the line.”
Finally, what really sets Pallavi apart as a designer is her belief in the power of a good design. She says, “At my store you would find pieces starting at rupees 5,000 and going all the way to rupees 50 lacs, and at every price point the design intervention is the same. Every piece goes through a personal quality check by me.”
“I want more people to be able to wear my jewellery and I don’t want it to be limited to only a few. Good design and great craftsmanship should be for all, and that’s my endeavour and belief in the concept of democratization of design,” she says.
Pallavi’s creations are not just an element of fantasy come alive, but a culmination of great storytelling accompanied by a personal human touch.