Reflections on Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity in Fine Jewelry

During a conversation with a friend about representation in the fashion industry, I was struck by the impact of exclusion still felt by many women in the realm of fine jewelry. As an Indian American fine jewelry designer, this realization led me to recognize the importance of promoting diversity and fostering inclusivity within the industry.

In the early days of my journey with BHANSALI, I was advised to distance myself from my cultural heritage. It was suggested that being Indian meant limiting myself to creating solely ethnic pieces or being seen as offering cheaper labor in comparison to European houses. However, I soon discovered the power and beauty of embracing diversity and blending different cultures. It became evident that this approach could elevate my designs and resonate with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.

As a small brand with limited resources, I may not have the means for large-scale productions celebrating diversity. Nevertheless, I found my own way to honor representation by incorporating myself in close-up shots. By doing so, I hoped to celebrate my own skin tone and inspire others to see themselves reflected in my jewelry, fostering a sense of belonging and validation.

Cultural fusion is a core element of my design philosophy. I find inspiration in weaving together diverse motifs, materials, and techniques, creating jewelry that transcended boundaries and celebrated our interconnectedness as human beings. Each collection I create serves as a testament to the beauty of diversity, emphasizing that our shared humanity is enriched by embracing different cultures and traditions.

Throughout my life, empowering moments have reinforced the importance of inclusivity. I vividly recall feeling less than during my teenage years due to my skin tone. However, the affirmations from two European supermodels who expressed their admiration for my complexion and wished they could possess a similar tone had a profound impact on teenage Anar. Their recognition made me feel beautiful in my own skin. My entire narrative and perspective changed in that moment. And most recently, a American friend and collaborator highlighted the power of my cultural roots and encouraged me to embrace them fully. This experience fostered a deep sense of connection and inclusion, empowering me in that transformative moment. I am committed to passing on this empowering message to others.

In our dynamic and multicultural world, embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is not only a social responsibility but also a celebration of the richness of our collective humanity. Together, let us celebrate the diversity that enriches our world. Through our jewelry, conversations, and actions, we can build a future where everyone feels cherished, included, and celebrated.