For Sanjay Dutt, MD and CEO of Tata Realty and Infrastructure (TRIL) and Tata Housing Development Company (THDC), designing his first piece of jewellery was like going on a first date. It was exciting and challenging. Dutt combined his love for art and his wife when he conceptualised a pair of earrings for her ten years ago.
“Initially, I thought it was just a hobby and I wouldn’t do it often,” he says. However, it became much more than that for Dutt, who has designed only earrings so far, in gold, beads and rubies. A few of these have been made and are proudly worn by his wife, Pankaj.
He claims travelling has been his biggest muse. The architecture of the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur inspired him to design an earring along those lines. After a trip to Venice, Dutt used Italy’s Murano glass pieces to create a pair, by plating it with silver. “The glass pieces of different colours were perfect for a variety of inexpensive jewellery. It was also a way of carrying the history of the Italian city with us,” he says.
Dutt has attempted a ‘waterfall jewellery’ piece too. “I did not want the earrings to fall flat, but create an impression of water gushing out of streams. Strings of different lengths of beads were held together tightly, and their uneven edges create an asymmetric fall.”
The business leader says it wasn’t difficult for him to conceptualise and design jewellery because he has been sketching since childhood. He took professional help from the Mumbai-based Zoya jewellery to get the pieces made. Dutt says, “You have to get the volume, or size of the piece right. Also, a person wearing too many pieces of jewellery with a loud dress would look like a chalta phirta dukan. A unique piece of ornament would be appreciated if worn with a simple dress.”
With much gratitude, he talks about his wife’s role in encouraging him to pursue his passion. He doesn’t take sole credit for his ‘masterpieces’. “Her participation has been important. She has always been there to give advice, suggest alterations and explore other options. It is a sense of joint accomplishment, of creating art together,” he says. “All the credit goes to her for carrying off the jewellery so well. She compliments my artwork by wearing it with pride,” he adds. Designing jewellery for her is a passion that helps him celebrate the love of his life. “I wanted to create something that is unique and exquisite. I believe she feels special when she wears the jewellery I create, and tells others about where it came from,” he says.
Dutt is currently working on a design for an 18-carat gold mangalsutra for his wife. He is also working on a different version of the red and white chudda (bangles) worn by married women. His piece would be made as one piece of ornament rather than separate bangles. “If you see something like that in the market someday, you know where it came from,” he says, with a smile.