"Some of my designs are based on temple jewelry from southern India, while others are similar to those worn by the royal families of Rajasthan."
"The Indian style of jewelry fascinates many, including me," Nalinee Hegde says. "I am a strong believer in divinity and would gladly go wherever God wants to take me.
"I was born on December 28, 1946 in Bombay. I have two brothers and a sister who are now settled in different parts of the world and we share a strong sense of family values. My childhood was very secure and happy, with wonderful memories.
"I came into this profession by chance. Though I had always enjoyed, admired and loved wearing the exotic jewelry of India, it was almost on a whim that I decided to design jewelry myself. This happened when I was visiting our Bombay market, looking for silver and gemstone jewelry materials for a friend in the United States. I was amazed and excited. My jewelry career began first as a hobby, but eventually my jewelry became so popular that I started offering it to stores. I am now supplying shops in several cities.
"I use sterling silver, natural gemstones and fresh water pearls in my designs. The style is contemporary with a mix of urban and traditional themes, and it is very wearable! Also, since I use natural gemstones, there is a therapeutic value and the finished product has a 'feel good' factor. I also work with sterling silver dipped in 24k gold. This process is called gold forming and the pieces usually keep their gleam for life, provided care is taken to keep the jewelry away from chemicals, perfume, etc.
"Four craftspeople work with me, while I do the designing and conceptualizing. The gemstones' natural energy inspires me.
"India has a rich cultural heritage and jewelry is an important part of our history and tradition. Some of my designs – especially the gold formed ones – are based on sacred jewelry from southern India, while others are similar to those worn by the royal families of Rajasthan. I try to give even the most traditional designs a contemporary look. In addition, I design other Indian handicrafts like hand-embroidered shawls, stoles and scarves, and women's accessories in silk and leather. I've shown my designs throughout India, and at the World Bank's International Arts and Crafts show in Washington on a number of occasions.
"I am involved with a cancer support group which is a voluntary organization and offers mainly emotional support to cancer patients. I am extremely fond of reading – almost anything under the sun, although of late my interests are veering toward human philosophy and the meaning of life. I must admit that it is becoming increasingly difficult to spare time for this, due to my busy schedule.
"I am really grateful that I have been introduced to Novica. By providing a platform for unknown artists to exhibit their work, Novica is helping them to reach out to the far corners of the world, giving them an opportunity for their talents to be recognized and appreciated. This can ultimately result in bringing the people of the world closer to each other, which is so important. It would have been impossible to reach out to so large an audience on my own."