Shana Gulati is an artisanal jewelry designer with an eye for the unusual. A lawyer-turned-creator, Shana found freedom in embracing her true calling: sustainably creating jewelry from upcycled materials. For her, accessories are an outlet to be creative, free-spirited, and colorful. From business casual to city chic, jewelry has an uncanny ability to help you be whoever you want to be in the moment. These tangible pieces of self-expression are the center point of Shana’s journey and a product of her artistic vision.
The concept of rebirth is intrinsically woven into Indian culture. Hindu beliefs impart that all life goes through cycles of death and rebirth, over and over again. Shana’s jewelry creation process eloquently embodies this sacred construct. Crafted with intention, Shana’s designs sustainably repurpose once-discarded materials to make something entirely new. Her myriad of collections features everything from delicate diamond mosaics to bold statement pieces, all created from upcycled materials.
Shana’s pieces seamlessly fuse contemporary aesthetics and classical design. Her jewelry is inspired by the beauty, cultures, and lifestyles of both New York City, where Shana currently resides, and India, her native land. All of her jewelry is unique and proudly handcrafted in Jaipur utilizing centuries-old traditions of intricate and exquisite craftsmanship. This one-of-a-kind process uses authentic, upcycled diamonds, ensuring that every piece is a true original.
Q & A
What inspires you?
Everything and anything inspires me. My ideas come usually from both my daily life living in NYC and my travels, from the trinkets I’ve picked up to the day to day things I’ve seen. Having the luxury of living in one of the most amazing, diverse, fashion forward, creative, free spirited, individualistic cities in the world paired with having been born into one of the most colorful and beautiful cultures that physically thrives in a visually stimulating manner (INDIA!!!), it’s hard not to be inspired all the time. So it’s a blend of my everyday and my gift of being handed a culture that is nothing less than amazing and a creative force.
How do you name your collections?
That’s the million dollar question… So far they have been named after my niece; the word for love in Hindi; where I was for my 40th … it’s really just about where I am physically and mentally with how the collections came to be. The latest collection is going to be called Zazvata, which derives its root from Urdu to mean continuity. The reason I chose this word is that this particular collection is taking what I have already created and adding to it, to continue the creativity behind each piece to create something new and unique in its own right.
What are your favorite places to go in India?
To this day I have been very quick in my trips, as they really have to be focused around work so it would have to be Jaipur. One of my favorite things to do is to make sure to go to the garden to take in the scent of jasmine in the early morning before the day becomes insane and chaotic. I have made myself a promise that I will visit Sikkim (the city I was born in while my Dad was an officer in the Indian Army) and Ladakh in the Kashmir region.
If you were one accessory, what would you be and what would you look like?
A big glorious ring for sure!!! My thinking is that what can’t an accessory do for a woman! It can change her mood; it can give the outfit a whole new look; it can be the centerpiece of what she’s wearing; it can be that one piece that catches your eye! Accessories, especially jewelry (because by nature it is feminine) can just make a girl feel that extra whatever she wants to feel. Be it sexy, be it bold and different, be it subtle and understated, be it chic, or be it casual, or just unique without having to say a word. Accessories tend to be conversation starters too! They are a way to connect, a way to stand out, a way to make one feel just a little extra special.
What does your Spring in New York look like?
My spring in New York seems to be different year to year, it’s a lot of travel, it’s a lot of work to be honest as the Fall collection is underway so it usually involves a trip to India. It’s a time to be creative and super assertive to get out a new collection!
How did your life change going from a lawyer to a jewelry designer? How did your wardrobe change?
How hasn’t it changed for me… I used to think so many doors not opening for me in law was a sign that it was a reflection on me. Turns out it was for a bigger reason than I could have imagined at that point in time. It forced me to find a passion and a path that I never knew existed within me and one that would bring me so much happiness and love for both India and the team of people I have pulled together to make it all happen. It’s actually a little family I have built, which would have never happened had I not embarked on a road I didn’t even know existed. My life is not only richer and fuller, but it’s got purpose and meaning in what I do because it’s not just jewelry that we are creating, it’s livelihoods that are being supported, it’s giving back in a way to a country that gave me so much.
What compels you to design jewelry?
Designing jewelry because it involves so many things in life I love. It allows me to be creative, free spirited, colorful (figuratively and literally), it allows me to have a lasting connection with the two places in the world that have help mold me into who I am (New York and my Indian heritage), it allows me to help make a woman, no matter from what walk of life, to feel feminine, like a princess or like a rock star or like an elegant lady or like a young fun girly girl or whomever or whatever she wants to channel by wearing one of my pieces. Jewelry design is my outlet but it allows my connectivity to other women in helping them just love something that’s only theirs.
When the sun is out, what song do you play?
It’s not going to be a particular song, but it will be something that will be energetic and get me going!
What is your spirit stone?
Is there any advice you can offer to an artist starting a business?
Yes, do not focus on the doors that have closed, focus on the ones that are slightly ajar and that you can push your way through, because you can and you will. It’s daunting to think about the whole picture in the near future, so don’t. Just focus on that moment.