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Selection Stones and Pearls

1 5 4 / B a s e l w o r l d S e l e c t i o n s t o n e s a n d P e a r l s Jewellery designer and third-generation diamond dealer Samir Bhansali launched La Reina Collection in 2001 and was soon a rising star in the fine-jewellery industry. Born in Mumbai, India, Bhansali often visits his country of birth, searching antique shops for jewellery that he will transform by adding a contemporary touch. In one dramatic example, he added gold-set diamonds and rubies to ivory bracelets made from woolly mammoth tusks. To a 19th-century pink gold cross pendant, he added diamond and sapphire accents. Bhansali is also a pioneer in the art of titanium jewellery. An act of love inspired the designer’s use of the metal. When his mother, Pushpa, could not tolerate heavy earrings, Bhansali began a four-year quest to create lighter ones. The result was La Reina’s one-of-a-kind titanium ­collection, “Evoluzione,” which was first launched at Baselworld. Because titanium is a lightweight but high-strength metal, it can be shaped into large pieces that would otherwise be impractical to wear. More importantly, Bhansali’s wearable titanium pieces are also beautiful. La Reina is best known for its limited- edition Art du Jour Collection, which uses extremely thin, wafer-like diamond slices that are faceted and polished using a patent-pending technique. Each piece takes skilled artisans four to six months to handcraft. The Yellow Passion flower bracelet, whose diamond slices call to mind the texture of flower petals, earned the “Town and Country” Best Design Award in 2007. La Reina has won seven Best Design awards for the collection. “When a person thinks of La Reina, the first thing that comes to mind is ­innovative jewellery,” says Adi Jain, market analyst for La Reina. “Bhansali’s work is at once still life and sculpture, a cornucopia of ­colours, textures, and motifs.” Jain ­compares the designer to “Michelangelo coaxing David from a slab of marble.” INNO V ATI V E J EWELLER Y La Reina Collection · 3.1 / F45 La Reina Collection is headquartered in Los Angeles, USA 1

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