London-based designer-jeweller Karina Choudhrie made waves with the introduction of her inaugural High Jewellery collection, “Under the Sea,” unveiled in late November 2023. Plunge into a maritime adventure brimming with an array of colors and sea creatures, experiencing a mesmerizing blend of vivid hues, precious gemstones, metallic accents, and breathtaking minerals.
In a heartfelt homage to the ocean, Choudhrie reveals that her collection, named “A Love Letter to the Ocean,” is a testament to her profound connection as an experienced deep-sea swimmer. The intricately crafted designs, boasting a diverse palette of colors and an assortment of textures, shapes, and forms, go beyond capturing the magnificence of marine life; they serve as a reflection of Choudhrie’s deep-seated emotional ties to the vast underwater world that has fascinated her since childhood. Reflecting on her formative years, Choudhrie fondly recalls her father’s frequent underwater excursions, immersing both her and her brother in the sea’s depths, including visits to the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef. Emphasizing that fear was never an option, she paints a picture of the meditative allure found in observing life beneath the sea’s surface – a silent realm with its own distinct sounds and rhythms. In her own words, it is a world she passionately loves, respects, and takes immense joy in exploring.
Eight years ago, Karina Choudhrie, then a discreet bespoke jeweller focused on exclusive commissions, found inspiration in her clients’ emphasis on individuality. Eager to unleash her creativity, she yearned to explore vibrant colors like peridots, amethysts, turquoise, and experiment with minerals such as lapis lazuli and tiger’s eye. Above all, the elements had to seamlessly come together to convey the theme in Karina’s heart. The ocean, symbolizing the primal chaos of creation, served as the perfect canvas for her vibrant, high-energy mix of colors, gems, minerals, and techniques—now her distinctive signature.
Inspiration for “Under the Sea” struck Karina Choudhrie during a dive in Mauritius, sparking the collection’s creation. She translated her vision into sketches and personal paintings, extracting elements for designs. Distilling ideas, she meticulously orchestrated color palettes and handpicked stones, custom-carved or cut. Precision was paramount; each jewel found its craftsmen in Valenza, Italy, or Jaipur. The collection, years in the making, showcases Choudhrie’s commitment to craftsmanship, innovation, and attention to the finest details. An example is her quest for a 350-carat rough amethyst, from which beads with the specific lighter purple hue she envisioned were carved.
For the Deep Sea Prism earrings, Karina combined a unique pair of elongated chrysocolla drops, characterized by unusual striations in brilliant colors reminiscent of layered sand, with surmounts featuring diamonds and spinels in teal, plum, and burnt orange tones—harmonizing with the hues of the drops.
Concealed within this caviar white gold boulé ring, adorned with rose-cut diamonds, lies a discreet gold compartment crowned with blue sapphires. Remove the lid, and you’ll reveal black diamond caviar resting on a bed of ice-like diamond briolettes. This enigmatic ring, destined to spark conversations, is further enhanced with diamond pavé along the band.
The Scylla brooch draws inspiration from creatures like the enigmatic sea anemone, gracefully unfurling to unveil unexpected beauty. At the core of this white gold brooch is a sea princess adorned with flowing locks intricately embellished with round brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds. Emerging from precious fronds, each intricately inlaid with shimmering grey mother of pearl, the brooch showcases a demanding technique that challenged our skilled master artisans. Hand-painted black enamel further enhances its captivating details.
Whether it’s the rhythmic crashing of waves or the serene melody of whale calls, the ocean is a symphony. In celebration of the sea’s musicality, this white gold and diamond Sea Symphony ring is crafted in the shape of a grand piano. Adorned with meticulously set round brilliant and rose-cut diamonds, the piano’s keys feature baguette-cut diamonds. Similar to the actual instrument, the lid can be opened and secured with a gold prop, revealing a mirror that reflects the inner beauty of the jewel’s workings.
“Under the Sea” provided Karina with the perfect opportunity to delve into setting techniques and boldly select unconventional gemstones, allowing her to showcase and share the shifting lights and intriguing depths of the ocean. Additionally, she fearlessly employs “off-color” rose-cut diamonds, setting them one on top of another on the Sunrise Ring.