From getting into her dream school of fine arts, Cooper Union, to being featured in ‘The New York Times 30 under 30’ list, Arpana Rayamajhi has dreamt it and made it. The jewelry designer and model, who lives in the United States of America, has become an inspiration for many youths across the globe. And her jewelry designs that are a blend of modern aesthetics with a touch of tradition have been successful in increasing her fan and customer base.
“I believe jewelry is so much more than just ornamentation. It is symbolic of many things and there are strong reasons why families hand it down to generations. Apart from these values that we have collectively placed on it, it has been and will always be more than just an object of commerce. This is what appealed to me and I wanted to work with jewelry,” says Rayamajhi who designs pieces that can be worn alone or layered beautifully.
Rayamajhi creates all the items on her own, without a team to help her, and each piece is a work of art reflecting a different idea or concept. She says she draws inspirations everything around her – from books, arts, films, socio-political causes, music, nature and the list goes on. She says her first-ever series ‘The Melancholy Death of Urchin Girl’ was based on a book by author Tim Burton whereas she got ideas from Bjork’s song for the second one. Even her upcoming jewelry series, ‘The Narcissist’ is based on a commentary on the concept of an artist wanting to immortalize himself at a time where social media has given everyone a platform to express oneself freely and completely.
Accounting for her upbringing in the diverse Nepali culture, she has also always been influenced by the traditional attires of different ethnic groups. “How could I not be influenced by Nepal? It is where I learned a lot about arts. It’s where my thoughts are ingrained. The diversity in Nepal further encouraged me to study about other various cultures across the world and analyze the similarities and historical importance among them,” she says.
Initially, Rayamajhi started working with beads and quirky objects. But now, her major products are necklaces, earrings, and bracelets made with fine metals like gold and precious gems like diamonds. However, she is quick to add that this might change and it might not just be jewelry only that she has to offer in the future. But for now, jewelry it is and she neither tries go with the trends nor makes them purely with the intention of good sales. Instead, she is driven by creativity, sincerity, and desire to perfect her work. And these are what differentiate her products from other jewelry brands.
It is also what has helped her attract many customers from all over the world including the USA and Europe besides Asia. She says her customers understand her skills and value her creativity, and if she could she would thank them all individually.
Recently, Rayamajhi was selected as one of the six designers to make a capsule collection for Australian Diamonds highlighting the beauty of diamonds that have been ethically mined. She has done advertisements and campaigns for global companies like Apple, L’oreal, and AVEDA. In 2016, she singlehandedly designed and prepared jewelry for an entire section of one of the world’s reputed fashion show by Victoria’s Secret. But, she believes, her achievements do not end here. As any other promising artist, she is still waiting for her biggest achievement to happen. “It might just be around the corner,” she says.
Rayamajhi is herself a jewelry fanatic and confesses that she treats each piece she owns as a blessing in itself. You will never see her without layered necklaces or sparkling big earrings. But she also says that initially she never saw herself as a jewelry designer. “Now that I’m one, these pieces of metal have become my armor,” she says adding that good jewelry can have that effect on your psyche. You will feel incomplete without it, she says.
“Of all things I wanted to be when I grew up, jewelry designer was never on my list. But now I could not be happier with what has coincidently happened to me. It has given me a platform to express myself. So had it not been for jewelry, things would not have turned out the way they are,” she concludes.