tudio Renn was founded in Mumbai in 2018 by Rahul Jhaveri, 36, a contemporary art collector, and his wife Roshni Jhaveri, 37. The Studio is much more than a jewellery house: it is an art collective whose works take the form of jewellery. The role of these jewels is not merely ornamental: the creations are intended to underpin an idea, a concept. It would perhaps be more accurate to call them “wearable sculptures”.
The couple met at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Before creating their brand, they had no experience in selling jewellery. Roshni, who now heads up sales and marketing for Studio Renn, was a strategy consultant. Rahul, on the other hand, grew up in a diamond family that has been involved in sourcing, cutting and polishing rough diamonds for three generations.
- Roshni and Rahul Jhaveri
The brand was born only three years ago and yet, last August, it won the innovation award at the Couture jewellery show in Las Vegas with the “Strangler” ring. This statement piece is made from acid-treated concrete, reinforced with blackened white gold and set with round brilliant-cut diamonds. It is a reflection on impermanence, on jewellery that can also age with time. Renn means “renaissance”. This may not explain everything, but it hints at the importance the duo place on time and its passage in their work.
- Studio Renn Transient Ring: a ring made of... concrete!
Studio Renn collaborates with artists, architects, musicians and choreographers. The duo’s creative approach is more akin to contemporary design than traditional jewellery. During the latest GemGenève jewellery fair, in November 2021, the two founders presented their collections. That’s where we met Rahul Jhaveri.
The brand was born only three years ago and yet, last August, it won the innovation award at the Couture jewellery show in Las Vegas with the “Strangler” ring.
Europa Star: Where did you learn the art of jewellery making?
Rahul Jhaveri: I’m not fully trained in jewellery design or manufacture. It’s something I learned out of curiosity. Before I began the studio I worked in the family business, which specialises in sourcing, cutting and polishing rough diamonds. At the same time, I used to design jewellery for friends and family. That’s how I got into the creating side. I learned on the job, without any preconceived notions, pushing things beyond how they would usually be made.
- Studio Renn Fish Skeleton Earrings
What was your aim in creating jewellery?
The Studio was born out of a love of design and creation. For us, the creative process is the central point; the jewellery is, in a way, just the physical manifestation of it, one aspect of it. We’re just doing what comes instinctively, and seeing where the creative journey takes us.
“I learned on the job, without preconceived notions, pushing things beyond how they would usually be made.”
What role does jewellery play, in your opinion?
Rather than looking at jewellery as the end of the process, we think of it as part of the process. Every piece sends us in a new creative direction. A jewel is a deeply personal thing, a piece of your identity. That’s how we approach jewellery design. A person who collects our work makes the piece their own; it becomes a part of who they are at that point in time.
- Studio Renn Orange Peel Bracelet
You’re not alone in this process: you work with many artists.
Yes, collaboration is a big part of our approach. We work with architects, designers, sculptors, musicians, people from different creative fields who express themselves in their own medium, but there is still common ground because we share a love of creation. For instance, when we worked with contemporary artist Prashant Salvi, we didn’t interpret his work: he was part of the creative process. He created a series of sketches from our discussions, and we created jewellery. It’s not really a collaboration, it’s more a conversation that we are having with other creative people. It’s from that kind of dialogue that many ideas and a huge amount of energy are generated.
“Nothing is permanent. Why do we expect jewellery to be permanent?”
You made a ring out of concrete. Where did that idea come from?
It came from absolute stubbornness. It took a year to conceptualise it. It was a work that was commissioned by an architect, a collector of ours, who wanted to wear a solitaire ring that felt powerful and strong. I proposed creating one out of concrete because, even though it feels like it’s permanent, it’s not. Concrete has a life span of only 20 or 30 years. That’s why the piece is called the “Transient Ring”, because it’s going to fall apart. But that’s the beauty of the piece! It’s gonna age, it’s gonna change, much like our cities. We expect our cities to last forever but there are not designed to. They change constantly. To make the ring we collaborated with another firm of architects (Material Immaterial Studio, in Mumbai) to figure out the mechanisms and how to make the ring in concrete. And when it was completed, we treated the ring with acid to partially destroy it.
- Studio Renn Strangler Ring
This collector has to be around in 30 years, when the ring falls apart, in order to recover the diamond!
The diamond won’t fall off because the ring is reinforced with gold. It’s a strong piece: it will last, but it will age. This is the kind of philosophical process we go through at the Studio. Everything we create is meaningful, purposeful. Everything tends to be more than it seems.
We tend to think that jewellery lasts forever, and can be passed from one generation to the other.
Nothing is permanent. Why do we expect jewels to be permanent?