By Venessa Anthony
Jewellery is not just about fashion for women, as it is deeply rooted in culture and tradition and is also a form of self-expression. Drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of Indian craftsmanship, contemporary jewellery labels are creating wearable pieces of art, inspired by nature, mythology, and more.
One noteworthy jeweller is Ras Jewels, an Indian ethnic jewellery brand located on Galle Road, Colombo 4. Their pieces are perfect to add that hint of old-world charm to your collection, and the versatile pieces are ideal for any jewellery enthusiast who has a keen eye for detailing. From pieces featuring subdued, earthy tones to material interplay, Ras Jewels is one brand that never disappoints if you are on the lookout for edgy pieces. Statement earrings, colourful rings, and neckpieces, you name it, they offer everything.
Beautiful, colourful pieces exhibiting fine craftsmanship define this jewellery brand. One scroll down their social media feed will give you a peek into why this label is perfect for any occasion. You can pair their exquisitely crafted necklaces, earrings, and rings with a variety of outfits – they are traditional, yet contemporary enough to pair with your palazzos and crop tops. If you love to explore jewellery with a luxurious Indian, modern touch, then the brand is just right for you.
Anoma Nadarajah is the founder of Ras Jewels. In conversation with The Morning Brunch, she shared that when she was growing up, she was always in the principal’s office and that she wouldn’t describe herself as a typical good girl. “As I matured and aged, I turned out to shock everyone who knew me back then, since I have completely become the opposite of bad. I guess it’s the same for most of us. We are still understanding who we really are,” she added.
We had a chat with her about her brand and more. Here’s what she had to say.
What is the story behind Ras Jewels?
Well, even though I got my master’s degree in interior design, I always knew that there was a part of me that wanted to have my own business someday. I suppose this is also because I come from a business-oriented family. Basically, I started importing jewellery from India and opened up a Facebook page, and after a month or so I had a small garage sale at home. This inspired me to go bigger and I invested in a cupboard and of course more jewellery from India, and eventually, I had my little store. My customer base grew and so did my collections and the sizes of my cupboards changed; here we are today, six years down the road.
What type of jewellery do you specialise in?
Costume jewellery from India that is all gold-plated. “Kundan” and pearls are also trendy.
How would you describe the Ras Jewels’ aesthetic?
My brand’s aesthetic is all about being as unique and personalised as possible. Each piece of jewellery comes as one piece and it gives the customer a sense that it is a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery. It is about women wearing class and elegance, irrespective of social status or class.
What steps did you follow to open your jewellery store?
Initially, it was about studying the market and surveying the scope. I mean, I knew that there was a market that had not been fully explored. I went to India, met with a few suppliers, and built a relationship with them beforehand because I knew that consistency and supply had to be a must. From there onwards it was all about maintenance and a new collection in store every two weeks.
Tell us about the sourcing and how you keep prices accessible.
As I mentioned, it is all from India. There are a few suppliers and designers who have become a part of the company now, and I always make sure that anyone and everyone can afford it because customer satisfaction is key.
Any tips to follow when choosing jewellery?
Always make sure that the designs are unique, classy, and also appropriate in terms of colours, because the jewellery has to match the clothing.
What are the challenges you face as a business owner in retail and the jewellery industry? How do you overcome them?
My main challenge was always the restriction and issue with importing the jewellery and the delays in terms of getting it cleared from Customs. This has been an ongoing issue, but I’ve always managed to get my jewellery cleared in time, except during the first lockdown. Covid-19 has definitely played a big role in certain restrictions, but I think that there is always a way, so I find ways and means of bringing down my jewellery items through other suppliers and different courier companies.
What are some of your favourite pieces and why?
Actually, I love each and every piece, since I carefully choose each individual piece.
What pieces should every girl have in their jewellery collection?
Earrings! A nice pair of earrings is a must.
How do you place an order or purchase from your brand?
There are many platforms. A customer can order on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or even through our website. We also provide cash on delivery for customers in Colombo and we deliver through the courier for customers out of Colombo.
What are your future goals and endeavours for Ras Jewels?
To open a bigger store, with more collections and more items to go with the jewellery, such as clothing and accessories. The end goal is to have two or three outlets around the country.