In bed with Waris Ahluwalia, founder of House of Waris

Three questions about jewelry design to Waris Ahluwalia

Editor Sophie Caby got together with her acting and jewelry designing friend Waris. They stayed in bed, took pictures and talked about House of Waris.

You are a jewelry maker. Tell us how you got started?

– Well, jewelry came to me. I made a ring for myself about six years ago. I was living in L.A. for the winter because I don’t like the cold weather. I went to a store called Maxfield and I was wearing these rings, and they said “nice rings”, I said “thank you”, they walked away, they came back, “are they yours?”, I said “yes’, and then they said “do you want to meet the buyer?” so I said “okay”, and I started to make the rings. That’s how it went word for word and that’s how it all started. Long story short, I went to Italy (during the filming of Life Aquatic) and I found a workshop there, then went to India and found a workshop there.

What’s the process of jewelry making?

– I always draw the jewels, I can see it in my head but I need to see what it looks like. It comes up in a middle of a conversation, I’ll be talking to somebody and all of a sudden I see it, right here, floating, just in a middle of the space. But I think I’m the only one that sees the piece. So I draw it first and then I have the workshop in India, in Jaipur, turn these visions to reality. They have amazing craftsmen there, they are using the same techniques for over a 100 years and everything is handmade so i don’t use lasers, I don’t use machines, nothing is manufactured by a factory. These pieces are all handmade by artisans who have been doing it for 30-40 years and their families for hundreds of years.

What do you like the most about creating jewelry?

– Because the jewelry is all encompassing and there are so many different facets to it. For example, I design all my packaging. So besides the jewelry artisans, I have a woodworker in Delhi who has won many awards for his work and he makes all my boxes. The materials I choose to work with are amazing. I’m working with gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, citrines. Its a world of mystery in your hands. It’s what our culture is built on before there was oil. Gold. We have a love affair with gold long before it was a love affair with oil. Empires were built, loves lost, cultures destroyed. The Roman empire, the Spanish empire, the Crusades. God, Glory and Gold. Cathederals were erected and religions flourished. Before there was anything else, we always wanted, lusted, needed gold. Shiny objects. That’s why i work with gold, it’s part of who we are.