The Palm Beach Show returns February 16-21, touting exhibits of the finest jewelry, art, antiques, and design by artists and creators from across the globe. One such exhibitor is jewelry artist Neha Dani, whose sculptural high jewelry has won the hearts of collectors. At this year’s show, Dani will debut stunning new pieces, including a moonstone and diamond pendant from her Glaciers series. We caught up with Dani to learn more about her intensive creative process, her inspirations, and what lies ahead.
PBI: For those becoming familiar with you and your work, tell us a bit about your artistry.
ND: My artistry is born out of a deep connection to my innermost emotions, which get translated into compositions in my jewelry. The pieces I design are unique and crafted with impeccable detail, each with a deeply embedded philosophy that is rooted in my outlook and cultural roots. My design process is meditative, and I start with carving out the details with my favorite medium: jeweler’s wax. This process allows me to explore form, volume, light, and movement, all often sparked by a journey of self-discovery and introspection. As I develop these sculptural forms, the design of the jewel emerges.
These three new pieces from your Glacier series debuting at the Palm Beach Show are exquisite. What inspired you to select the Arctic as muse for the design of these pieces?
The glaciers in the Arctic region left me mesmerized when I visited the area on a family vacation. Gliding past these majestic creations of nature—large and beauteous at the same time—inspired me to embark on a challenging journey of creativity. I wanted to design a collection that would evoke that same sense of wonder and would also be inspired by the glacial ice, light, and colors that I had seen on this journey.
The moonstones were a perfect choice for this. The iridescent blue sheen of the stone seemed to reflect the light and hue of the glaciers, and the crystal formation looked like frozen water. The gem became the voice of my emotion and inspiration. The new pieces of this collection are the evolution of this artistic inspiration, as I have continued to develop this vision using the magic of blue moonstone, diamonds, and titanium.
What were the steps involved in your creative process? All told, how long did these pieces take to create, from conception to final product?
Each piece I create is a labor of love that takes several months to take its final shape. Drawing from my inspiration, I create the wax sculptures and put the pieces together to experiment with different combinations of shape and form. I spend hours of meditative thought working with the shapes I create in wax, using my hands and carver’s tools to build, carve, and hone every element of a design until it seems to be a perfect embodiment of my vision. Once I am satisfied with this stage, a casting is made in silver in the exact shape as the wax frames. Here, I try out the structure and engineering of the piece, ensuring that there is no room for flaws. The final step in the process is the casting of the titanium framework and the meticulous placement of each gemstone, each setting pre-determined by me at the workshop. It’s a laborious and skill-intensive process that I enjoy immensely. It allows me to visualize in many layers, which is what makes my designs so intricate.
What does your stone selection process look like?
I source stones from different parts of the world. Once I have decided the color palette, I embark on the mission to find the perfect match in the gemstones. Having worked on different ideas over the years, I have sourced stones from every continent. As a gemologist, I am enamored by each gem and I am fascinated by their forms and formation. The colors and texture of these stones allow me to experiment beyond the conventional, stepping outside the traditional boundaries of precious gems. I often use unusual gems that suit my design aesthetic and complement my design. The moonstones I used for the Glacier collection were personally selected by me in their rough form and were faceted under my supervision in the most unusual angles, giving them a sheen and texture that is both uncommon and visually stunning.
What do you hope these pieces evoke in viewers?
I hope that viewers are able to see that while nature is my muse and often leaves me stunned, I interpret nature’s work in my own style. Each piece is a joyful expression of a deep emotion or inspiration and I hope this feeling is transferred to the viewers of my work.
Why is the Palm Beach Show the perfect setting to unveil these creations?
The Palm Beach Show is a collection of the most creative artists who showcase their work to an extremely discerning and educated audience. Unveiling my creations here, I can be sure that my artistry will be recognized by the best in the collector community. The beautiful setting of the show is a perfect backdrop for my creations.
What is next for you as an artist and creative? Where can people find more of you and your work?
My journey as an artist continues as I experience life. Each day brings a new wonder or an epiphany that awakens my creative juices. I return to my workshop after every show or holiday brimming with inspiration and ideas, to create something unique and beautiful. My creations can be viewed on my website, 1stdibs, and my Instagram.