I first learned about Sapna Mehra and her one of a kind brilliant jewelry from my dear friend Fabeku. Since then Sapna and I have become friends as well and I am the lucky owner of a couple of her pieces–they are magical in every single way. Her story inspires and her art sets intention on fire–I proudly present this month’s Many Branches feature and hope all of my readers make Sapna feel welcome!
In her own words: I’m Sapna Mehra and I collaborate with artisans in my ancestral homeland of Rajasthan, India to create meaningful jewelry that is crafted by hand using 16th-century techniques. My jewelry designs are inspired by the meeting of fine and folk, the old and new, and the everyday and the divine. I design jewelry for anyone who’s passed through fire to wear as an emblem of triumph.
Find Sephra on the World Wide Web:
1.) On your site you have the following quote: “Gold becomes kundan only after passing through fire.” Tell us about kundan and the significance of this process.
I first heard this Rajasthani proverb from a favorite aunt of mine. I was going through an especially difficult time in my life and she said these words to me to lift my heart and spirits. It’s something that has stayed with me ever since.
The saying is about unleashing your strength, inherent beauty, and highest potential when you’re in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds.
It speaks to the process of creating kundan, a very prized form of purified 24k gold used in traditional jewelry from Rajasthan, India. Gold is fired continuously for 3 days in an arduous and elaborate process that requires constant oversight and meticulous care to ensure the quality and purity of the gold.
Once the gold has been fired, it’s beaten down and burnished into flowing ribbons of rich, pure gold that’s used to set gemstones into intricately enameled bases. It’s a beautiful art that is fulfilled only through the devotion and dedication of the artisan from beginning till end.
As individuals, we all pass through our own fires. Those fires distill, hone, and refine who you are.
As you move through the challenges that you face, you persist and overcome, even when you think you can’t. When you persist, you break through the barriers of your mind and what you believe is possible or impossible. Your struggle is your opportunity to choose who you want to be, to choose to act instead of react to whatever circumstance life’s journey has presented you with.
It’s in this act of persisting that you discover your own strength, power and grace.
What I’ve learnt from passing through my own fires, is that in every moment, you are faced with the choice to rise up above the struggle and truly know who you are. You aren’t your circumstance, you are the choices you make in those circumstances. And it’s the sum of the choices that you make day in and day out that transforms you into kundan, pure gold.
2.) Ritually created jewelry has been present in magical and religious circles for ages but recently sources for such creations have been few and far between. As you know, I have several pieces of your work and I can attest first hand to their wonderful properties and inspirited forms. Why not just go the conventional route in jewelry making, why the decision to add a spiritual/sacred significance to your craft?
First, thank you so much Bri for your love and support!
Mysticism connects you to the universal energy. It fosters intimacy with others and the environment that surrounds you. It connects you to the part of yourself that is greater than you.
My passion for ancient symbols, philosophies and my understanding of form as divine expression is rooted in my Indian heritage. I believe symbols are able to express and connect us to the abstract divine. Symbols, rituals and spiritualism connect the gaps between the rational and the parts of your experience that moves you beyond the realms of logic.
Designing jewelry with meaning that is informed by a spiritual, mystical or sacred practice is how I give voice to my experience in the world. When a design comes forth, it feels like an intense and unstoppable energy that I must respond to and that connects me to something that is much bigger than me.
When you connect with that message or symbol, it fosters an intimate connection and creates a blissful circuit of rasa or divine nectar. This circuit and the experience of connection is what art is all about. I feel blessed and grateful to share this with everyone who connects with this synergistic energy!
3.) Your tagline is Be Triumphant–how does the right jewelry help us become triumphant and what does that mean to you?
Your body is your sacred vehicle in the world; your witness, perceive, express and act with your body. It’s the body through which you experience and hone your awareness to unleash your shakti. Adorning the body is a sacred act of empowerment. When you choose jewelry that uplifts you and reminds you of your beauty, strength and power, you are empowering your highest self.
Adornment is a powerful act of expression and art. In ancient Indian texts, there are suggestions and prescriptions for sringar or adornment according to seasons, times of day, to affect a mood or elicit a particular desire.
The act of choosing what to wear, putting it on and taking it off is a sensual, meaningful ritual. It creates a beautiful pause, brings grace to light and awakens the senses to oneself.
What you choose to wear, how you choose to express yourself and put your Self out into the world gives you agency and power.
For me, being triumphant is about claiming your story and realizing your agency in your narrative. You story isn’t a series of events or how circumstances unravel. Your story is driven by how you decide to tell your story. I believe choosing the right jewelry for you is an act of empowerment and helps you express your story in the most magnificent way.
4.) You work with precious and semi-precious stones in your creations so I have to ask…do you have a personal favorite?
Oh, that’s a very hard question because I LOVE gemstones!
I have a special affinity for rose cut diamonds and I really love gems that are cut by hand in old cuts like rose cut and polki. The rose cut originated in India and then it’s popularity spread throughout Europe and you’ll see rose cut diamonds and other gems frequently used in Georgian and Edwardian jewelry. I try to use rose cut faceting as often as I can because it feels like the soul of the gem shines through.
Each gem has a particular vibration bringing forth different energies. At different times, depending how I’m feeling, I’m drawn to different stones, most likely because that is the energy I need to awaken within myself.
These days I am loving turquoise, lapis lazuli, black spinel, labradorite, and moonstones. These gems remind me of the depths of the ocean and the infinity of the sky. You get lost looking at them.
5.) If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?
The biggest message I’ve received in my life is to persist. No matter what your circumstance is in this moment, remember your heart’s truest desires, be aware of your dreams and listen to your highest self. Doing this, over and over again, even when it’s so hard, is the discipline that will illuminate your purpose and your path. I think that is the only way to discover what it means to be triumphant.
And to love. Emanate love at every moment possible.