For 30-year-old, Hong Kong kid Payal Shah, jewellery designing is serious business. With her Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture Design from the University of Westminster and a diploma in interior design from Inchbald in London, there is little wonder producing intricate and artistic pieces of jewellery come so naturally to Shah. The Indian designer says her pieces, which draw inspiration from her personal life, are a reflection of her travels and experiences with family and friends.
Shah’s parents are diamond merchants and though jewellery is in her DNA, it wasn’t until she was commissioned to create a capsule line for another brand that she realised her true passion for the craft. In 2011, L’Dezen was formed and became known for one-of-a-kind handmade pieces in floral and geometric styles. Shah’s speciality is rose cuts and diamonds in unusual shapes––in her opinion, the more unique and dissimilar the diamonds, the better the story.
Shah’s pieces certainly aren’t mass-market: her most expensive design––a necklace named Fireworkouture––comes in at US$350,000. Although celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Lady Gaga and Alexa Demie are flocking to wear her custom creations, Shah remains humble, focusing her time and energy on making lightweight, wearable pieces for her clients around the globe.
Here, she talks to Tatler about the most eccentric design request she has ever received, having dinner with Kris Jenner and why she wants Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on her team.
What does Hong Kong mean to you?
Hong Kong to me can be summarised by the gorgeous skyline. It never gets old. It still takes my breath away with the spectacular architecture and different layers. There’s just something about Hong Kong that gets me energised and I never know where the days go.
Describe your business ventures in one sentence.
It keeps me on my toes and never stops giving.
Who are some of your biggest celebrity clients?
They are all such an honour to [design for] but if I had to pick: Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Jonas.
What is the craziest design request you have ever received?
These earrings that we designed for Mary J. Blige for the 2018 Met Gala, where the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. Mary J. Blige and another client of mine both loved and wanted the exact same pair of earrings. We created a new pair for my other client which took about six months to complete. The reason I think it’s so crazy is because it was such a crazy design to begin with and I never in a million years thought someone would consider wearing them.