The Journey of a Jewel
Each Neha Dani jewel takes more than six months to create. Below, follow the BRASSICA earrings from inspiration to final creation.
The Brassica family of leafy vegetables like mustard greens and cabbage is grown primarily for food. For Dani, the leaves have a lacy fractal beauty that many overlook. She was inspired to use this ruffled texture for one-of-a kind earrings.
Dani sketches different ideas for the collection in watercolor, focusing on the texture and separating the leaves from the rosette shape to make the ruffles more visible. The idea for the earrings begins to take shape, with a cascade of delicate tripetal forms.
Dani meticulously carves the wax, creating space to allow each level of the drop to move beautifully. She envisions gems cradled in the center of each level.
To maintain the texture of each leaf petal, Dani decides to use very small diamonds to pave the surface. She decides to use exceptionally rare pink diamonds along with white diamonds to create a subtle blushing effect.
For the center of each section, Dani selects old mine cut diamonds, which have larger facets than modern diamonds creating more rainbow dispersion.
Dani maps the perfect placement for each diamond to create an ombre effect from white to pink diamonds.
For this piece, Dani chooses 18k rose gold to highlight the rosy hue of the pink diamonds. Because the shapes are so complex, the forms must be cast in segments that must then be joined later.
First the craftsmen set 924 pink diamonds and 468 white diamonds in the intricate leaves. Dani often uses very tiny gems to maintain the precise outline of her carving. Setting is done under magnification so that every detail is perfect.
Only a few workshops in the world have the skill required to set so precisely on such complex three-dimensional forms. Then the four old mine diamonds are set in the center of the segments. In total there are 1,396 diamonds weighing 17.61 carats.
The Brassica earrings are complete. They move beautifully when worn and sparkle and catch the light from every direction.