By the time he was 12, Amarendran was sitting with diamond experts and learning the tricks of the trade—from understanding the importance of various diamond cuts and shapes to watching them get encrusted into heavy ornaments in his backyard which also served as a temporary work shed. “Creating jewellery for temples is very challenging and calls for meticulous craftmanship,” he explains. “The Vedas are very strict about what precious metals can be used and what sort of depictions can be carved on the ornaments so the designing process can itself take up to two months,” he adds. Among some of their unique creations is the platinum sacred thread for Lord Balaji in Tirupati which has a stunning Brahmamudi or knot made of 30 carats of diamonds.
The concept of gorgeous temple jewellery that has flooded the fashion mise en scène, has its origins in the jewellery that was once offered to temple deities. “The artwork on these ornaments draw heavily from the architecture, sculptures and the carvings on temple pillars and doors. This makes our traditional jewellery a treasure troves of stories that speak of India’s rich cultural heritage,” he says. Indian motifs typically depict nature, through recurring elements like lotuses, trees, twigs, leaves, sun, stars, and swans have been precious gems encrusted on heavily beaten sheets of gold. “Magnificent architectural gems like Meenakshi Temple in Madurai, Srirangam in Trichy, Tirupati Balaji temple in Tirumala and the temples of Tanjore have left a deep impression in my mind in terms of design. I usually draw inspiration from their aesthetics when I create jewellery that needs to speak of India’s historical beauty,” shares Amarendran.