Shakti is one of the incredible ethical wedding jewellery designers from our directory. She specialises in exquisite fair trade wedding and engagement rings with proper heart and soul. Based in her studio in Somerset, all of her jewellery is handcrafted and receives a special ‘blessing’. She is truly passionate about her craft and her route to designing jewellery is truly a fascinating one.
Intrigued now? Well we asked her some questions for you so you can find out more…
Ethical wedding jewellery rich in ritual and romance
Hi Shakti, welcome to the Meet the Maker series thank you for taking part. We’d love to know the back story behind your business, how did it start out?
Well, it all began back in India in 1994. I was living between Japan, Thailand and India and during a visit to Pune I became very sick with a high fever. I was living in the infamous ‘White House’ guest house and a concerned fellow traveller and resident, Asi, took me in and kept watch over me. He was a jeweller and sat at a small work bench, on the floor, hammering, soldering and sawing.
I became captivated by the intricacy of the work and the beauty of the high karat gold and gemstones he worked with. When I had recovered, he presented me with the most beautiful gold and turquoise ring…I was hooked! I knew with all certainty that this was what I was meant to be doing.
From there I followed a boyfriend to San Francisco and by an act of serendipity I got a job at The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, where I trained in the Graduate Jeweller program over the next five years. Later training with 5th Generation Armenian Master Goldsmith, Hratch Nargizian, a man of extraordinary skill and talent, who remains my mentor to this day.
Such a wonderful fascinating story! The story isn’t the only thing fascinating about your business, you describe your rings as being “rich in ritual and romance”, could you tell us more about this and what that means to you?
I sat with the Huni Quin tribe, who live in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. They instilled in me the importance of ritual in all that you do. How all things must be created with a conscious awareness and with respect to the materials you are using, where they have come from and where they are going. To the Huni Quin all of life is prayer whether they are hunting, cooking or singing. I have described in more depth the details of how this is incorporated into my work in the question on ‘little gold prayers’.
Every ring is rich in romance from the inside out, a symbol of love a commitment. This romance is created by the ancient love songs I sing as I work, by the artisanal aspect of how they are made, the prayers bestowed upon them and ultimately to the dignity given to the miners who pull this precious metal out of the earth. Visually, this romance can be see through the delicacy of the work, the ‘secret’ hearts which are carved into the back of the engagement rings, the star settings and the milligrain edging often seen in my jewellery.
I truly can’t believe this time has come – March 2017, the month that I get to celebrate The Natural Wedding Company’s 10th Birthday with you all. And what a way I get to celebrate, with a month jam-packed with exclusive wedding offers from our fabulous suppliers just for you.
It doesn’t feel that long ago that I was just dreaming up the idea for the directory. I had little idea then that it would turn into a business that would become my ‘full time’ job. Just five years ago I was celebrating with a lovely group of girls in a spring party at my house. I’m even still really good friends with three of those girls – how amazing is that.
Here I am another five years on, and I’m delighted to share another month full of offers and goodies for you all.
Exclusive wedding offers
We’ve put together all these exclusive offers in this one handy blog post. I suggest you grab a cup of something warm and set aside some time to digest the wonderful offers we have. There are offers covering all areas of your wedding, from wedding photography to wedding venues, wedding flowers to wedding rings. And more!
You’ll also find all these offers on our main Offers webpage, just look out for the ‘special offer’ badge marking them out. These offers are time-limited and only available to claim during March 2017.
Win your wedding photography
For your diary – tomorrow morning we’ll be launching a very special birthday competition to win your wedding photography. This is such a wonderful offer coming from fabulous photography duo Bohemian Weddings. Full details will be on the blog tomorrow, and again, the end of March will be the closing date for entries.
Giveaway to win a box of personalised biscuits
If you fancy winning a scrumptious box of personalised biscuits for a friend or loved one, keep an eye out on our Instagram account. We’ll be hosting a giveaway with our friend The Kitsch Hen to win a box of 12 biscuits for someone you love.
Onto the offers…
Our 2017 Eco Valentine’s Day Gift Guide
Samantha and I are sharing our favourite finds for a possible Eco Valentine’s Day gift for your loved one – women, men, and even a gift from your little ones. We’ve stuck to all UK based businesses and artisans, most of them small independent businesses. You’ll also find we’ve tried to include ideas across a span of costs, with only one true ‘blow the budget’ gift.
In putting together this guide we discovered that neither of us celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way. I’m sure lots of people choose to celebrate their love and gratitude towards each other on a daily basis. But for those who are looking to give something special or just a token of their love, here are some ideas.
Personalised Valentine’s Biscuits
The Kitsch Hen is run by a former TNWC Real Bride, Caroline (part one + part two of her wedding is not to be missed). Her iced biscuits are homemade from locally sourced ingredients, and all handstamped. We love this option because it can be personalised to a meaningful message – lyrics from ‘your’ song, a love quote from your favourite novel, or just a simple ‘I Love You’. A scrumptious Eco Valentine’s Day gift.
You Are My Favourite Valentine’s Day Card
Our friend Lucy Says I Do always has a fab offering of Valentine’s Day cards, and we love this design. Short and sweet, perfect for anyone not wanting to give an overly mushy card full of text. Printed onto FSC approved card and with a brown kraft envelope it’s a great card for the eco-chic.
Fairtrade Gold Heart Ruby Ring