The founder of Jewel Jar - Parneet Kaur – launched the business just before the pandemic after working in styling, image consulting and marketing for almost a decade. During childhood, Parneet suffered from body image issues and bullying that had a detrimental impact on her confidence. While clothes didn’t make her feel good about herself and caused anxiety, she learnt that jewellery made her feel beautiful and empowered – becoming her style and personality. She believes that jewellery is a form of self-expression that empowers people to be experimental with their own style. Coming from an Indian heritage herself, she found that traditional jewellery was often limited to special occasions so set about bringing together an eclectic mix of jewellery with personality for diverse women to wear whatever the occasion.
In an exclusive Q&A with Asian Voice, Parneet answers some pertinent questions:
Q - Tell us a bit about your inhibitions about body image as a young person and how did you overcome them?
During childhood, I suffered from body image issues and bullying that had a detrimental impact on my confidence. While clothes didn’t make me feel good about myself and caused anxiety, I learnt that jewellery made me feel empowered. It became my style and personality. I believe that jewellery is a form of self-expression that gives people the self-belief to be experimental with their own style.
Q - Looking back today, what do you wish you'd have done differently or received a certain kind of counselling or assistance?
I don’t regret anything because it was my journey and it taught me many things - most importantly the value of a healthy mind and body. It taught me to be strong and make changes to my life. There were tough times too. My mental health was impacted and I developed various complexes so it would have been good to know that help existed.
Q - Asians love jewellery, but what's the right way to select the kind of jewels that suit you? Is there math behind it?
As an image consultant, I would advise that face shape and skin tones play important roles. It’s all about balance. For people with a round face, hoop earrings may not work while warmer skin tones suit gold jewellery the best. Don’t let the jewellery take over your personality, simply wear items that add to rather than detract from your personality.
Q - Our community has a habit of sharing jewellery within the family. Would you recommend that given we're still not out of a pandemic?
Sharing jewellery in our culture is an expression of love as many pieces are family heirlooms. For fine jewellery, if disinfecting using warm water and soap, sharing could be an option. For artificial jewellery, it’s a lot trickier as water can damage the pieces. Options like UV sanitisers can be used to disinfect fragile or artificial jewellery. At the end of the day, it is a personal choice.
Q - What's the best way to maintain the jewellery we buy?
For artificial jewels, keep them away from water, moisture, perfume and hair spray. Store them in a sealable pouch or bag and do not store them on top of one another as they may scratch. Don’t wear them while exercising. Wipe items with a microfiber cloth if they need cleaning.
Q - What do you think would be the post-pandemic trend in jewellery?
The pandemic has taught us to be cautious spenders and move towards slow fashion trends. I advocate versatility and believe we should re-wear the pieces we love in several ways for several occasions. At Jewel Jar, I carefully handpick contemporary pieces that can be worn with both Indian and western outfits which offer much better value for money and you get to be creative!
Q - As an entrepreneur who started before the pandemic, how did it impact your business and what kind of changes and challenges did you see?
My initial aim was to showcase the collection through pop-ups and events so people could witness the quality of the collection in person, which is crucial for jewellery. I had to pivot to online a lot sooner than expected which was difficult in terms of readiness, resources and skills. Other than that, mental motivation to keep going and monetary resources were other challenges.
However, as restrictions have now eased, I’m delighted to announce that we will be touring the country to stage a series of exciting pop-up events to introduce our beautiful jewellery to a wider audience on the following dates:
York – 24 September
Manchester – date to be confirmed
London – 23 October
A virtual event will also take place on 17 October.
For more information, please visit www.jeweljar.com