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Jewels to Empower

A movie star, glamourous jewels and a good cause all came together in Gemfields’ Project Blossoming.

By Amber Michelle

Actress Chitrangda Singh wearing a necklace by Anmol Jewellers, Mumbai; dress by Dior. Creative direction and styling by Nikhil Mansata.
Photographer: Riddhibrata Burma for Nanhi Kali and Gemfields.
As an industry that caters mostly to women, it is appropriate that jewelers do their part to make the world a better place for women, not just through creating jewelry that is a beautiful adornment, but as a way of helping women to have a brighter future. One of the countries where women need the most help is India.
   According to a recent Thomson Reuters global poll, India is the worst country for women among the G20s due to several issues, including infanticide, forced child marriages and domestic slavery. Another Thomson Reuters poll found that India is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for women.
   One of the ways to help women become more empowered is to provide them with an education when they are girls. Today over 50 percent of girls growing up in India do not get to complete their education due to lack of opportunity, gender stereotyping and domestic pressures, according to the Indian Planning Commission.
   In an effort to increase education of girls in India, miner Gemfields partnered with Project Nanhi Kali. The result was Project Blossoming, a philanthropic partnership with ten of India’s most important jewelers. The idea is that by creating rare and exquisite pieces of jewelry, funds will be raised to provide support for girls in India.
   Established in 1996, Project Nanhi Kali has a mission to provide quality education to underprivileged girls in India. Jointly managed by the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation, the project reaches out to over 90,000 girls across nine states in India, covering some of the most deprived, remote and difficult regions of the country. The project ensures that underprivileged girls gain access to quality education by providing academic support, material support and social support that also involves counseling parents and the community on the importance of issues related to education for girls and gender equality.
   Ten jewelry designers from various cities in India stepped up and created very special pieces to raise funds for Nanhi Kalis through Project Blossoming: Hazoorilal and Mirari, New Delhi; Anmol Jewellers and Moksh, Mumbai; Amrapali, Jaipur; Talwarsons Jewellers, Chandigarh; Tibarumals Jewellers, Hyderabad; Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers, Lucknow; Abaran, Bangalore and Narayan Jewellers, Vadodara.
   “I am delighted with the response we received from this philanthropic project,” said Ian Harebottle, Gemfields chief executive officer (CEO). “Its success has made our resolve even stronger to do more in the coming years in India.”
   The Project Blossoming Collection of jewelry was recently auctioned by Christie’s in Mumbai. The pieces used emeralds from Zambia and rubies from Mozambique, all sourced from the mines of Gemfields. The auction reached its goal of raising sufficient funds to provide an education for 2,500 underprivileged girls for one year.
   “Project Blossoming has been such an inspiring initiative,” says Sheetal Mehta, trustee and executive director, K.C. Mahindra Education Trust. “The auction has managed to raise an astounding figure, which I am sure will bring smiles and give hope to many young girls.’
   The glamourous event was held in the Regal Room of the Trident Hotel in Mumbai. In addition to the Who’s Who of Indian society, Project Blossoming Ambassador and actress Chitrangda Singh was in attendance. One of Indian cinema’s most acclaimed actresses, she is also the embodiment of the modern, educated and empowered Indian woman. “As India develops and society evolves, we owe it to our daughters to allow them opportunities,” concludes Singh. “As a public figure, it is a privilege for me to be involved in Project Blossoming — I am aware of my responsibility to young girls and through the sale of these extraordinary pieces of jewelry, I hope that we can make a real difference in the lives of many.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2014. To subscribe click here.

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