Headdresses crafted in India make for meaningful and intricate high jewellery

Estaa’s headdresses in gold, silver, titanium and aluminium are created in workshops across India, from the Rajasthan deserts in the west to the temple roof carvers in the south

Headdress in gold and diamonds with sketch showing how it is worn on the forehead
(Image credit: press)

For Mumbai-based jewellers Estaa, headdresses make for spiritual and spectacular high jewellery.

The intricate pieces weave traditional stories into gold, silver, titanium and aluminium webs, studding their silhouettes with diamonds, gemstones and pearls, all sourced in India. Estaa have created headdresses for bridal ensembles since their launch in 2009; recently, founders Swati Shah and Pratik Shah have noticed a shift towards a younger clientele. ‘They are deconstructing heavy Indian jewelry yet retaining its essence,’ Pratik Shah notes.

Estaa headdress in gold with precious gems.

(Image credit: press)

Estaa headdress in diamonds with a focal emerald

(Image credit: press)

Their headpieces, as well as being technically accomplished, pay heed to spiritual traditions. ‘I discovered the ancient science of natural medicine through marma points - the specific points on the body that stimulate a chakra and are a spiritual energy centre. In the case of headpieces, they stimulate the third eye, which is located ‘behind’ the centre of the forehead and believed to be the seat of the soul.’ The headpieces are designed to sit in the centre of the forehead, a dazzling focal point.

Jewellery is crafted in workshops across India, from the Rajasthan deserts in the west, to the temple roof carvers in the south. ‘We work with different artists all over India for specific crafts,’ says Shah. ‘For example, the best enamel hand work I have ever seen is from a 75 year old artist we work with in Bikaner, an old desert city in the northwest. Some spectacular traditional gold relief work is commissioned to an artist who comes from a family of gold temple roof carvers. He lives in Hyderabad in the south, an ancient Mughal city. They are both at least fourth generation craftsmen, and their skill is very distinctive, deeply influenced by their own regions’ and family’s history.’

In the workshop, metalsmiths, gem-setters, and designers work on every piece, collaborating when needed with other specialists. ‘For example in the uncut diamond headpiece, we worked with the following craftsmen: designer, master goldsmith, silver foil maker, diamond cutter and polisher, jadai gem setter, gold polisher, enameler and a bead stringer,’ adds Shah. The results are spectacular pieces of craftsmanship which bring an intricate opulence and spirituality to high jewellery design; ‘Estaa seeks to inspire and be inspired by crafting fine jewellery that interweaves wisdom with gemstones and metal, while rooted in the now.’

Estaa headdress in diamonds with dangling emeralds

(Image credit: press)

Estaa headdress in yellow gold with rubies

(Image credit: press)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.