Opposites always attract: Aarkish x Jewels 4 Ever



While this pandemic has been for the least we could say the most unseen challenge that has taken us on uncharted territories, long time jewellers Anita Agrawal (of Jewels 4 Ever/Best Bargains) and Anita Bhandari (Aarkish Diamonds) have discovered that dreams can come true when you have a little bit more time on your hands and some excess inventory.

Agrawal specializes in gemstone jewellery, ranging from $200 to $2000, while Bhandari specializes in custom diamond pieces that often exceed $10,000. Both of them are 2nd generation jewellers and you would hardly guess that they have 72 years of jewellery experience between them.

Why did you choose to collaborate on pieces together?

Agrawal: Well, Anita B asked me if I wanted to speak to the FGI Toronto group which she is a board member. We had such a great time in that conversation that I immediately asked her if she wanted to create some youtube videos together.  Shortly thereafter, we found each other constantly sending photos of pieces that we liked on Instagram almost 5-6 times a day, and we realized we had a similar aesthetic while learning new things about jewellery making through our informal exchanges. Though we’ve known each other for 20 years, we never thought of working together, but this pandemic made it happen.

Bhandari: I was always impressed by Anita A’s collection of gemstones. They have some of the most beautiful and rare stones I’ve seen. I asked her one day “What are you doing with all these stones, we should make something with them. Don’t hold yourself back from making something higher end.”

How can collaborating on designs be a valuable experience during these challenging times?

Agrawal: I always wanted to make some fancy pieces but was always intimidated by the process. When you collaborate with someone who is in the same industry but specializes in something completely different, your learning curve is exponential. Toronto has so many incredible artisans and goldsmiths, so it was a great time to actually utilize some of those resources.

Bhandari: I learned a lot about coloured stones but was also able to help Anita realize the potential of coloured gems for higher-end designing. I learned that some coloured gems, like alexandrites, are rarer and more expensive than diamonds in some cases. Working with someone else can be a very fun experience. Where you can take a little bit of a risk and just brainstorm on ideas together.

What advice do you have for others who are wary of collaborating?

Agrawal: Find a partner whom you can trust. Someone who has a similar vision to you. Most importantly set the ‘intention’ of designing to ‘fun’. If you set the intention to ‘fun’ you are more relaxed and there’s less pressure.

Bhandari: Find a partner whose skills complement your own. We both learned so much by designing our pieces together. Our approach as designers was very different – where Anita A starts out with price and colour in mind, I start out with a design in mind. Bringing those two concepts together really helped us set up realistic objectives with our pieces.

So far the collaboration has resulted in two very extraordinary pieces (exclusive to CJ magazine) with 5 more on the way.

Spring Goddess Earrings:

14kt Green Gold Earrings set with 84 rare colour graduating alexandrite stones approximately 7.5cts, 2 green Afghan Aquamarines, weighing 30.96cts, and several diamonds. Total Weight 30.96gms.

Blue Flame Pendant

14kt White and Yellow Gold Pendant with over 18cts of natural sapphires and 0.73cts of natural yellow fancy diamonds. Total weight 35.7grams.