To say that diamonds is in his DNA is no joke for creative director and founder of Aria Designs, Anuj Sahny. With his family in the diamond trading business since the 1970s, Antwerp-based Sahny decided to follow in their footsteps, and now finds himself at the helm of diamond jewellery brand founded on ethics and wearability that is poised to break into the UK.
Sahny took the first steps of his jewellery journey by working for a noted diamond jeweller in India, honing his skills as he learned the nitty gritty of diamond cutting, jewellery manufacturing and designing at its factory. Here, a passion for diamonds was ignited. “Once I returned to Belgium in 1994, I decided to do an intensive course that would help me better understand diamond grading,” he shares.
With this new certification under his belt, Sahny moved on to oversee the European polished diamond division of that same Indian company. He spent nearly 10 years there, before venturing out on his own in 2004 to create “a feasible and sustainable company that deals only with conflict-free diamonds mined in an eco-friendly environment”.
Building a transparent supply chain
To do this, Sahny linked up with respected diamond manufacturers in India and China, all of which adhere to regulations and stringent diamond cutting standards set by De Beers, the source of their rough diamonds. High-tech machines at the factories in India and China, as well as at Sahny’s Belgian offices, detect and weed out treated and lab-grown diamonds. He is also committed to travelling to the factories every month to monitor production, ensuring a deep understanding of his diamond supply chain.
“I wanted to ensure the diamonds they use are conflict free, natural and child labour free,” explains Sahny, who set these sustainably sourced diamonds into jewels, which he sold to luxury stores around the world.
All was going to plan, but in 2017 Sahny discovered a gap in the market for “affordable, high-end diamond jewellery manufactured entirely in Europe”, and decided he would be the one to fill it. Aria Designs began to take shape.
European-made jewels with a global flair
“Aria has various meanings, depending on the country of origin,” Sahny comments on the choice of name. “It means ‘air’ and ‘melody’ in Italian. In Albanian, the word means ‘treasure’ or ‘gold’. In Persian, it means ‘noble’.”
The diamond jewellery proffered by Aria Designs are primarily statement pieces; large earrings and cocktail rings, all ethically sourced and made in Europe. “We work solely with Europe-based artisans [for Aria Designs jewellery],” says Sahny. “This is important to us, as we are committed to supporting local craftsmen.”
The jeweller’s Western upbringing and Indian heritage have influenced his design process, delivering a fascinating mix of East and West. A wide range of inspirations, from nature to geometric shapes, echo through jewels that are a nod to modernity.
Affordable diamonds to buy for yourself
The jewellery is made with natural, non-conflict G+ VS/VVS diamonds, and a certificate is issued by the brand for each piece of its diamond jewellery. The certificates include details such as the model number, its weight in gold or platinum, the number of stones, total carat weight, and the colour and the clarity of diamonds. Each piece is also hallmarked with the brand’s logo to ensure authenticity.
The aim of Aria Designs, Sahny says, is to bring a wearable sensibility to affordable diamond jewellery crafted in gold and platinum that is geared towards self-purchasing, style-conscious women. Prices for its diamond jewels, which are sold through high-end jewellers across Europe, start at €500, though they go much higher. “We do have an exclusive collection, set with natural fancy yellow or natural fancy pink diamonds, that retails upwards of €5,000 to around €20,000,” he says.
Sahny works closely with his 10-strong team at his Antwerp office, discussing ideas for new collections and keeping track of trends in the industry to ensure its jewels remain relevant. Sahny plans to ‘drop’ new lines every two to four months to generate newness and excitement.
Plotting out a sparkling future
To check out new trends, the designer and his team regularly attend diamond and jewellery shows worldwide: Vicenza, Baselworld and JCK Vegas, among others. Sahny keeps his creative juices flowing by seeking out inspiration at fashion shows, art exhibitions and local festivals. Expanding the men’s jewellery is also on the cards, he adds.
Aria Designs’ latest jewellery collection will launch this Easter. It is realised in two-toned gold, capturing the serenity of spring and the warmth of the summer sun. “The line will also include jewels with natural fancy-coloured diamonds,” he says. The beautiful, feminine designs will be exemplified by an infusion of colour through an assortment of gemstones in varying cuts.
Collections aside, the next major milestone on the horizon for the Antwerp-based Aria Designs is to launch in the UK, and the brand took part in The Jewellery Cut Live in February 2020. “The UK is an ever-growing fashion arena and financial centre,” Sahny enthuses. “It is also one of the biggest jewellery hubs in Europe and we see this as a good space to develop. I want Aria Designs to be trusted, respected and treasured for our ethical qualities, as well as a producer and retailer of high-end diamond jewellery in Europe.” And at a time in which we are all looking for quality, ethics and value in our jewellery, there is certainly room for Aria Designs to shine.
Aria Diamonds founder Anuj Sahny
Delicate floral diamond jewellery by Aria Designs
Aria Designs flexible gold and diamond bangle and pear-shaped diamond ring
Stacks of white, yellow and rose gold and diamond rings by Aria Designs
Aria has various meanings, depending on the country of origin. It means ‘air’ and ‘melody’ in Italian. In Albanian, the word means 'treasure' or 'gold'. In Persian, it means ‘noble’
White gold and diamond cluster jewellery designs by Aria Diamonds
Clusters of small round diamonds create floral patterns in this collection by Aria Designs>
Aria Designs gold and diamond pavé rings and elegant diamond-set gold earrings