At first glance, the colourful designs of Modern Moghul jewellery don’t scream “architecture”. But the line is designed by an architect, Texas-based Bibiana “Biby” Dykema, who started the brand as a side project six years ago and has since seen it flourish into a full-on business selling bold and bright fine jewellery made in India.
The company began, however, with a discussion about textiles for a hotel renovation project. “The client’s home was in Ahmedabad, India, and he suggested I go there to get fabrics,” recalls Dykema. She did indeed find a wealth of fabrics, but was also so struck by the expert jewellery fabricators she met that she decided to design a few pieces herself. Their success led to the formation of Modern Moghul, which today offers eye-catching pieces such as the large, pearl-centred Usha ring ($1,100) surrounded by faceted tourmalines in a rainbow of colours, and the crescent-shaped Vishaka necklace ($5,800) set with dozens of different-shaped blue sapphires.
These are not jewels for the shy or retiring; they reflect the vibrant personal aesthetic of Dykema, who, when I met her in New York, had layered no fewer than three prints with Gucci brocade mules and an Edie Parker box clutch with the word “karma” on it. “People say my pieces are either very organic or very architectural,” she says. The architectural element can certainly be seen in the delightful Divya ring ($1,700): a cleverly designed cage of pavé diamonds surround a band of pavé amethysts. The Paksa earrings ($3,800), meanwhile, lean towards the organic with 6cm tear-shaped drops of pavé diamonds and faceted emeralds. For those who prefer a more demure earring option, Dykema suggests Adra ($1,000), her own personal “go-to day earring” featuring a rough-cut diamond circled by pavé diamonds.
One of the site’s real showstoppers is the Akar bracelet ($15,000) set with over 35 carats of rubies and diamonds, where each and every stone is handset in a harlequin pattern. It’s the sort of piece one could dress up, or down. “It’s a major statement,” Dykema enthuses. “You can wear it alone and it makes your whole look.”