Returning to JCK Tucson this year is the delightful Kaali Designs, a brand named after the Hindu goddess Kali. Created by Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate gemologist Anit Dodhia, Kaali Designs specializes in handmade pieces inspired by the Indian Ocean—calm and reflective, dark and stormy, too.
Based in San Diego, Dodhia is originally from Mombasa, Kenya, growing up in a culturally rich Indian community, with a family in the jewelry business. I talked to Anit about his inspiration, new collections and what’s getting him excited for the upcoming JCK Tucson show.
How did you get your start in the jewelry industry?
My family has been exporting gems from East Africa since the early 80’s. Working for my dad in his gallery in Old Town Mombasa triggered something in me—I really fell in love with gemstones. I did my G.G. at GIA, returned home, and started my own business selling loose stones in Africa. When I moved to the U.S. with my wife in 2010, I started to play around with design, and it was then that I found my true passion and I’ve never looked back.
What inspires your design?
I love nature, especially from the area where I was born. East Africa is beautiful, and the land has so much inspiration to offer. For example, my Acacia earrings resemble the thorns found on the acacia trees. My signature textured finish is inspired by the rugged landscape of the national parks of East Africa as well.
What are you most looking forward to at JCK Tucson this year?
Connecting with retailers and showcasing new designs. JCK Tucson is always a fantastic event and a great show for Kaali Designs.
Can you give us a hint or sneak peek as to what you’ll be showcasing this year?
In previous years, I’ve focused on rings, but this show I’m very excited to share my new designs in earrings.
What is your number one tip for first-time visitors to JCK Tucson?
JCK has made this show into a very intimate setting that draws a great selection of exhibitors and retailers. You can take your time to get to know the exhibitors, because you’ll have time to circle the hall more than once.