designer Shibani Shinde Patil, Harbor East, with
some of her creations made with gemstones. She
wears purple and pink sapphire and diamond
earrings, and a rubellite diamond ring.
Md. ó When Shibani Shinde Patil received an email from
British Vogue in August telling her that her jewelry
would be included in the lauded fashion glossy, she
thought it was a joke.
immediately contacted the magazineís offices in
London. When the Baltimore resident learned that the
e-mail was in fact legitimate, she was still in
I started believing emails," she said with a laugh.
just a year, Shinde Patilís luxury jewelry collection,
Ri Noor, has vaulted to the upper echelons of the design
world. And sheís done it all from her Harbor East
ascent is a rarity ó especially without a celebrity
wearing her merchandise or a major social media imprint
(the company has just 61 Instagram followers). But
somehow the young brand has managed to get featured on
the websites of Stilorama and Jewel Street, two
British-based retailers that focus on luxury designers.
been successful. I should have done it sooner,"
Shinde Patil, 38, said as she sat in her spacious
neutral-hued living room where wall-length windows
provide a sweeping view of Baltimoreís cityscape.
Shinde Patil was preparing to hold a trunk show in New
York and release a holiday collection and had just
returned from New York City, where she visited the
showroom she works with there.
little more than a year ago, Shinde Patil was designing
jewelry on the side while working as a principal at
GenCo Strategy, an energy company.
worked in the energy world my whole career," she
explained. "I really liked what I did, but I was
always drawn to entrepreneurship."
then Shinde Patil had her son, Rishi.
wanted to be around him and have flexibility," she
said of the 17-month-old for whom she named her company
("noor" means "light"). "I
wanted to do something that I loved. Once I had the baby
it was a now-or-never moment. Doing something you love
changes your outlook."
large stark-white dresser adorned with a laser-cut
pattern contains all her neatly organized magic: the raw
fine stones and jewelry sketches in various states of
completion. It is here that the jewelry maker sketches
donít make any sense without the stones," she
said as she leafed through sketches in pencil of various
types of jewelry.
Washington, senior fashion and beauty editor at Brit
& Co., calls Ri Noor jewelry
Noor is a brand that understands how contemporary women
want to wear fine jewelry," she said. "Each
piece is the perfect mix of statement-making and subtle
that elevates anything from a classic sweater-and-jeans
combo to an evening gown."
the encouragement of her husband, Karthik, a
Constellation manager of trading for the Mid-Atlantic
region, Shinde Patil started working with Wolf &
Badger, an international retailer that features
independent fashion, jewelry, accessory and beauty
brands, and cold contacting various fashion retailers
and publications worldwide. Her efforts paid off with
interest from magazines and jewelry websites. She keeps
copies of the magazines her jewelry has been featured in
ó including British Vogue and Elle UK ó in the
dresser with her sketches.
not an easy path. But it has been a great journey,"
said Shinde Patil. "Itís kind of validating ó
the interest weíve been getting.
lot of it is chance and luck," she said, launching
into a story about how she struck up a friendship with a
gemologist in India who became a mentor and helped her
navigate through the industry.
though the Ri Noor brand is fairly young, Shinde Patil
has been designing jewelry since she was 19.
could never find jewelry that I really loved," she
said. "My parents encouraged me to make my own
Patil moved to the United States to go to college. She
earned her undergraduate degree and a masterís in
financial economics from Ohio University and her MBA
from Drexel University in 2006. She moved to Baltimore
in 2012 for her work in the energy field.
starting her company, thereís been a lot of
been very humbling," she said. "I was very
confident about my style. I thought I would be an
instant hit. "
there was a lot of rejection.
even had someone unfriend me on Facebook," she said
in reference to a contact who severed ties with her
because she posted too many photos of her jewelry.
finally come around," she said. "I do feel now
I have a good spectrum of people to work with."
Patil has worked with Wolf & Badger since May.
a fine jewelry brand to succeed, they need to offer
something truly unique to a customer. Beyond gorgeous
jewelry, Ri Noor offers customers an intimate and
luxurious experience," said Camila Noelle, head of
U.S. operations for Wolf & Badger. "Customers
that have met Shibani understand that theyíre speaking
to a fine jewelry expert. She not only shares her
extensive knowledge of gemstones and materials but her
approach is friendly and engaging."
type of interaction is what sold John Keefe, a portfolio
manager from Severna Park and one of Ri Noorís first
customers last November, when he purchased a blue enamel
cuff with silver inlay for his wife. By May, he had
purchased two more pieces ó a blue turquoise cocktail
ring and diamond pendant necklace ó as a gift for
their 25th wedding anniversary.
has a good eye. She has things that are not
cookie-cutter. I like the quality of it," said
Keefe, who works with Shinde Patilís husband. "I
feel like Iíve gotten on the ground floor of
something. Iím very happy that my wife likes the
pieces. Ö They spark conversation when my wife wears
added: "Shibani pays extremely close attention to
exactly what cut, color and material will make each
piece transitional, elegant and striking. Every piece is
unique but her collections are cohesive in the sense
that every piece is timeless and can be worn on any
Patil attributes a large portion of her success to her
ability to work with unusual stone shapes and slices of
stones, which make her pieces thousands of dollars less
expensive than other designers who work with whole
stones. Her pieces range in price from $300 to $20,000.
find creative ways to work with the stones," she
said. "Iíll use different types of
DiMarco, director of education at the Maryland Fashion
Institute, was immediately impressed by the collection.
think they are very classy," she said. "They
have nice clean lines. They are not very busy."
who just returned from a trip to Italy, said Shinde
Patilís jewelry is on trend with the pieces she saw in
saw a lot of those types of looks overseas," she
said. "I could see a lot of consumers being
interested. They arenít outlandish and gaudy at all.
She has beautiful shapes. And of course she works with a
magnificent array of real stones and metals. I can see
designing a dress around her jewelry."
was particularly impressed by Shinde Patilís quick
must be extremely talented to navigate that and to be
positioned in those magazines," DiMarco said.
addition to British Vogue and Elle UK, Ri Noor has been
featured in Tatler UK, and Harpers Bazaar UK.
Iíd like to be in the U.S.," Shinde Patil said.
"I havenít had the bandwidth. But my collection
predicts major success for the brand in the U.S., in
large part because of its pricing and "creative use
of fine stones."
added, "It enables her to offer customers such
impactful pieces at an affordable price point. This type
of smart design and economy of jewels is what will set
her apart from pricier options and position her for
hopes that Ri Noor is able to maintain its design
producing unique pieces. If she stays unique and
creative and she remains more couture than
ready-to-wear, sheíll be successful," DiMarco
said. "Hopefully that creativity stays there when
that business grows."