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In Conversation With Kama by Raji: Wearable Art Inspired by Sri Lankan Heritage 

At Kama by Raji, Sri Lankan gemstones are transformed into stunning jewelry. We had the pleasure of speaking with Raji, the visionary founder whose journey from lingerie designer to purveyor of fine jewelry is as captivating as her creations. 

With a deep-rooted appreciation for her Sri Lankan heritage and an eye for international design, Raji brings a unique perspective to the world of jewelry. Inspired by the vibrant colors of nature and the intricate patterns of temple art, Kama by Raji celebrates the timeless beauty of gemstones, meticulously crafted by generations of skilled artisans. Ahead, we explore her passion for design, her new collection, and well as her aspirations for the future. 

What inspired you to become a jewelry designer? 

As long as I remember I have been drawn to creativity, design, and art. I pursued my higher studies at The London College of Fashion in womenswear fashion design and technology, which then led me to a career as a lingerie designer. After a long and satisfying time as a lingerie designer, I felt it was time to continue my love for design through a different avenue. 

I have always loved wearing statement rings, and I live in a country where there is an array of exquisite jewelry. This inspired me to bring a small piece of Sri Lanka to the world through Hong Kong. Being a fashion designer also meant that I understood the fashion industry and how it was constantly changing, evolving and sometimes revolving with an updated spin. I wanted to bring some elements of how the fashion industry worked into jewelry and to bring a new outlook on how we look at jewelry. Gemstones last a long time unlike clothing. Art too is preserved for years! Gemstone jewelry should not be just jewelry. Kama by Raji was born with the aspiration of creating wearable art!

How has your Sri Lankan heritage influenced your design aesthetic? 

My Sri Lankan heritage meant that I always had an appreciation for your gemstones as well as the craftsmanship of your handmade jewelry. I also had a love for our temple paintings and patterns which are an inspiration for some of the settings created for Kama by Raji. The intricate and detailed settings which are a signature feature of the brand are achieved by craftsmen trained through generations of handmade jewelry.

Please give us a preview of your upcoming collection being launched in Sri Lanka. What inspired this collection? 

The new collection is inspired by the colors of nature–the colors that appear in sync. Sunsets are not just yellow, if you really look. There is some rose garnet, some amethyst and some hessonite! A leaf is not always just green and a field meets the sky in perfect harmony. Gemstones are naturally made and they are the most stunning colors. The collection is about the perfect shades of gemstones portraying the colors of nature, designed into exquisite wearable art.

What was your creative process while developing the collection? 

My process is mainly driven by the gemstones. Sometimes it’s one specific gemstone that inspires a collection. Once I have the direction through the gemstones, it’s in my sketchbook that the designs come to life. I would work on multiple design ideas and color combinations till I arrive at the perfect design.

You’re based in Hong Kong. How has the city influenced your work and the designs we see in our collection? 

Hong Kong is a vibrant, diverse, and multicultural city. While Kama by Raji is all about Sri Lankan gemstones and sublime workmanship in handmade jewelry, it has been a brand predominantly based in Hong Kong. The city has inspired in creating wearable art for an international clientele.

How important are materials and craftsmanship to you? 

I love working with all coloured gemstones and absolutely enjoy pairing different ones together. If you know the brand, you’ll be aware that we work predominantly with rose gold and role gold plated settings. I feel that rose gold accentuates and enhances the colors of the gemstones. 

I am all about the work that goes into arriving at a perfect final piece with no compromise. So it goes without saying that the key to bringing the perfect design to life is the workmanship of each item which is individually designed.

Hosting your collection launch in Sri Lanka is significant. What does this event mean to you personally and professionally? 

Since the inception the collections were launched in Hong Kong, each time more exciting than the previous. I take pride in being a small brand with a significant identity. A brand that was initiated with the plan to take Sri Lankan gemstone jewelry to international clients through Hong Kong. I couldn’t be more excited to launch the next collection in Sri Lanka.

What are your aspirations for Kama by Raji in the years to come? 

Looking ahead, Kama by Raji will continue to have a major presence in Hong Kong. It has become a brand customers return to and has evolved greatly from a collection to a brand of bespoke pieces. My aspiration for the brand is that it grows so that everyone wants to own a piece of Kama by Raji. I want to bring to life one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art with exquisite gemstones and grow as a bespoke brand.

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