Poppy Dandiya‘s jewellery is often made in mixed metals: a combination of 18ct white and yellow gold, pure 24ct gold and silver. He uses an eclectic assortment of gemstones including rough, abstract-cut diamonds and gemstones some of which he also hand carves.
His designs have a timeless, organic and sculptural quality encompassing his Rajasthani heritage with a dynamic appreciation of the West. His designs incorporate several techniques that he has created and that are unique to him. His work succeeds in seeming both very ancient and utterly contemporary.
Born in 1955 to a family of Jains, a tiny community that practice an ancient religion and have traditionally interacted with the Hindu world of Rajasthan as traders or on occasion as jewellers or courtiers in the courts of the Rajput princes, Poppy Dandiya was initially educated with a view to him joining the Indian civil service. He was in his twenties and living in London when he realised his need to create was paramount and was encouraged by friends to enrol for gemmology and jewellery making classes following in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather.
Poppy studied at the Sir John Cass in London between 1980 and 1982. Whilst still studying, he set up a small workshop in West Hampstead experimenting and putting into practice what he was learning, selling his creations on Portobello and through Liberty and the General Trading Co.
Increasingly aware of the untapped wealth of traditional jewellery making techniques and raw materials available to him as a jeweller in Jaipur, Poppy returned home in 1982 and started to explore ways of letting his roots influence his work.
Soon after returning to India, Poppy was engaged by the Smithsonian Institute, Washington as a design consultant for the Festival of India for which he created two silver and garnet bead necklaces. These became the Smithsonian’s best sellers for several years. As a result of this, Poppy ended up establishing one of the first professional jewellery outfits in Jaipur using modern practices coupled with ancient techniques. At the same time he was appointed consultant to the Handloom and Handicraft Export Corporation, a government organisation in Delhi for which he helped to reproduce 17th century Indo-Islamic objets d’art using traditional techniques.
In 1986, Poppy set up India’s first jewellery making school in Jaipur where he taught until 1990 passing on his own skills and experience in the art of jewellery making to a new generation. Prestigious commissions and international prizes followed through the 1990s. Producing ever finer work, Poppy continued to divide his time between India and England making especially sculptural strikingly individual one-off pieces for TygerGlyn until retiring in 2013 handing his tools to his daughter.