Payal Mehta, the founder of Payal New York, is an independent jewelry designer specializing in bespoke fine jewelry. She also produces a handful of fresh, easy-to-wear fine jewelry collections based on inspirational, tailor-made themes with stones and motifs that speak directly to women’s spirit and natural inner strength.

The daughter of a jewelry designer, Mehta tried her hand at many things before embracing jewelry design herself. As a student, she studied math and physics while fantasizing about becoming an interior architect. Although she eventually married a diamond merchant, she continued her studies in art and history while raising two daughters in New York. She became a certified chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, studied model drawing at FIT, and earned a diploma at the New York School of Interior Design.

Coming full circle and embracing jewelry design was a journey of self-discovery. “I realized that I wanted a creative outlet to define my universe,” Mehta explains.

In 2009, she fleshed out a concept that became Payal New York. “A woman’s individual personality is her most important quality. My idea was to design jewelry that would speak to a woman’s character and reflect her spirit while remaining easy – jewelry is meant to be worn, not hidden in a safe,” she observes.

In a neat piece of symmetry, in Indian tradition, a “payal” is an ornament worn around the ankle, a symbol of fashion and femininity. That said, Payal’s vision is about preserving artisanal craftsmanship while moving beyond tradition in favor of honoring spirit, form and function. “Creating jewelry as wearable works of art fulfills my sense of purpose in the world,” the designer notes. “Form follows function in everything I do.”

In 2015, Payal was selected to be the official jeweler to Le Bal des Débutantes, the first independent designer – and first woman – to be so honored. For that event, Payal New York created special, one-off pieces for every debutante to reflect her unique personality.