Finding Beauty, Skill, and Dignity in the Himalayas

Ethical jewelry designer and Kaligarh founder Jyoti Upadhyay talks to us about her work with small-scale artisans in Nepal’s Himalayan region.

Tell us about the company.

Kaligarh is an ethical jewelry brand based in Kathmandu and London. We work to support independent and small-scale artisans in the Himalayan region

What did you do before this?

Before Kaligarh, I worked in luxury travel. That involved designing and managing trips to Nepal for high-profile guests (as well as a host of other things). Before that I worked in international development.

Who benefits from your work?

Independent and small-scale artisans. At the moment we work with artisans in the Kathmandu Valley, but are planning to expand to a few other areas in the Himalayan region. However, we’re taking it slow, as deep, sustainable impact is very important to us.

Did you have any prior personal connections to the place or the people?

My mother grew up in Nepal, and my father is from India, so as a child I spent many summers in the region. One of my few childhood memories of Kathmandu is walking through the crowded marketplace around Asan and Indra Chowk, weaving through the lanes with my aunt en route to her goldsmith. She always had a ring to resize or something else to fix. He was tucked away in a small studio in a narrow alley in the old part of town. Years later, when I decided to start Kaligarh, I spent a lot of time scouring the valley to find independent traditional artisans like him


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