Jewellery Diva and Style Icon of Jammu: Neetu Bali

Pallavi Sareen

The jewellery diva of Jammu and Kashmir, born with a silver spoon Neetu Bali spends her time running businesses inherited from her father and her own venture Sundar Gems and Jewellery from Gandhi Nagar.

The outer extension of her home adorns the samples of her handmade jewellery and as one enters the inner room, the ambience is that of a royal princess. Her image in which she is seen modelling for her self-designed jewellery lays strikingly on the front wall. Elegance, beauty and style are things inseparable from a woman and Neetu credits her good taste to her mother. Her mother used to be the one, before her, who made all the style decisions of the house.

Neetu Bali modelling her own jewellery

As a young teenager, she travelled to England on her own, backed by her good command over language through her years of studies in a convent and filled with childish confidence. Her family was adamant on sending her on travel expeditions to increase her exposure with the outside world. The western tradition was a complete cultural shock for her and yet it taught her to be more independent. Daughter of H.S Bali, Chairman Legislative Council during his time, she dedicates her success to her father who brought her up ‘like a son’.

“I have two sisters who are quite elder to me. And when my father passed away, I was just 26. I inherited his logistics business and it was a tough time for me. I was new to entrepreneurship, quite overwhelmed but when things finally got worked out, I was on the seventh sky. I had done it as I believed I could,” said Neetu Bali.

Neetu is a true businesswoman who models her own jewellery and sees her intrinsic desires as the first inspiration. With the motto of “I create designs which I would love to wear”, she is also inspired by antique jewellery, royal designs and nature. She also shared hilarious true tales of when women who bought her jewellery would brag about it in front of others, without giving her due credit. They would say they had gotten it from designers in Mumbai, Delhi or Udaipur and that really pinched her. An artist’s real appreciation is in the credit she deserves. Social media, believes Neetu, revolutionised the way she handled her business. It opened up new opportunities and made things completely transparent. Her reach expanded, she got to take advantage of the visual appeal she created with her designs and her own modelling. This led to the business booming over the years.

Neetu lives in Jammu with her husband Randheer Singh. While she adores her husband for always being supportive of the work she does, she believes that as long as a woman herself believes that she is no less than a man, no obstacle can come in her path. On being asked why she didn’t choose a different career path despite having studied law, she said, “I am a free bird and any other job would have restricted me. With my own venture, I decide when I want to work and how much I want to work. It is complete freedom. I might sit and design in the middle of the night or early in the morning while taking care of my family during the day. I am used to having my freedom and I love it.”

Despite having a successful handmade jewellery store, she continues to run her father’s business and even plans on expanding to other fields. A woman with a true entrepreneurial spark, she manages her time to give due attention to the money matters as well as the family matters. She believes that Jammu is known for its hospitality and the people here are quite warm and accommodating. She uses her jewellery designs to preserve that warmth and culture of Jammu.

Blessed with two sons, Neetu longs for a daughter she could have shared her love for jewellery with. Besides business, jewellery designing and modelling, she is quite fond of writing and reading poetry as well.