As a child of Sri Lankan heritage growing up in New Zealand, Briarcliff Manor resident Rosena Sammi was fascinated by jewelry. “I would see my mother dress in all her traditional Sri Lankan jewelry,” she recalls. “I also studied classical Indian dancing—Bharata Natyam—in which decorative jewelry is a huge part of the expressive storytelling.” It was after an eight-year detour practicing law in Manhattan that she decided to return to her first love, launching her eponymous company in 2006. “I wanted to put a modern twist on traditional Indian jewelry,” she says, “to make it wearable and translatable into the wardrobe of a modern cosmopolitan woman.”
Eight years later, her global-chic “attainable luxury” brand, all handcrafted in India, has won her accolades from the fashion press and red-carpet set. Named a “designer to know” by Harper’s Bazaar, Sammi counts Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, and Bedford’s own Blake Lively among her celeb fans. Right now, says the designer, her collection is all about color and fun. “Jewelry should make you happy and be easy to wear,” she adds, “so that’s my mantra during the warmer months.” Epitomizing that vibe are Sammi’s signature Monsoon bangles, a collection of lightweight silk-wrapped bangles in a variety of textures, patterns, and colors. “We sell simple sets perfect for the beach and sets mixed with jeweled bangles for a night out,” says Sammi. “They are a fantastic transition piece and always turning heads.” Priced from $30 to $500, Rosena Sammi Jewelry is available locally at Neiman Marcus in White Plains. For more info: www.rosenasammi.com.