Brass Aaran Band

This simple yet elegant ring is part of the Aaran Collection where jewellery is made using the basic technique of hammering metal by hand.

Handmade from hammered brass by artisans in Nepal.


Jyoti Upadhyay is the socially conscious entrepreneur behind Kaligarh, an ethical jewellery company based in the bustling capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. The company pays tribute to the art and artisans of the Himalayan region, both ancient and contemporary by experimenting with motifs and designs inherited from generations past, re-crafting them into new forms. Kaligarh is a Nepali word for anyone who does skilled work with his or her hands. In everyday language, its used to refer to jewellery artisans. With yearly childhood visits over to Nepal from the UK where she was born and raised, Jyoti developed a fascination for the country of her heritage. Years later after completing her studies in Anthropology and International Development she decided to work in advocacy on behalf of the world’s least developed countries then socially responsible tourism which all provided valuable experience ahead of going on to set up Kaligarh.

Each Kaligarh product is handmade by small-scale artisans in Nepal and elsewhere in the Himalayan region, most of whom work independently in their homes or in small workshops. These skilled artisans are at the centre of the company and treated with the utmost respect, many of them are caring for large multi-generational families so the premium rates they receive often benefit numerous relatives also. Kaligarh is very much aware of the challenges faced by artisans who continue the traditions of their ancestors, traditional artisanship is on the decline in Nepal and across the Himalayan region. The influx of low-cost foreign goods means that handmade items are only required for specific religious rituals. As a consequence, young people are not pursuing these arts, but are leaving – alongside skilled craftsmen – to pursue unskilled labour in the Gulf, often working under gruelling conditions, far from their families. Through their jewellery lines, Kaligarh aims to promote the work of Himalayan artists and in some way, help to revive fading artistic traditions. By working with artisans on a one -to-one basis, they aim to retain a positive sense of identity while enhancing their incomes and providing local jobs.

The communities of the Himalayan region are especially vulnerable to environmental change, including global warming. Thus sustainability is key to Kaligarh’s ethos and production strategy. In addition to using gold silver and brass for jewellery lines Kaligarh use Nepali handmade paper, made from the bark of the lokta plant along with recycled card. In all operations, they are mindful to avoid the use of materials that are not recyclable.

Kaligarh is recognised as a Fair Trade supplier by the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS), and is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum.

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