Founded in 2013 by two travelling friends, Ongkara is a brand firmly rooted in Eastern culture with a dedication to creating jewellery that expresses positivity and inner beauty.
Ongkara engraves each design with a unique mantra that can be worn as an everyday talisman. We chat with designer and co-founder, Ilaria Frattini, about her fascinating journey and the deep meaning behind her designs.
How did Ongkara begin?
“I remember when I was young, I was always into nice ethnic jewellery and I was surrounded by beautiful pieces - there started my dreams to became a designer and to travel around the world to find inspiring objects. After many years, I found myself living in Bali creating jewellery for people living outside the island. When I decided to come back to Italy, my partner and I decided to create a brand to spread around our philosophy of life.”
What does Ongkara mean?
“Ongkara from Balinese language means Om, one of the most important spiritual symbols in Hinduism. Om is the imperishable word. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of Om. The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is Om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is Om and this is Ongkara.”
"Ongkara from Balinese language means Om, one of the most important spiritual symbols in Hinduism."
What inspires your designs?
“Eastern references, zen influences and a traveller spirit are the great themes which have characterised every collection since the beginning. The Eastern inspiration and the North European design is integrated in a unique and exclusive Italian style, deeply appreciated by the new multi-ethnic and cross-cultural generations. Our jewellery is completely made in Italy by our artisans.”
Values are hugely important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?
“Ongkara says no to any kind of prejudice when trying to experiment with new design technologies and with different styles. We allow our collections to be positively influenced by thoughts, philosophies and beliefs from different cultures.”
"'Jewellery does not MAKE you beautiful, it affirms the truth of your inherent beauty.' Author Anon.”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear your jewellery?
“Someone who wears Ongkara jewellery is a confident spiritual soul who wants to reflect their inner beauty through jewels. I want our jewellery to remind them of a special time, a special person, a special promise from others and from the self. It should make them happy and somehow provide comfort or protection. It sends society a message about who one is, without having to utter a single word. For some of us, selecting our jewellery is a ritual and preparation for facing the world. Whether conscious or unconscious, this thoughtful and deliberate self-adornment becomes a form of assemblage art. “Jewellery does not MAKE you beautiful, it affirms the truth of your inherent beauty.” Author Anon.”
How has your childhood influenced you as a designer?
“I grow up in a small town in Italy surrounded by the nature and by the sea. The water gave me a lot of flexibility in life and my parents gave me the beautiful opportunity to travel and discover different cultures. This combination gave me a curiosity for life and for all that is expression of the self.”
What’s the most meaningful piece of jewellery you’ve ever received?
“My most meaningful piece of jewellery is a very “simple one”, maybe the simplest I’ve ever received. It’s a very tiny diamond necklace with a thin white gold chain that my mom gave me for my 30th birthday. It means a lot to me, it encloses my family life teaching. The small things in life sometimes are the most shiny, precious and important. Don’t look for something big in one shot, but look for many little things coming into your life, because those are making your whole world. Diamonds represent faithfulness, love, purity, innocence, and relationships filled with love.”
"I’m just at the beginning of the trip that will bring Ongkara to be well-known around the world, giving to the people who will wear it a deep meaning of peace, love for life and respect for human beings."
Are there any clients you are particularly proud of?
“Our clients are all very successful in life, they are great people with an overall positive mental attitude. We are also well known by holistic and yogic people.”
What does the future hold for Ongkara?
“I don’t think I’ve arrived and neither am I in the middle of the way. I’m just at the beginning of the trip that will bring Ongkara to be well-known around the world, giving to the people who will wear it a deep meaning of peace, love for life and respect for human beings. I have to do a lot of work to reach the highest point, but step by step and with a lot of tenacity and passion you can do great things.”