ETER­NAL SPARKLE OF IN­NO­VA­TION

Marwar - - Contents - Text Annabel Dsouza Pho­to­graphs Pranab Aich

Having pre­served royal her­itage and cre­ative crafts­man­ship in the world of gems and jew­ellery for over a cen­tury, Jaipur-based Jew­els Em­po­rium is now re­defin­ing con­ven­tional jew­ellery de­signs and rewrit­ing the rules of the in­dus­try in In­dia.

Having pre­served royal her­itage and cre­ative crafts­man­ship in the world of gems and jew­ellery for over a cen­tury, Jaipur-based Jew­els Em­po­rium is now re­defin­ing con­ven­tional jew­ellery de­signs and rewrit­ing the rules of the in­dus­try in In­dia.

PABLO PI­CASSO IS KNOWN TO HAVE FA­MOUSLY said, “The chief en­emy of cre­ativ­ity is good sense.” While metic­u­lously tak­ing for­ward the legacy of his an­ces­tors, eighth-gen­er­a­tion jew­ellery en­tre­pre­neur Anup Bohra has of­ten thrown cau­tion to the wind in his sin­gle-minded pur­suit for beauty, cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion. “As a young boy, I always dreamt of mak­ing my com­pany an in­ter­na­tional brand. How­ever, be­fore that I wanted to en­sure that my In­dian clien­tele felt proud wear­ing and pos­sess­ing a brand that matched the high­est in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, but was cre­ated by an In­dian com­pany,” says Bohra, who re­alised that he would have to de­sign and man­u­fac­ture “ex­tra­or­di­nary jew­els” to achieve his goal fairly early on in his ca­reer.

While churn­ing out prof­its is in­te­gral to ev­ery suc­cess­ful busi­ness, it is wealth of an en­tirely dif­fer­ent kind that Bohra has set his heart on. He ex­plains, “It is rather easy for me to make quick money in this busi­ness. How­ever, I wish to cre­ate wealth for my­self, my fam­ily, the jew­ellery com­mu­nity and the en­tire na­tion. When I say ‘cre­ate wealth’, I mean cre­at­ing the finest bank of de­signs, ar­ti­sans and like-minded jew­ellery en­thu­si­asts. For this, I have of­ten had to take de­ci­sions that ob­struct im­me­di­ate mon­e­tary gains.”

Cre­ative cor­ner­stone

As a coun­try that was of­ten de­scribed as the ‘Jewel in the crown of the Bri­tish em­pire’, In­dia has a long and il­lus­tri­ous his­tory of pro­duc­ing some of the finest and most cel­e­brated pieces of jew­ellery in the world.

Es­tab­lished in 1841 by Tarac­hand Bohra, the be­gin­nings of Jew­els Em­po­rium are in­trin­si­cally linked to the his­tory of jew­ellery-mak­ing in In­dia. Over the decades, the skil­ful hands of the ar­ti­sans at Jew­els Em­po­rium have adorned royal families and the crème de la crème of In­dian and for­eign no­bil­ity, apart from any­one who has a pas­sion for beau­ti­fully crafted or­na­ments. Thus, it is no sur­prise that Jew­els Em­po­rium at Mirza Is­mail Road, Jaipur has won in the Gem & Jew­ellery Ex­port Pro­mo­tion Coun­cil’s (GJEPC) ‘High­est Sales to For­eign Tourist in In­dia’ cat­e­gory eight times al­ready.

Having cre­ated a niche for it­self in the trade of ex­quis­ite gem­stones, Jew­els Em­po­rium soon ven­tured into cre­at­ing jew­els that de­manded in­no­va­tive de­sign­ing and state-of-the-art pro­duc­tion tech­niques. Bohra re­veals, “Cre­ativ­ity is the power to con­nect the seem­ingly un­con­nected. Jew­els Em­po­rium em­pha­sises on cre­ativ­ity, at­ten­tion to de­tail and ex­per­tise in mas­ter crafts­man­ship. Jew­els have always wit­nessed thou­sands of dreams, se­crets, in­trigues and love sto­ries. We be­lieve that our brands Master­strokes and Arunashi are wit­ness to those beau­ti­ful re­la­tion­ships, be it with a spouse, a new-found love, a fam­ily mem­ber, a friend or even with one’s own self.”

The gems and jew­ellery in­dus­try in In­dia has long been de­fined by the value of the ma­te­rial rather than the qual­ity of the fi­nal prod­uct. This has been a par­tic­u­larly large hur­dle on Jew­els Em­po­rium’s road to cre­ative ex­cel­lence. “I am rather amused to see that no one asks for the value of steel and rub­ber when buy­ing an ex­pen­sive car or the value of cloth and thread when pur­chas­ing

I wish to cre­ate wealth for my­self, my fam­ily, the jew­ellery com­mu­nity and for the en­tire na­tion. When I say ‘cre­ate wealth’, I mean cre­at­ing the finest bank of de­signs, ar­ti­sans and like- minded jew­ellery en­thu­si­asts.

branded ap­parel, but ev­ery­one asks the value of gold, di­a­monds and gem­stones when buy­ing a piece of jew­ellery,” says Bohra. He rues that the gen­eral mindset in In­dia is such that the con­sumer will hap­pily pay for ma­te­rial but not for skill, in­tel­li­gence, unique­ness in de­sign or man-hours in­vested. How­ever, to keep ex­per­i­ment­ing—which is what the Master­strokes col­lec­tion is all about—and yet suc­cess­fully con­vince the client is “great fun” for Bohra. “When you ex­per­i­ment, you be­come a leader and oth­ers fol­low you. But ex­per­i­ment­ing is dan­ger­ous and cre­ativ­ity takes courage,” warns Bohra in the same breath.

Global sen­si­bil­ity, In­dian soul

In its undy­ing quest to cre­ate a global brand with In­dian aes­thet­ics, Jew­els Em­po­rium has had to be mind­ful of sev­eral rapidly chang­ing trends – fast fash­ion, broad­en­ing mind­sets, global cul­tures, younger per­spec­tives and em­pow­ered fem­i­nism. How­ever, the guid­ing prin­ci­ple for Jew­els Em­po­rium has always been to pro­duce the inim­itable. Bohra ex­plains, “There are those who cre­ate value and build a mar­ket around their unique­ness. Then there are those who repli­cate ex­ist­ing trends and mar­ket their prod­ucts un­der var­i­ous names and styles. I be­lieve it is bet­ter to fail at orig­i­nal­ity than

to suc­ceed at im­i­ta­tion.” Bohra con­sid­ers him­self lucky to be in a po­si­tion of power where his clients’ pref­er­ences are con­cerned. Ac­cord­ing to him, his clients not only ap­pre­ci­ate their de­signs, but also adapt to their pref­er­ences.

One of the key ad­van­tages of Jew­els Em­po­rium has been its whole­hearted ad­her­ence to tra­di­tional manufacturing tech­niques. “While it is true that a busi­ness can­not sus­tain for long with­out in­cor­po­rat­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, we re­think and rein­vent tra­di­tional artistry which have their own iden­tity and must not be lost in the mists of time. Al­though we in­vest greatly in tech­nol­ogy, re­search and devel­op­ment, we in­sist on craft­ing the finest jew­ellery us­ing the most ad­vanced think­ing tools in the world—hu­man hands,” shares Bohra.

De­signs de­rived from na­ture

A pow­er­ful cre­ative force be­hind the com­mer­cial suc­cess of Jew­els Em­po­rium, wife Sm­riti, who has “always felt drawn to coloured gem­stones”, stud­ied fash­ion and

tex­tile de­sign­ing be­fore her mar­riage to Anup Bohra. About her cre­ative ge­nius that stems from her strong con­nec­tion to na­ture, she says, “Our col­lec­tions, so far, in­ter­preted the beauty and var­ied di­men­sions of na­ture to which we hu­mans in­stinc­tively con­nect to in some form or the other. Here at Jew­els Em­po­rium, we have been think­ing, dis­cussing and dream­ing na­ture as ab­stract graph­ics too.”

Among the var­i­ous meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als she uses to cre­ate her masterpieces, there is one that she en­joys the most. “Enamel helps me cre­ate rare paint­ings on gold with di­a­monds and coloured gem­stones. The var­i­ous ways in which the colours of enamel can be com­bined and shaded at­tract me in­stinc­tively. I use three tech­niques for enamelling – Cham­plevé, Plique-a-jour and Basse Taille,” says Sm­riti who ad­mits that no other ma­te­rial of­fers her the same amount of di­ver­sity and free­dom of ex­pres­sion. “But I have to say that this also makes it much more chal­leng­ing to achieve per­fec­tion,” she says.

Tak­ing in­no­va­tive de­sign­ing to the next level, Jew­els Em­po­rium may use var­i­ous other ma­te­ri­als—such as conch, abalone, Paraiba, Mex­i­can Opal and many oth­ers— apart from the con­ven­tional pre­cious met­als and stones but Sm­riti firmly be­lieves that it is not the ma­te­rial but the in­no­va­tive meth­ods in which the ma­te­ri­als are crafted that counts.

When clients put trust in us, they be­come friends. It is our moral re­spon­si­bil­ity to up­hold their trust.

Pric­ing the price­less As Jew­els Em­po­rium walks the fine bal­ance between artis­tic value and com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity, ar­riv­ing at the right price for Master­strokes is in­deed a chal­lenge. Anup says, “Our Master­strokes are like near-flaw­less, ex­otic paint­ings on gold with coloured gem­stones, di­a­monds and French enamelling. It is dif­fi­cult for me to put a price on th­ese aes­thetic and dis­tinc­tive pieces of art. The day the world be­gins to as­sess and per­ceive their artis­tic value, I will have truly ar­rived. Un­til then, I can only as­sess the real-world value of each piece.”

Per­haps the only thing more price­less than its jew­els are the re­la­tion­ships forged with pa­trons who visit Jew­els Em­po­rium in Jaipur as well as at its exclusive re­tail out­lets such as Neiman Mar­cus in the US and Europe. “When clients put trust in us, they be­come friends. It is our moral re­spon­si­bil­ity to up­hold their trust,” adds Sm­riti. Ac­cord­ing to the cou­ple, the first sale is the be­gin­ning of a long-term re­la­tion­ship. For no mat­ter how big a brand is within the luxury mar­ket, time­less qual­i­ties such as hon­esty, crafts­man­ship and trust do build or break it in the long run.

Clock­wise from above: The pen­dant of the158­carat Aphrodite neck­lace; the Tha­lassa ring holds the spirit of the sea within a quartz crys­tal

Clock­wise from above: A peek into the work­shop at Jew­els Em­po­rium; ex­quis­ite jew­ellery on dis­play at the store; a col­lec­tion of fine gem­stones from around the world

Left: Anup and Sm­riti Bohra at Jew­els Em­po­rium Be­low: The Fir­daus neck­lace and ear­rings are made of nat­u­ral turquoise beads and del­i­cate di­a­mond-studded gold flow­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.