GEMS & JAIPUR!
Jaipur, the capital city of the Indian state of Rajasthan, is renowned for its vibrant culture and rich history in the world of gemstones. It's often referred to as the "Pink City" due to the distinctive pink color of many of its buildings. Jaipur has a long-standing tradition of gemstone cutting and polishing. Skilled artisans in the city have been working with precious and semi-precious gemstones for generations, creating exquisite jewelry and ornamental pieces. It is home to one of the largest gemstone markets in India, known as the Johari Bazaar. This bustling market offers a wide variety of gemstones, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds, and many others. Visitors and gem enthusiasts flock to this market to purchase gemstones and jewelry. The city is a hub for gemstone wholesalers and retailers, attracting buyers from around the world and as such, it plays a significant role in the global gemstone trade. It's a hub for both gemstone cutting and trading, connecting buyers and sellers from various parts of the world. Jaipur's association with gemstones goes beyond being a market; it is a hub of craftsmanship, trade, and heritage that has made it a significant player in the world of gemstones and jewelry.
Exploring Jaipur's rich heritage!
Kamyen Jewellery was born into a family of with a rich heritage deeply rooted in the Jaipur gemstone business. It is a family business, with Dhiren (fondly known in the industry as Babu) and Kumud ( Lead Creative Director at Kamyen) Hirawat at the helm, and includes their children, Pooja, Keshav, and Karan. Depste working closely with Kamyen for almost ten years, I always thought the close family circle of five was Kamyen! Little did I know that the families have been trading gemstones for over 3 generations, Kailash Chand Hirawat started off as a sales rep, working for many years and eventually getting promoted to handling international clientele globally with many renowned jewellers around the world. Eventually he decided to join his two brothers, and while he handled the emerald trading, the family diversified into Diamond trading as well. He would travel extensively to Brazil to collect rough stones, manufacturer in India, and sell to his clientele around the world. He eventually retired at the age of 65. However with the next generation rapidly growing the Kamyen Jewellery brand, he couldn’t stay out of action for too long and at age 68, he helps Kamyen look at unique gemstones in the heart of Jaipur. I was so lucky to meet and observe him in action - the expertise and experience he brings to the business is unparalleled.
On the maternal side of the family Kumud’s knowledge was ignited by her maternal grandfather who was a jeweler and designer himself. From an early age she was exposed to gemstones and craftsmanship. Her father Kushal Bader also shared and passed on his expertise as a gemstone dealer and trader which allowed her to unravel the mystery of the stones from comfort of the house. Hearing her talk about her selection of gemstones is like listening to poetry - her knowledge is embedded deep within her DNA! Fun Fact: Kumud will only consider gemstone purchasing on sunny days, so she can see the true color and personality of the stone, and wont ever consider purchasing gems on cloudy, overcast day!
My journey to Jaipur, from Miami, was a long one, but from the moment I arrived at the Oberoi Hotel, at around 2am, I felt like I had been transported to a magical wonderland, of course there is no hospitality quite as warm and as welcoming as Indian hospitality! I had a good nights rest, and woke up ready to spend the day with Kumud, Pooja, and Karan. Walking out of my room was like walking into a dream - The architecture is sublime, the grounds are the most luscious green, peacocks are strolling around at leisure, and the entire property is full of interesting statues and artifacts.
We began our day by viewing the new Kamyen collection, and as always, I was left breathless at its beauty. from viewing a 100 carat, century old emerald, to a 20+ carat fancy yellow pear shape diamond, each piece was a masterpiece of creativity and design. Understanding Kumud's dedication to selecting the finest gemstones, that are always perfectly matched in color, as well s seeing how her background as an artist contributes to her designs was fascinating. growing up on Jaipur, surrounded by rich colors, it was now easy for me to make the link between her Jaipur heritage and Kamyen jewelry. Jaipur inspiration abounds in Kamyens designs, and it esecially emerges in the rich choice of colored gemstones that Kamyen utilizes, which includes sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, as well as tanzanite, kunzite, and rublite.
Emeralds, Tanzanite, and Diamonds feature strongly in the new collection.
After a day well spent viewing exceptional jewelry, we departed for the beautiful shopping area called .... Here I saw incredible carpets, beautiful carvings (could not leave without buying an elephant!) and wonderful clothing made of the purest cottons, silk, and cashmere. We ten went to Bar Palladio, which I highly recommend, for the food, the beauty, an the ambiance!
A beautiful evening spent exploring Jaipur.
Day two was a whirlwind, we visited palaces (Yes, palaces!), I rode a horse AND a moped, I met Indian Royalty (Princess Diya Kumari, granddaughter of the last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur and a respected politician in her own right), partook in the beautiful Hindu ceremony of Rakshabandhan (a ceremony honoring the bond between brothers and sisters), explored , lunched at Rajmahal Palace ( where Kamud and Dhiren married!) with its famous fifty one shades of pink room, and best of all.....Visited Kamyens' offices and watched, entranced, the whole emerald buying process!
To say I was humbled by the emerald buying process is an understatement. I am fortunate enough to have visited three emerald mines, and Kamyen have close ties, and a purchasing history with all three regions I have visited. But to view the actual selection and buying process itself, to see emeralds which look beautiful to my untrained eye be rapidly rejected against Kamyens' high standards, made me realize how little I understand about the important selection process undertaken by all respected jewelry brands. All shades of green are not equal. All emeralds are not equal. But it takes years - decades - of experience to be able to identify those gemstones which will add value to a piece of jewelry, and which will uphold the reputation of the brand, and not detract from it. Literally thousands of gemstones are rejected before a single one meets Kamyens' standards. I could have spent all day watching the process, as packet after packet of emeralds were presented to Kumud and her father in-law, Kailash Chand Hirawat. But Jaipur was calling, and it was time to continue our exploration of this beautiful city!
Observing Kailash Chand Hirawat. and Kumud selecting emeralds that meet Kamyens high standards was incredible!
We took a short walk to Johari Bazaar, whose streets are lined with pink buildings, and explore the astonishing variety of products. You will find groceries, garments, quilts, kites, turbans, bridal wear dresses, silver jewelry, gems, and precious stone shops on this road. In addition, it is the busiest and most interesting market in the Pink City of Jaipur. Visiting Hawa Mahal is surreal, as it is instantly recognizable as one of Jaipur most iconic buildings. This brilliant monument known as the ‘Palace of the Winds’ is likely the most familiar site for visitors to Jaipur. The iconic five-story palace structure, built in 1799, is designed in the lovely pink and red sandstone the region is famous for. From there to City Palace, and on to a wonderful final family dinner, with the City Palace in the background!
Shopping, exploring,and horse riding in Jaipur!
Our last day was spent filming and shooting in the grounds of the Oberoi. Chokers, necklaces, bracelets and rings, accompanied by the bold statement earrings that Kamyen is famous for. I also loved seeing their mens jewelry range, Kamyen Hombre, launched and designed by Karan. Here I am wearing five mens bracelets stacked together - see the swords? They are made with black diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, and make the perfect men gift! The day sped by, and all too soon I was in the car heading from Jaipur back to Delhi, to catch my return flight home. Jewelry, Jaipur, Gems, and Friends... I left on a high, filled with beautiful memories of an incredible trip. Thank you to my wonderful Kamyen family for this amazing experience, I loved seeing your heritage, your inspiration, your jewelry, and most of all, you and your extended families! ❤️