ALL THAT GLITTERS, FROM INDIA TO THE WORLD
Nirav Modi has jewels have taken the jewellery world like a storm. They have mesmerised everyone from India to New York and from London to Hong Kong. This story written for the Soliatire Asia Pacific magazine’s Feb-Mar 2017 issue talks about his finest and the most valuable creations. The brand has also launched global actress Priyanka Chopra as their brand ambassador. Do not miss the latest video from their campaign ‘Say Yes Forever’ at the end of this post.
At 45, Nirav Modi is a big success story. Within the span of six years, his namesake brand has staked its claim in the diamond high jewellery scene, both locally and internationally. What started out as a simple earring design for a friend became a luxury brand, with stores in the high streets of New Delhi, Mumbai, New York, Hong Kong, Macau, and London. By 2020, the plan is for the brand to have 30 more boutiques in a dozen countries.
While the world was reeling in the 2009 recession and diamond prices were in a slump, Modi aggressively bought many substantial pieces. Call it luck or foresightedness, his gamble paid off. But unlike others who may have simply resold the stones, Modi took to setting them in stunning designs. “Growing up in a family of diamond manufacturers, my entire childhood was surrounded by precious gems,” he shares. “I was fascinated with rare diamonds. I spent a lot of time with jewellery craftsmen, which eventually inspired me to create one-of-a-kind designs and strive for excellence.”
One of his important pieces is the Golconda necklace that graced the cover page of Christie’s 2010 Catalogue — a first for an Indian jeweller. The necklace is embedded with a rare 12.29ct Golconda diamond, suspended on a lattice of trademarked Ainracut diamonds and pink Argyle diamonds. With this as a phenomenal start, Nirav Modi — the brand — was born.
Born to a diamantaire father and interior designer mother, Modi was exposed to jewellery and art at an early age. This is evident in the brand’s philosophy, aesthetics, and, of course, jewels. “In each of our jewels you will find an element of art in the setting of the diamond. For instance, the Lotus Collection was inspired by Claude Monet’s masterpiece, the Water Lilies,” says Modi.
When asked about his manufacturing process, Modi explains: “It takes approximately 550 hours to manufacture a Rolls Royce, while its take us 300 hours to craft a fine pendant and 2,000 hours to create a grand necklace.” High jewels coming out of his workshop are not just pretty designs studded in diamonds, but made special with patented cuts, like Ainra, Mughal, Jasmine, and Endless. Often, they bear complicated mechanisms, such as the clever joining of more than 90 moving parts in the Embrace bangles.
One of the first Indian jewellers to move away from traditional designs, Modi strives to have minimal visible metal in his pieces. In the Ainra cut, the links consist of two crescent shaped diamonds fastened together, and many of them put together form chains or lattices. “With barely any metal visible, the diamonds appear to be floating, and weaving diamonds together ensures that each jewel is very light and comfortable for the wearer.”
The Endless cut, one of Modi’s specialised cuts, makes for bespoke pieces. “I wanted to create a ring with no visible metal, but cutting out a single uninterrupted ring of diamonds from a larger chunk is not feasible for obvious reasons.” His solution? The Endless cut, which creates a seamless halo of diamonds with calibrated curves to create a continuous, ‘endless’ diamond ring effect. “Due to the nature of the cut and the ring, each diamond has to be sized, measured, and calibrated to the wearer’s finger,” explains Modi.
With the recent spree of openings of new stores and exhibitions, the world got to see more high-value pieces from the brand. The Diamond Maharani necklace greeted the elite guests in New York, the Water Lily necklace made its debut at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, and the Emerald Maharani necklace was first exhibited at their 5th anniversary celebrations.
With a focus on bridal jewellery overseas, Modi has extended its signature engagement ring lines, including Tulipe, Signature Solitaires, Ribbon, and Celestial. “We are soon launching a digital campaign that celebrates solitaire engagement rings with the simple message: ‘Say Yes to Love Everyday’.” With this philosophy in mind, he said the bride should always choose jewels that she can wear often. “The engagement ring is increasingly becoming a part of a bride’s first ever trousseau jewel.”