Cult Store: a Jaipur jeweller’s match for a princess

With its peach-pink domes, primrose-yellow columned entrance, frescoes and stucco work, The Gem Palace in central Jaipur wears its legacy proudly. The jewelry store is the oldest within the metropolis (and one of many nation’s oldest too), courting again to 1852 when the Kasliwal household arrange the store, having been jewellers to the Royal Jaipur household since 1727 – and it has held its royal warrant ever since. The Gem Palace moved to its present-day flagship retailer on Mirza Ismail Highway again within the early 1900s. “It is without doubt one of the busiest streets in Jaipur – a first-rate deal with, our Fifth Avenue equal,” says Siddharth Kasliwal, one of many seventh- era heirs to his household enterprise.

The yellow columned exterior of The Gem Palace, with a tuk tuk passing in front
The historic exterior of the store © Abhishek Bali
Gold jewellery in a basket on a red table
Jewelry items within the essential showroom © Abhishek Bali

The gold-hued showrooms have performed host to royalty, celebrities and enterprise tycoons. “In 1962, the late Maharani Gayatri Devi introduced Jackie Kennedy to the retailer throughout her official go to to India. That basically put Jaipur, and our model, on the map as a hub for high quality jewels,” says Kasliwal. “Diana, Princess of Wales, the Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall have additionally frequented the shop. We began as jewellers to Jaipur’s royal household and now work with royalty from internationally.” Patrons additionally embrace Rihanna (who wore a Gem Palace choker to final 12 months’s Met Gala after-party), Gwyneth Paltrow, Mick Jagger, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds, whereas the guests’ e-book has been signed by Lord Mountbatten and Judi Dench, who popped in whereas on location for The Greatest Unique Marigold Lodge.

Wooden cabinets of jewellery in the showroom
The store’s essential showroom © Abhishek Bali

The structure of the Nineteenth-century haveli is typical of town, whereas the constructing – its three domes immediately recognisable to metropolis dwellers – continues to be intact. “It’s an outdated Indian idea that one lived on the highest ground, with the shopfront on the bottom ground,” says Kasliwal. “That’s how we began as properly.” In 1994, workshops and studios had been added on the second ground, and at present, guests can cease by to see the karigars – or artisans – at work sketching out designs, reducing stones and sprucing completed items prepared to go on show. 

Photographs and documents of illustrious former clients
Pictures and paperwork of illustrious former purchasers © Abhishek Bali

Gold and tourmaline cuff, POA
Gold and tourmaline cuff, POA © Abhishek Bali

Gold, diamond and emerald earrings, POA
Gold, diamond and emerald earrings, POA © Abhishek Bali

“A whole lot of our purchasers are generational,” says Kasliwal. “They typically are available in to revamp items that their grandparents bought from mine.” The gathering caters to various tastes and budgets: “We don’t need somebody to come back in and never discover something in any respect.” Choices vary from conventional silver letter charms and pendants (beginning at about £50), by means of semi-precious stone-studded items in silver and brass to kundan (pure gold items) and probably the most unique items, which may retail at about £500,000: signature rose-cut diamond necklaces, or items centred round uncommon, old-mine Golconda diamonds (mined in a area in southern India). As for his or her bespoke creations, “the sky’s the restrict”. 

The new Pink Room, a by-appointment studio
The brand new Pink Room, a by-appointment studio © Abhishek Bali

In 2017, Kasliwal turned the stone sorting room into the Pink Room, a by-appointment studio for purchasers searching for further privateness. Designed by Kasliwal’s buddy the Danish inside designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, the fuchsia house is an ode to Jaipur’s “pink metropolis” moniker. “We didn’t make it too trendy. The Gem Palace is happy with its historical past. The shop appears like strolling into a really conventional but stylish Rajasthani house,” says Kasliwal. The decor is sourced from Jaipur or the neighbouring cities of Udaipur and Jodhpur, whereas the partitions have been upholstered with domestically block-printed cloth, and the Pink Room’s ceilings handpainted by resident artisans.

Kasliwal emphasises that The Gem Palace continues to make use of the identical classical Indian strategies as their forebears. “‘Fusion’ jewelry can solely result in confusion!” he says. “We nonetheless produce jewelry because it was finished centuries in the past, utilizing the identical conventional instruments.” As one of many metropolis’s oldest households, “the Kasliwal identify has change into synonymous with Jaipur,” he goes on. “That’s the explanation we care for this legacy – it’s a wonderful historical past, not just for us however for town and the nation.”

Supply hyperlink