Originally Posted: August 25, 2018 By Katerina Perez
What happens when a couple from Jaipur lives in Belgium for 15 years trading diamonds, and then returns to India? They merge diamond trading with jewellery production and selling their own designs to create a unique company – as is the case for Kamyen. During my recent trip to Mumbai for the IIJS jewellery exhibition, I was invited behind the scenes of this prolific jewellery dynasty.
The first time I wrote about Kamyen (whose name comes from the Russian word for ‘stone’) was two years ago. They were among the first Indian companies whose jewellery I covered on my website. Why? Kamyen belongs to a relatively small circle of Indian jewellers whose work harmoniously combines the intricate aesthetic signatures of India with the laconic simplicity of European style, as well as a modern design and timeless elegance – all while utilising a wide selection of both traditional and innovative jewellery materials.
By creating a wide range of fine jewellery design styles, at first glance it might seem that Kamyen are striving to please clients of all tastes. However, the exclusivity of the pieces is belied in the investment grade gemstones which embellish them, and therefore the inherent value of Kamyen creations. “We are private jewellers; we’re not interested in mass production. Having said this, we don’t focus solely on bespoke pieces, although it is a facet of our company; instead, we offer our clients ready-made jewellery from our high-end collections, taking a very selective approach to who can view our pieces,” explains Pooja Gandhi, Kamyen’s Head of Sales and Operations for the Middle East.
This exclusivity means that Kamyen creations are not the type of jewellery which is sold in boutiques – seeing the company’s jewels is only possible at 3 or 4 international exhibitions annually, or through private appointments. I first experienced Kamyen jewellery firsthand at this year’s Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, and only 6 months later I find myself in the heart of operations – Kamyen’s offices in the diamond bourse of Mumbai.
While Pooja Gandhi was selecting the best jewellery to display IIJS exhibition I was provided with the opportunity to take a closer look at Kamyen’s creations. As part of the three-generation old family business, Pooja handles the commercial side while her mother works on design and managing manufacturing.
Diamonds are often the feature element of Kamyen’s designs, and so it was unsurprising that Pooja first selected a variety of sumptuous diamond necklaces which rest on the wearer’s décolletage like glistening snowflakes. Some were fashioned in classical styles with traditionally cut colourless diamonds, others were configured in several rows of variously cut and shaped diamonds, combined in intriguing arrangements. There were also a number of creations which incorporated rose cut stones, and a uniquely stunning row of rare Golconda diamonds weighing a total of over 150 carats.
Between trying on different necklaces, my attention was caught by employees sorting through diamonds in an adjacent room: trading these stones is another side to the family-run enterprise. Initially diamonds were the most essential component of Kamyen’s jewellery designs, but emeralds and rubies have historically played such a vital role in Indian jewellery that they now appear more regularly in Kamyen’s creations.
“Our jewellery is not only popular in India, but also a large number of our clients are based in the Middle East. There, consumers are taken by the innovative materials we have to offer, as well as showing interest in our classic designs made with precious gemstones,” says Pooja, showing me a statement pair of titanium earrings in the form of orchids whose petals have been decorated with tourmalines.”
Kamyen’s contemporary approach to design is reflected not only in their use of trending jewellery materials, but also in its creation of looks which incorporate both fancy and traditional cut stones set in a variety of ways. For example, in their classic round bangles, the rubies are mounted one level below the diamonds at a juxtaposing angle to one another, with the result being that the diamonds appear to hover over the red rubies. This dichotomy is presented again in a pair of drop earrings with a striking combination of rose cut diamonds and pear-cut rubies – the outline of the jewel evokes traditional Indian designs, but unlike traditional wedding jewellery, the earrings are not heavily embellished with decorative elements.
From my first hand experiences with Kamyen jewellery, I am convinced that the company follows the ‘less is more’ philosophy – pertaining not only to their jewellery collections, but also to their elite customer base – striving to please only the most discerning clientele. After all, the opportunity to own unique jewellery such as that created by Kamyen can only be afforded to a select few.
PHOTOGRAPHER: SIMON MARTNER
AUTHOR: KATERINA PEREZ