In Conversation with Samir and Hiren Sagar (Manubhai Jewellers)
The Manubhai family has been in the jewellery business for over five decades. Today, behind the dazzling exterior of their luxurious showroom in Borivili (West), Mumbai lies an expansive retail space showcasing some of the country’s finest contemporary and traditional jewellery aesthetics, across twelve jewellery display sections. WeddingSutra speaks to Directors, Samir Sagar (SS) and Hiren Sagar (HS), about Manubhai’s jewellery designs, upcoming trends and what soon-to-be-married clients are looking for.
What does a Manubhai Jewellers’ design evoke in a bride-to-be?
SS- Every bride we meet is excited, hopeful when she comes to Manubhai, we watch her look at the jewellery designs and know she can realize her aspirations and actually transform into a princess, opulent, graceful. Jewellery is such an important part of the bride’s ensemble. It works cohesively to enhance her beauty and inspire confidence. It has the power to transform. This is her day, her moment, when she and her beloved are the center of attention.
How are brides evolving in terms of the jewellery they choose? Are they choosing different pieces for different ceremonies? There are traditional functions as well as quite modern additions to the events’ list – like cocktail parties and ‘Bollywood’ nights.
HS- The wedding day is about creating memories a bride will treasure for a lifetime. We think the jewellery she wears is one of the highlights of her memories. Most Indian brides want to return to their roots, their traditions, on their special day. They also want to bring in an element of ancient royalty in their fairy tale. Traditional Indian jewellery brings regal splendour to a bridal look. Jewellery using the heritage jadau technique is incredibly glamourous. In fact, jewellery in antique finishes, maybe with delicate filigree elements adds incomparable finesse.
Brides are very particular about their look for each ceremony and they do pick different pieces according to the occasion. For example, they may choose an elegant diamond set or light-weight gold jewellery with kundan stones in an antique finish for their Roka/Engagement.
For the more upbeat cocktail parties, they choose diamonds and coloured stones like citrines, garnets and pink onyx.
But for D-Day, it’s almost always jadau jewellery. A gracious jadau choker with elegant engraving and ruby pots and they usually enhance the regality with a long kantha with kundan stones and pearls.
Tell us how you maintain the jeweler-customer relationship as time goes on?
SS- At Manubhai Jewellers, we are humbled by our customers’ loyalty. Once you’ve shopped with us, you’re part of the Manubhai family. We, along with our staff are so proud to watch generations of the same family shop with us on each occasion. Such love and trust fills us with gratitude but also an incredible sense of responsibility to keep offering our customers innovative designs and excellent quality. Their loyalty pushes us to raise the benchmark of jewellery design every day.
Shopping at Manubhai Jewellers is more like conversations over chai. We always try to go the extra mile to ensure that a customer feels at home when they shop with us. We constantly work towards gathering feedback from our customers and understand the evolving trends of jewellery. We acquire and craft the best designs and work to their aesthetics. These designs go on to become family heirlooms.
Photo courtesy- Parag Gopale
Do parents continue to have a big role to play when it comes to deciding on the buys?
SS- Marriages in India do not happen in isolation. It’s all about marrying into the family. So yes, parents as well as in-laws definitely have a say in the decision making process. But when it comes down to design, the bride has the final say.
What do you see as the upcoming trends in the jewellery design industry now? Is there a return to traditional designs and craftsmanship?
HS- Every design, print and technique always completes its life cycle and comes around. Traditional and vintage designs are timeless though. So Jadau jewellery is definitely experiencing a renaissance though it never went out of style and never will.
The most interesting trend today is recreating royal baubles using the techniques and handiwork of the Mughal Era. Jewellery today has intricate craftsmanship and engraving. The center pendant in a gold set is traditional but the rest of the piece maybe more contemporary. Filigree is another popular embellishment.
Photo courtesy- Parag Gopale
Geometric designs are a modern twist. Our designers work on balance, crafting a contemporary piece while maintaining the aesthetics of tradition.
Is the industry influenced by international trends?
SS- International trends tend to dominate daily wear categories, whether it is gold or diamonds.
When it comes to weddings, 80% of the brides look for a traditional jewellery piece with a contemporary twist; within which traditional aesthetics are not compromised. With social media and technology at hand, some brides do bring international designs to us, elements of which they want incorporated into more traditional gold jewellery sets.
Tell us how to store and take care of our jewellery – whether it is precious metals, stones, pearls etc.
HS- Jewellery usually gathers a film from lotions, powders, soaps and natural skin oils which erode the sheen of the metal. Sometimes even the chemicals present in our atmosphere or while we travel can oxidize the metal, depending on the purity of gold.
– Always keep each piece of jewellery away from each other, stored individually.
– Use a fabric-lined jewellery box with separate compartments or dividers; or wrap each piece individually in tissue paper or zip lock pouches. This will ensure that the jewellery pieces don’t rub against each other.
– Avoid using metal jewellery boxes. Chemicals used to make fancy boxes can react with the stone causing it lose its shine or even worse loosen the stone from the setting.
– Keep jadau and kundan jewellery wrapped in soft cotton cloth or regular cotton swabs in a plastic or wood box.
– For Kundan jewellery, avoid contact with any form of water, damp cloth, any other liquid or soapy solution. If the Kundan jewellery turns dull or acquires any blemishes, use a basic eraser (used for erasing pencil marks). If the darkened portion doesn’t get cleaned, take it to your nearest jeweller for a safe remedy.
What pieces from your collection would you recommend for the bride’s trousseau, or a Cocktail or a Wedding brunch, where the bride is wearing a more contemporary or fusion outfit?
HS- Every bride should have at least one pair of jadau chandbali’s / jhumkas. They’re universally appealing and go with absolutely any outfit.
Indians love gold. For a while there was a trend towards white gold and platinum… What are the trends that are bucking the ‘traditional’ Indian aesthetic.
HS- Rightly put, Indians love gold and that is a fashion that is never dying out. We are seeing a growing trend among women opting for different designs in gold. Our Italian jewellery collection ‘Ti Amo’ is a huge success. Light-weight designs in florals and geometric motifs are taking centre-stage with 18K and 22K yellow and rose gold. Many women also love the detailed cutwork in bangle designs finished with the fancy rhodium polish.
A new trend on the up is the hand mangalsutra. Several brides today find wearing a traditional mangalsutra difficult to wear with western outfits. And so we innovated and created a few trendy hand-mangalsutra designs.