In November 2010, a media-shy Nirav Modi catapulted into the international jewellery scene by becoming the only Indian jeweller, so far, to have his creation featured on the cover of Christie’s annual Hong Kong auction catalogue. The featured Golconda Lotus necklace eventually fetched $3 million (Rs 16.29 crore). The Mumbai-based jewellery designer, however, outdid himself at last year’s Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, where his Riviere of Perfection — a necklace with 36 flawless white diamonds weighing 88.88 carats together — was sold for $5.1 million (Rs 27 crore).
Modi, a third-generation diamantaire, has enjoyed unprecedented success on the world stage. However, he is now looking to wow the Indian market. To achieve the same, the jewellery designer — who set up his brand three years ago — recently had his first fashion show as part of India International Jewellery Week (IIJW) in Mumbai.
The collection showcased at the event comprised a total of 15 sets from Nirav Modi’s stunning ranges — a segment inspired by iconic motifs of the Mughal miniature school of art (the Mughal collection), a range that draws from floral motifs (Fluire line) and one based on the Art Deco movement of the ’50s (Sunburst line). Modi says that he gets his cues from nature, art and his surroundings. Functionality too scores high on his list. “For instance, when I saw my daughters wear stretchable bangles, albeit the costume jewellery variety, it made me want to create a range of elastic gold bangles that would custom fit all sizes. It took us two years to source the brilliant cut diamonds but it was worth the wait,” he says.
What sets 42-year-old Modi apart is his access to rare diamonds. Born into a family of diamond traders, earlier based in Belgium, he learned the ropes of the trade. He then worked with the Gitanjali Group in the US. Apart from gaining access to the American market through his acquisition of jewellery companies such as Sandberg & Sikorski (which owns the bridal jewellery brand A Jaffe), he put in place a network of marketing offices and factories, and liaised with Russian