By Priti Salian in Bangalore
Shehzad Zaveri was just 17 when he took up the reins of his family's meenakari enamel jewellery business from his mother, who taught him one important lesson before he started out: diamond would be the gem of the future. With just 60,000 rupees in his pocket but a keen business sense, this third-generation jeweller opened the first MINAWALA store in Mumbai in 1982 at the age of 19. He hasn't looked back since.
Today, MINAWALA has seven showrooms spread over three Indian cities - Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore - and is a well-respected brand in the Indian luxury market. Zaveri says the secret of the widespread popularity of MINAWALA rests on the brand's "profound understanding of customers and trends, a commitment to quality and the team's expertise".
MINAWALA doesn't just specialise in meenakari jewellery anymore. The brand also incorporates diamonds and a variety of coloured gemstones in designs that are bold, dramatic and colourful with a distinctive Indian appeal. Zaveri's jewellery has been inspired by his travels to the palaces of Dubai, castles of Monte Carlo and, closer to home, the palatial homes at Napean Sea Road in Mumbai.
"There is a certain chemistry between a woman and her favourite piece of jewellery," Zaveri believes. "Therefore we aspire to make every piece special so it looks spectacular on her."
One of his recent collections, Festival of Emeralds, mirrors the colour of the green mangoes so abundant in India throughout the summer. Emeralds, which signify prosperity, growth and fertility, are central to the collection, paired with diamonds and set in innovative ways in geometric, delicate and edgy designs that are perfect for both day and evening wear.
The Festival of Emeralds collection has been launched at MINAWALA's latest two-floor Turner Road Mumbai store, with a rooftop café. To celebrate the launch of the new store, the brand has introduced legacy pricing there until July 2014, with all coloured jewels and pearl jewellery available to buy at the price it would have been a decade ago.
MINAWALA has been awarded several times on a national level. The jewellery house was named 'Premier Jewellery of the Country' at the Gold Souk Jewellery Awards and bagged the 'Innovative Jewellery' award at the 2013 Retail Jeweller India Awards. The jewellery is also admired and worn by celebrities including Freida Pinto, Anushka Sharma and Kajol.
Zaveri has had a satisfying and accomplished journey so far. Where's his next stop? Dubai, where he plans to launch MINAWALA in 2015.