Just a couple of months ago, a new luxury jewelry brand, Harakh, made its first appearance in the United States. The name, which translates as “joy,” is actually the name of its founder, as well, Harakh Mehta, who is one of a long line of jewelers hailing from Mumbai, India. Recently, I had the chance to talk with him about the challenges inherent in starting a new brand and about the inspiration behind it.
The 40–year-old Mehta represents the fourth-generation jeweler in a family that has been in the diamond business for decades. In fact, he says he grew up handling diamonds and jewelry as a child, always around the family business (Bombay Jewelry Group). “My great grandfather was one of the first Indians to travel to Antwerp, then my grandfather entered the business,” says Mehta. “But it was my mother who set up the jewelry manufacturing business that we operate today.”
After pursuing an education in the United States and spending some time at the Gemological Institute of America, Mehta returned to the family business to learn all he could about grading diamonds and creating exquisite jewelry.
“I felt there was a niche at the very high end to make really beautiful jewelry using only the finest quality stones. My family encouraged me to follow this dream,” says Mehta, who opted to create a luxury brand of jewelry that represents the spirituality of India.
The soft-spoken and sincere Mehta created the eponymous brand of in 2017. He spent hundreds of hours building the business, hand-selecting the perfect artisans, designing the pieces and picking the gemstones. In fact, from the point of putting sketches on paper, to bringing certain collections to fruition, Harakh says the time was about two-and-a-half years. Of course, this includes the time it takes to procure and calibrate all of the perfectly matched stones.
There are only 15 artisans who touch and create the Harakh diamond pieces, from polishers to jewelers. Each piece is created by hand using ancient jewelry-making techniques and a few secrets learned over the years and passed down from generation to generation. This incredibly detailed hand artisanry is combined with state-of-the-art modern technology to create distinctive jewelry that fits and feels like silk.
“Being in the jewelry business was a double-edged sword because the main advantage and challenge were that I was involved in jewelry for so long. You come with the perception that you know everything, but as you investigate the higher jewelry side of the business, you see that it is very different and you have a lot to learn,” says Mehta. “It was very challenging but I understood that I needed to pay closer attention to the quality, the craftsmanship and I had to hand-pick each artisan and pair each with the right skill.”
Each of the Harakh collections is meant to celebrate happiness and life and is inspired by joyous moments. “My inspiration comes from moments of my childhood that gave me joy. I remember we would go up into the hills during the monsoons and see the lovely waterfalls. They were magical.”
The result of that memory is the Cascade collection of diamond jewelry that sways and trembles with every move, perfectly recalling the waterfalls of his youth. For many of the pieces in this line, he turned to the rose-cut, which is very versatile and highly translucent – just like water.
The gold Sunlight series is created using a hand granulation technique that recalls India’s fabric decoration and offers a shimmering motif. Other lines recall the elephant (a symbol of wisdom), the peacock (India’s national bird), The frangipani flower (symbolizing immortality), and more. The brand uses only platinum or 18-karat gold and top quality diamonds in D, E, or F color and VS/VVS and IF clarity.
For every collection, Harakh has built a story about the inspiration behind the design and offers it in what he calls “Reflection Cards” that are included with the purchase of each piece.
According to Mehta, the brand is always conscious of bettering the lives of its artisans, associates, environment and all things in life. With a concept of “luxury with a conscience,” the company looks to ethically source its materials, as well as to reduce waste, recycle and more. Even its packaging is made of cotton, linen and recycled paper – an odd mix for a luxury brand.
Mehta states that it is all about being conscientious, noting that parent company Bombay Jewelry Group was the first jewelry manufacturer in India to be certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council (in 2013). Mehta has even served on the RJC committee for the past three years.
The luxury jewelry brand offers pieces ranging from the $20,000 range all the way up to over $100,000, with average prices in the $40,000 – $50,000 range. The company also offers exquisite vegan leather handbags bedecked with jewels.
Credit to: Roberta Naas
Read More: forbes.com
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