HBA: Tell us a bit about your backgrounds and why you established Vik Jethwani Fine Jewellery
VJ: I’m the third generation of my family to work in jewellery. My grandfather started in the pearling business about 70 years ago in Japan and my mother brought the business out to Dubai‘s Gold Souk 25 years ago. We were the pioneers of cultured pearls in the city.
I went to the US for college and afterwards took the GIA Graduate Gemologist course. Diamonds fascinated me so I stayed in New York and worked with a diamond company there for five years before moving with them back to Dubai. Natasha and I married in 2005.
NJ: My background is in fashion but I moved into jewellery after travelling with Vik to the international shows. We noticed that lots of people were not wearing their jewellery due to its heaviness and outdated designs and were instead spending their money on costume and artificial jewels. So we decided to start a line of competitively priced fine jewellery, providing customers with real pieces that retain their value and (most importantly) can be worn every day.
Courtesy Harvey Nichols - Dubai
HBA: How did the brand develop from there?
NJ: We focused mainly on pearls in the beginning and introduced baroque pearls to the market. We had huge success with our Baroque designs; for our first trunk show we created 64 jewels and after four hours only one piece was left. This made us realise there was demand beyond the jewellery classics, for pieces that were fashionable and more contemporary.
We have spun fine jewellery on its head. Our collections are accessible to everyone and are versatile – they can be worn with an evening gown, an LBD, a swimsuit in summer, or with jeans and a T-shirt. I like to think of our brand as a “ready-to-wear fine jewellery label.”
Jewels from the Galactic collection on display at Harvey Nichols - Dubai
HBA: Can you tell us about the individual collections?
NJ: The brand is broken down into several collections. Some of these, such as the Baroque and Signature lines always sell well and each season we put a different spin on the designs to keep them current.
There is also lots of variety. The Eden collection is set with brightly coloured semi-precious stones and has a very organic, floral feel, whereas the Galactic collection mainly features stars with clean lines and more simple designs. The collections cover a number of price points, from our entry-level Zenith jewels up to our Bespoke range, which features larger and coloured diamonds.
VJ: We also do private commissions, as both of us travel extensively and have great connections to source stones for specific requests. Because of my background I know various tricks of the trade and we help clients get the most value for what they want to spend.
Courtesy Harvey Nichols - Dubai
HBA: What do you think makes Vik Jethwani Fine Jewellery stand out?
VJ: Customer service is extremely important to us. It’s about personal connection and education – our clients always end up becoming friends.
NJ: We want to make things relaxed. If we get a last minute request for a gift a client hasn’t been able to find, we’ll send seven pieces with a representative straight to their home, they’ll choose what they like there and pay by credit card. It’s so easy.
We’re also big believers in comfort. I try on the jewellery myself to make sure it moves the right way, isn’t too heavy and doesn’t poke or scratch. For example, our diamond Disc earrings quickly became a firm favourite of our clients because of this. Their pavéd diamond design gives them a big look but they are so easy to wear and everyone consistently tells us, “Those are the earrings that are always on my dressing table."
Diamond Disc earrings, Vik Jethwani Fine Jewellery
HBA: How do you find working together as a married couple?
NJ: It’s generally a cohesive process. I mean we live together, have three kids together, travel together… but I don’t work out of the office, only from home. You have to find your balance and we both handle different aspects of the business; I do the social media, branding and marketing, and Vik oversees the production and finance side.
VJ: We always design together though. We each have our own vision for collections and we bring these together by discussing ideas and how to make them wearable. Each piece takes about a month to create from start to finish.
Rosemin Manji and Natasha Jethwani
HBA: What does the future look like for Vik Jethwani Fine Jewellery?
VJ: Our client base is extremely international so we are continuing to branch out globally and are doing a show in Singapore next month. We meet a lot of clients in Dubai though as it’s a great hub and people know it’s good for jewellery.
NJ: We really enjoy hosting our own trunk shows as we meet people directly. It’s personal and works for our brand, which I think clients appreciate too. As much as we would love to expand in the retail world and have other boutiques and online platforms carry our label, we really want to keep on travelling and doing these shows.
Our 8 year-old daughter also wants to become a jeweller (it’s moved on from being a rock star), so we’re keeping it in the family. She can already identify baroque pearls, a ruby, an emerald or diamond… and even sold a piece of jewellery at our last show!
Vik Jethwani Fine Jewellery is now available at Harvey Nichols - Dubai, Mall of the Emirates