Passion Points: Style
The city of Jaipur, in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan, has always been rife with treasure hunting possibilities—after all, the Pink City (so called because of the color of its buildings) was built as a trading community. Gemstones, both precious and semi-precious are what Northern India is known for, Jaipur in particular. (Gold jewelry is more prevalent in Southern India). In the Indian culture, it is believed that wearing jewelry all over protects one from evil. Gems are considered not just valuable, but revered as holy objects, as jewels are believed to bring the magnificence of the planets to humans. Worn by both men and women, jewelry has also always been seen as status symbols, with certain objects reserved for rulers and holy people (like double stranded pearls).
Collectors from both Eastern and Western hemispheres have been coming to Jaipur for centuries looking to source their own pieces, whether they believe them to be sacred or merely beautiful. Here are our recommendations of where to visit for the most authentic jewelry—and shopping—experiences.
The classic first stop for Jaipur’s most impressive gems is the Gem Palace, a historic institution that custom designs jewels for everyone from Mughal emperors to today’s celebrities. Tholia’s Kuber (Tholia Building, MI Road, opposite Niros Restaurant; (0141) 2327 7416) will string custom necklaces while you wait and at the Gem Bazaar (Gopalji ka Rasta), visitors can create their own jewelry, choosing from strands of stones. Specifically, look out for Shanu Ram Jewellers (Stall number 134) and JN Jewellers (Stall number 113).
Amrapali specializes in antique and vintage Indian pieces, especially enameled works. Royal Gems and Arts (Saras Sadan, Gangori Bazaar; (0141) 232 1334) is worth a visit just to see its building; it is located in an 18th-century haveli (an Indian private mansion) adorned with frescoes. The Parisian designer Fanny Dominique Boucher (honorinejewels.com; B 67 Yash Path, Tilak Nagar) fuses French glamour with Indian authenticity and designer Neelum Narang (colorjewels.com; 75 Dharam Park, Shyam Nagar II; (0141) 281 1602) creates one-of-a-kind pieces that are both traditional and wearable. HK Gems (115, 121 Chameliwala Market, MI Rd) is located in the Silver Bazaar, but those in the know head there for their collection of precious gems. For even more glittering gems, head to: Emerald House, Bhandari Jewellers, Bhuramal Rajmal Surana and Gems Paradise.
Those looking for great gifts should stock up on the omnipresent Indian bangle bracelets, known as lac, available at Maniharon Ka Rasta, and costume jewelry from Roop Rani Bangles (18 Near Ganesh Ji Temple; Khanda Hawamahal, Badi Chaupar; (0141) 260 7957) and Jewels ‘n’ Arts.
Read about shopping for Jaipur’s other offerings, including fashion, textiles, pottery, furniture and decorative objects.
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