The jewellery designer and retailer Nirav Modi has created his most expensive piece yet, a diamond necklace to be sold at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in April. The base price of which is Rs 50 crore.
The necklace has 17 high-quality diamonds obtained mainly from Russia. The largest is a 10-carat stone and the smallest is a two-carat one. Modi claimed, “It took us two years to source all the diamonds, which represent characteristics similar to ones from the Golkonda region.” Golkonda is near Hyderabad. The mines in this region are famously known for producing the, once largest diamond in the world, the Kohinoor diamond. However it is not just the quality and rarity of the gems that justify the price of the necklace but Modi explained that it was the design and craftsmanship. The necklace took nearly 1,500 hours to make.
Modi stated that his key consumers were international, “The global market looks good with the US coming back in terms of luxury consumption and Europe also showing signs of revival.” Affluent buyers are keen to purchase Indian jewellery with excellent stone quality and exceptional workmanship.
He found that Indians were not as keen to buy his luxury jewellery, and experts have stated that this is because lavish buying can draw the attention of the tax department.
Modi was very successful at another Hong Kong auction by Sotheby’s in 2012 where he sold his Riviere Diamond Necklace for $5.1 million. High-profile buyers are very keen on traditional jewellery that alludes a rich cultural history. They are also interested in designs that are vintage and unique and covered with Golkonda diamonds or Kashmir sapphires. Modi was the first Indian jeweller to be featured on the cover of Christie’s Hong Kong auction catalogue along with other designers such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Harry Winston.
Amin Jaffer, Christie’s international director of Asian art said South Asian jewellery influenced the taste of many leading European houses in the early 20th century because of the stones of different colours and shapes that combined to create dazzling effects. What was also interesting was that Indian jewellers were in turn fascinated by the platinum and gem-faceted techniques of western jewellery.
“Geneva was the hot spot earlier and the focus was on vintage or antique jewellery. In recent times, Hong Kong has taken over with more modern jewellery based on rare and significant gemstones,” said Vazirani, whose company auctions jewellery at a small price of a few lakh rupees and rising to a few crores.