Meet Our Craftsman
Beyond the one-of-a-kind stones and unforgettable settings, the thing that distinguishes The Gem Palace from every other jewelry house in the world is its community of craftsman and artisans, many of whom were handpicked by Munnu Kasliwal to work under him. Others are the third or fourth-generation in their families to be a part of The Gem Palace. Umesh Sharma, the head of the stone cutting department, is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Chunnu Singh Bhalla, a craftsman who works on traditional Mughal jewelry, is fourth generation.
“The Gem Palace is like family,” he says. “I don’t feel like an employee.”
This family, though, happens to turn out some of the most extraordinary pieces of jewelry every to be created. “On my first day of work, I thought that I would never be able to meet Munnu’s expectations,” explains Umesh, who has been with The Gem Palace since 2006. “The work here is a challenge, and Munnu was a perfectionist. But he believed in me, and always pushed me to make every stone a unique stone. One of a kind.” Adds Rajesh Patel, an 18-year-veteran who is head of the goldsmith department, “My favorite memory is his drawings. He was constantly sketching, even when he was talking to clients. He would call me and say, ‘Just make this.’ No matter how difficult the designs were he always believed that I could complete them.”
The result is a glorious library of totally unique creations, such as the Sindoor Box covered in paper-thin rubies that look like enamel. “It’s my favorite,” says Chunnu, “because no one else can make it.”
Vijay Rajawat, once right hand to Munnu and now to his son, Siddharth, adores the diamond spinel pendant hanging on a simple black cord. “For me, it’s the perfect combination between timeless elegance and everyday chic,” he says.
“Every piece has to go through so many hands to achieve perfection; it’s really a work of love.”
Marie-Helene de Taillac, a jewelry designer who began working with The Gem Palace in 1996, is still in awe of the quality of work that is accomplished there every day. Marie-Helene asked Munnu if she could design a small collection after a visit to The Gem Palace. He said yes, and they’ve been partners ever since. “My pieces, like Munnu's, are often made, broken, and remade a few times for a perfect result,” she explains of the intense creation process.