Our busy fifth day continued with a visit to the Gyan Jewellery Factory, showrooms and private collection. The beautifully manicured garden and the security guards give you a clue that there is more to the modernist building that than the others in the area. Designed by Paul Mathieu, the spaces are breathtaking and a perfect setting for the jewellery created within.
The purpose built building houses the ‘gem factory’ on the ground floor. The circular nature of the floor is conceptually similar to the paper factory we visited earlier, thought this time it is the tier of raised supervisors with director’s office in the centre rather than a large garden courtyard. The first section houses the stone cutters and polishers and next to them the designers using cad programs to design new pieces. A photographer sits in his studio surrounded by his collection of lights and reflectors. Gem polishers sit by a shrine, next to the jewellers with their magnifying glasses, tools and bright spotlights. Half of our group had their rings cleaned and polished for them whilst we toured the floor. When they were returned at the end of our visit, they sparkled like new. All of the jewellers worn their work clothes, and each year 3.5kg of gold dust is reclaimed from the uniforms and carpets!
Upstairs are the showrooms and the private museum. The Gyan Museum houses the collection of Gyan Chand Ji Dhaddha (1940-2004). We were shown around by his grandson and the museum is a stunning space to display his grandfather’s vast and varied collection. The objects range from spectacles and hookah pipe mouthpieces (housed on their own bond-villain island) to textiles, jewellery and stunning miniatures painted with crushed gems. Photography wasn’t allowed though if I am lucky enough to return, I will definitely ask!
The showrooms were equally stunning and opulent, with the exquisite pieces created downstairs on display. We had a wonderful time trying jewellery, being served the best coffee we had had since our arrival and flicking through the beautiful selection of jewellery books. A special mention goes to the super hi-tech Japanese toilets that looked like a degree was needed to work them properly. The factory and museum are available to visit by appointment and are a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.
Text and images © Jonathan Dredge.