Stepping inside The Gem Palace of Jaipur, time itself unravels. Minutes melt into hours. The eye moves from one piece to the next. An exquisite Kundan setting then a sparkling of rose-cut diamonds. Ornate hand-enamelwork then a riot of vivid and intricately-faceted precious stones. To the many visitors each year who make the pilgrimage to the treasure-filled oasis to meet with Siddharth Kasliwal, the ninth generation at the company helm, The Gem Palace offers up a mélange of exquisite confections, each as otherworldly as the next.
This is the magic of The Gem Palace. For generations, The Kasliwal family and its teams of artisans have transcended time, maintaining traditions and techniques that date back centuries. It was always Munnu Kasliwal’s belief that the best of the best had to be made with a certain attention to craft and detail, most especially in an era where nearly everything is mechanized. It is no surprise then to discover that, today, The Gem Palace craftsman, sitting cross-legged, pouring over his work, finds his exact mirror in the fading black and white photographs hanging on the studio wall. Many of the workers represent a long line of skill and mastery, having learned their particular expertise from fathers and grandfathers before them. Even Siddharth and his father Munnu were taught by their own fathers to begin grading stones as children, before assuming their full responsibilities to carry on their forefathers’ work. A long, unbroken chain of craftsmanship sets The Gem Palace apart.
“Craftsmen work tirelessly, setting stones in the Kundan style with gold so pure it can be molded by hand.”
In the Munnu The Gem Palace collections today, ancient techniques are employed to realize playful and elaborate designs in a modern aesthetic. Craftsmen work tirelessly, setting stones in the Kundan style with gold so pure it can be molded by hand. Gems are cut and fitted seamlessly and with such precision that they resemble enamel. Central to all designs is the old belief that jewelry is not limited to being on display to your own eyes and to those around you. The body also should enjoy seeing beauty in that which rests against it. As a result, the reverse of Munnu The Gem Palace creations receive the same degree of care in design as the front.
It is of little surprise that Munnu The Gem Palace jewelry has found an enviable home at institutions such as the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and among the finest purveyors of fine jewelry in the world, launching in the US over a decade ago at Barneys New York. For centuries, the Kasliwal family and their craftsmen have pushed the boundaries of jewelry design, at times devoting several years to perfecting a single piece. With an unmatched eye for detail, Siddharth continues the longstanding family tradition of creating some of the most whimsically enchanted and inspired pieces, not only in India, but throughout the world.