As a fourth-generation jeweller based in Mumbai, Ashraf Motiwala, has fond memories of being introduced into the glittery world of natural diamonds, at a very young age. With the Motiwala’s initially conducting their business from home, a young Ashraf often found himself in the company of exquisite jewellery that left him spellbound. “The hall in our house was a jewellery showroom by the day and a regular living room by the night, so I grew up falling in love with the stunning beauty of Basra pearls and natural diamonds,” he recalls. “I have even crawled in to high-profile sales as a toddler and over the years watched my grandfather invite A-list clientele home only to ensure that they stay for a delicious lunch of Biryani as well,” he adds. That’s where he learned the importance of building strong customer-relations, a lesson that he values to this day. From dealing in natural pearls to creating award-winning natural diamond masterpieces, A S Motiwala Fine Jewellery has carved its own sweet spot in the premier jewellery market over the years.
“A S Motiwala was a brand people trusted for its unwavering quality. In fact, the one rule my grandfather taught me to abide by was to always deliver more than promised,” he says. “And as the years rolled by, I became more eager to innovate, create fresh designs and push our limits as a brand,” he explains.
I became more eager to innovate, create fresh designs and push our limits as a brand.
By 2011, the diamond jewellery designer launched the brand’s flagship store in Mumbai where he dazzled the industry with innovative cuts one of a kind, modern designs and use of cuts while using natural diamonds to stay rooted in tradition. “We let our imagination run wild which got us 28 awards for these stunning designs. We also made a conscious decision to phase out a design after it was purchased thrice, so that they wouldn’t lose their uniqueness,” Ashraf says.
We also made a conscious decision to phase out a design after it was purchased thrice, so that it wouldn’t lose it’s uniqueness.
With a keen eye for global designs, Ashraf was always attracted to unconventional cuts. A far cry from the traditional round diamonds, the brand’s collections experiment with almost every unusual cut in the book—be it Asscher, Princess or Cushion. “We had customers who told us that our designs were like a breath of fresh air,” he smiles.
While designing the pieces, Ashraf explains that he keeps his customers in mind—a first-time buyer of natural diamonds in her late twenties, a mother of teenagers hoping for a little self-indulgence or a corporate honcho on the lookout for a piece she can identify with. And sometimes, like all art, his works are just an expression of his unbridled creativity.
His favorite piece is the chandelier earrings that took him a dozen attempts to perfect, and went on to win an award for its artistic design in India. With over 60 carats of diamonds, every piece of this grand rendition of an ornate chandelier sways and sparkles with captivating charm. “We’ve got a lot of requests for this particular piece but we’ve stuck to making just three. And I’m so besotted with them that I follow up with the three customers who bought it, every once in a while,” chuckles Ashraf.
But the piece that he is most emotionally invested in is a priceless natural diamond ring design created for his wife. “It was designed by my two boys for their mother on her birthday,” he recalls. To symbolize her resilience and their unbreakable bond, they decided to create a rose gold ring with brilliant white natural diamonds and delicate French enamelling. “My wife’s favorite color is turquoise and navy blue so they wanted the ring to have a hint of both. They gave me a rough sketch of what they had in mind and we created a spectacular piece to show her how irreplaceable she is in our lives,” he adds.
The leap of ‘Faith’
‘Faith’, a collection that is really close to Ashraf’s heart, was born of a conversation he had with his wife.
A collection that represents bravery and resilience.
The line of handcrafted jewellery is designed for the modern, contemporary woman.
In describing his diamond jewellery inspiration and his collections, the one that’s closest to his heart is Faith, a line of handcrafted jewellery created for the contemporary Indian woman. “I remember talking to my wife on a call while taking a flight from Hong Kong after incurring a big loss. I kept telling her that we need to have ‘faith’ in our dreams and wrote the word down on a tissue paper. That was when the idea of Faith and its logo was birthed, on a scrap of tissue paper,” he says. He went on to create a collection that’s both brave and resilient, aspirational yet inclusive. Ashraf adds,
Millennials want natural diamond jewellery that they can connect with, has an emotional value, is an extension of their individuality and is going to stay with them forever.
A nose for business is not the only thing Ashraf has inherited from his ancestors. For the Motiwalas, lovingly handing down heirloom jewellery also plays an intrinsic role in their family traditions. “Every generation makes it a point to collect a rare piece of natural jewellery to pass it down to their successor. My grandfather gave us prized Basra pearls and my father has kept aside a rare piece of diamond earrings for Shazia & me,” he says. As for him, Ashraf hasn’t stumbled on the perfect creation to stow away for his kids yet. “I’ve had my share of favourites, but I am yet to find the one precious piece that has the perfect natural diamond to symbolise – my undying love for my kids”, he says.