Fashion and Digital Video Director, and Co-Founder of Multimedia Communications (MMC World), Gopalika Virmani’s eyes have sparkled at the glint of natural diamonds since she was a young girl. She credits her affinity for the gem to her mother, fashion choreographer Rashmi Virmani, and her maternal grandmother’s experimentation with the sparklers.
“It would never be one type of diamond jewellery or even the classics. There was always something new,” Gopalika recalls. Thus began her tryst with natural diamond jewellery. Gopalika adds, “I remember going into Mom’s wardrobe and trying out a solitaire on my finger and saying, ‘Oh, I’m a businesswoman!’”
From then to Gopalika’s first solitaire purchase on her 21st birthday to now, the mother-daughter duo’s love for diamonds has been ceaseless. What’s more, they are so in tandem with their choices that even if they’re at different stores and asked to pick diamond jewellery each, they’d invariably select the same thing. “Yet, if Gopi ever has to buy diamonds for personal use, I get 20 calls!” Rashmi laughs.
The businesswomen and aesthetes talk about the diamond trails in their journey.
Can you take us back to the time your fascination with natural diamond jewellery began?
G: A diamond is such an elegant jewel that there’s no doubt it would look great on anybody. But my fascination began with seeing my mother and naani (maternal grandmother) wear it so gracefully and in unconventional ways all the time.
R: My mother was my go-to person whenever I wanted to recognize a pure diamond because she had a really good eye for them. Everyone in my family would always consult her for her expertise. But I also taught myself a lot about the gems along the way.
The subsequent milestone involved buying your first solitaire on your 21st birthday. Amidst the usual preferences for branded bags, clothes, or shoes at that age, why opt for jewellery?
G: I’ve learned everything from my mother, including gifting yourself something. Even as a child, I adored that quality about her. And growing up, I always saw at least one piece of diamond jewellery on her. I came to associate being a working woman with diamonds and someone who would buy herself a present. Mom bought her first diamond when she was 24. So, when I started earning, I told myself I had to buy a diamond.
My mom gave me her first real diamond solitaire, which she wore for a long time as a ring, and I decided to match it with my first solitaire purchase to wear it as a pair of earrings.
The two solitaires were purchased a couple of decades apart. How did you manage to find a matching stone?
G: Finding a perfect solitaire match is not an easy process. We had to spend days looking for the exact stone I wanted, which was a 1.5 carat natural diamond solitaire. It couldn’t be 1.3 or 1.6. It had to be exactly 1.5 carat. Mom and I are both perfectionists and don’t fancy wearing anything that’s not the perfect cut, carat or colour. So, we had to ensure we got these aspects right while buying my first solitaire.
R: I’ve always told my daughters that the stone must be in its purest form whenever they buy jewellery. They’re not to buy anything that only sparkles but isn’t a pure diamond. It’s okay not to wear one if they can’t afford one.
Which memory stands out the most from your quest?
R: My long-time and trusted jeweller, Ramesh Hazoorilal Narang, helped us find the matching solitaire in terms of cut and size. When our crazy search got over, and we eventually found the perfect natural diamond, we treated ourselves to some gol-gappas at the stand right outside the shop. to that. It took us a while to get that exact match, so we ate our hearts out!
G: It turned out to be a fun exercise and we were thrilled to make the pair of diamond solitaire earrings happen. The memory will stay with me forever. It’s like having a part of mom in one earring and one I bought for myself in the other. Now, my younger sister wears the pair, which means the world to me because it’s like passing on an heirloom.
Did you learn more about the technical aspects of buying a real diamond?
G: Mum enlightened me on the 4Cs of a diamond — cut, carat, clarity and colour. Most importantly, that color and clarity are the key criteria. You might want to buy a smaller natural diamond (lesser carat weight), but if it’s perfect in color and clarity, it’s worth so much more.
R: I’ve also ensured that she learns about certificates. All the jewellery my daughters have is certified and pure, even if it’s not a vast collection. Since we love diamonds so much and they are precious, they must have certification.
Rashmi, is there something you have learnt about diamonds from Gopalika?
G: I don’t think I could ever teach or inspire her. She’s extremely particular about her diamonds and has a beautiful collection.
R: Her personal diamond selection has grown to reflect a lot of our shared values. Although I must say, Gopi has a great eye for design. She has turned out to be a total Punjabi who wants big jewellery and rose-cut polkis.
How has your relationship with diamond jewellery evolved since your first purchase?
G: I’m obsessed with buying diamonds (laughs). People usually say, ‘Wait for some time. The prices are high, so it’s not a good time to buy diamonds.’ But I don’t feel there is a right or wrong time to purchase them. I go for it if I like something and know I’m buying a good piece. I prefer it that way.
R: I seriously flirt with my diamonds. I come from a typical Punjabi family where when a girl gets married, she must own a diamond set. I started with a small diamond set, gradually buying my first solitaire, making them bigger, and eventually buying a string of solitaires.
G: I sometimes wear this neck piece as a bracelet. It’s one of my favourites from Mom’s collection.
The mother-daughter duo take their diamond pieces seriously, and consider buying them nothing less than a responsibility. Rashmi admits they have separate successful careers but they’re united in their love for each other and natural diamonds!