There is no debate about the utter luxury of lifestyles when it comes to two of India’s most powerful and influential families: the Ambanis and the Poonawallas. And everything they do—from developing lifesaving vaccines to overseeing the speeding expansion of the fashion and retail ecosystem of the country—makes them ambassadors of a resurgent India.
They represent a new generation of business owners who aren’t afraid to step—sparkling—into the limelight, claiming their celebrity status and unafraid of the cameras that follow them obsessively. From a sartorial viewpoint, they represent modern counters to the royalty of old, wearing the best that this era’s fashion houses can present, accessorising themselves with brilliant natural diamonds far out of the reach of many, representing a kind of wealth and power that both shocks and awes.
Their diamonds, just like the wearers, have personalities, and quirks of design and setting. Paired with their avant-garde ensembles, these diamonds are more than just apt accessories or well-placed highlights. They are much more.
Nita Ambani’s Breathtaking Diamond Repertoire
Nita Ambani—chairperson and founder of the Reliance Foundation, the Dhirubhai Ambani International School, and a director of Reliance Industries—has repeatedly broken through the assumptions that diamonds have to be worn solely in a traditional setting. She’s worn the most exquisite stones with Indian silhouettes as well as modern cuts, allowing both the jewellery and the garment to shine: a balance not easy to achieve. And this is what sets Ambani’s styling choices apart. Whether it’s a collar composed of oversized natural diamonds paired with a delicate Chikankari drape, or a paisley-motif kalgi suspended from a long, multi-strand pearl necklace worn on top of a delicately-embroidered kaftan. Even her simple floral ear-studs fit seamlessly with a black sweater, elevating an everyday style into something fashionable and, well, fabulous. And over time, she has tapped into the subtle power of the stone, harnessing it to suit her style rather than bending to its story. The exquisite diamond ring that Mrs. Ambani spots in this picture during the NMACC launch is absolutely divine. It is approximately 80 – 90 carats and she adorns it with the rest of her beautiful diamond drop earrings that truly steal the spotlight.
Isha Ambani’s Unconventional Diamond Style
Isha Ambani has been in the news in recent years for her sense of style and luxury. Take her appearance at the Met Gala in May this year, where her stunning Lorraine Schwartz diamonds sat proudly atop a custom-made Prabal Gurung dress spangled with crystals and pearls. At home, she has also been known to re-style her natural diamonds over the years. Like her collar of oversized stones we first saw her wear at her mehendi ceremony in 2018, and then this year at the opening of the NMACC in Mumbai with a red dress and cape. She is also fond of chokers, contributing to a resurgent trend in diamond jewellery, and has been seen wearing multiple iterations of this classic style over the years. Her choices define her style with just the right amount of dazzle, fit for an industry leader who’s growing the country’s fashion retail footprint exponentially.
Natasha Poonawalla’s Avant-Garde Diamond Choices
Adorned in Diamonds, she wears her royalty with grace
Arguably one of India’s truly global style icons, Natasha Poonawalla’s diamonds often underline her confidence and ease. At events like the Met Gala in a metallic Schiaparelli corset, the front rows at Couture Week in Paris, as well as her two sons’ Navjote ceremony in a sari of gold lace highlighted with huge—there is no other adjective apt enough—diamonds encircling her neck and wrists, and studding her ears, her style is truly chameleonic, changing and shifting to suit the occasion. But like her closest friends, she is loyal to her natural diamonds, respecting them and repeating them across outfits and looksand breaking the mirage that every dress needs its own suite of jewellery. Her thoroughly modern approach to diamond jewellery earns her a place among the most style-conscious diamond divas in India.
Radhika Merchant’s Subtle Sparkle
Radhika Merchant, engaged to Anant Ambani, has consistently chosen natural diamonds to highlight her designer ensembles on multiple occasions. And while she is subtle with them, her fondness for the sparkling stone is far from. Take a look at the stunning ‘tagdi’, the waist-belt, she wore over her pastel pink lehenga at a recent engagement ceremony. It remained the center of attention even though there were similarly striking diamonds on her neck, ears, hair, and wrists (a special shout-out to the delicate strands with natural diamond drops extending from her earlobes to her chic, tumbling hairdo). Using diamonds to underscore her femininity is a tightrope she knows how to walk, and gracefully.
Shloka Mehta’s Dazzling Diamond Legacy
Instagram @tanvismarathe @rohanshrestha
This list would certainly be incomplete without the mandatory mention of Shloka Mehta’s fabulous Mouawad L’Incomparable necklace, gifted to her by mum-in-law, Nita Ambani. Suspended from its 91 flawless natural diamonds of various shapes and carats is a centrepiece: a modified shield step-cut deep yellow diamond weighing over 407 carats! And while pictures of Mehta in this necklace—it holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most expensive diamond necklace—aren’t available, those of the necklace itself certainly reveal its absolute majesty and charm. The Executive Director of the Rosy Blue Foundation (RBF), the philanthropic arm of the iconic diamond manufacturing company Rosy Blue Group, she is no stranger to the stone, giving her the ability to identify the great from the good, and choose the stones best suited to her mood.
For Michelle—who leads her family business’s engineering vertical and engages passionately with climate change and social issues—the mantra is maximal. And she is unapologetic about it. As is her right; she’s been seen in a variety of designs featuring stunning diamonds, beginning with opulent chaand-bali style earrings studded with the purest sparklers, to an elegant waterfall collar paired with an arresting red gown. She paired a delicate beige Falguni & Shane Peacock lehenga with a single necklace featuring oversized diamonds that contrasted with and highlighted the delicate thread-work of the artisans’ hands, and framed her face to perfection. With an exquisite Ashdeen Lilaowala sari—a deep indigo featuring delicate motifs of a bamboo thicket with cranes playing among the leaves—she wore a bold diamond maang-tikka to mimic the rising full moon on a deep, silent night. It is through such pairings that Michelle has become adept at communicating a range of emotions through her favourite natural diamonds.
While their access to the most valuable, exquisite diamonds isn’t open for all to explore, we can still take style cues from how they wear these beautiful natural stones: Pairing them thoughtfully with their designer looks, placing them prominently in the moving composition of their personal style, and celebrating the power of this king of precious stones. As one would read stories of the jewels that emperors and princesses used to don, today we see those resplendent jewels and more worn by the modern age royals. From the fabulous diamond choker sets to the emerald necklaces, these jewellery masterpieces will always remain the most coveted pieces for years to come.
Pinky Reddy’s Classic Diamond Looks
Pinky Reddy wears her many titles with ease: powerhouse entrepreneur, philanthropist, art connoisseur, underlined by a sparkle of natural diamonds. Passionate about nurturing Indian art and heritage, she is also known for her impeccable personal aesthetic and chooses to wear pieces that artfully display her style. Be it the stunning natural diamond and ruby statement set that she wore for her son, Keshav Reddy’s wedding or the intricately designed twirls of a multi-layered diamond necklace offset with emerald and jade, Pinky Reddy has always favoured the classic sophistication of natural diamonds. Along with contributing at business conventions, leading affairs relating to art and culture, and displaying her signature style at glamorous weddings, the opulence of natural diamonds and a unique note of distinction also accompanies her.