Hyderabad is known for its Royal history. Once a princely state, the Nizams of Hyderabad were known for their extravagant indulgences and jewellery was one of them. The finest pearls from Basra, glowing emeralds from Colombia, sparkling diamonds from our once prolific mine in Golconda, rubies, spinels, you name it, and the Nizam’s treasury had it. So, it is an eventuality that the crown jeweller of the Nizams had an equally rich heritage, of creating such lavish pieces using the best of gemstones. Kishandas & Co has been a part of the Nizam’s royal jewellery heritage since 1870. In an attempt to revive this legacy, the brand has recently converted one of its old bungalows into a flagship store in Begumpet, Hyderabad, not too far away from their original store in Somajiguda.
The store is bathed in an air of sophistication, with its dark, wooden display shelves, regal murals, antique paintings, bronze sculptures and of course jewellery emanating sheer radiance from every possible direction. “There are just too many memories associated with this place. We’ve lived here as a family for a few years and we felt it was the best place to begin this new journey,” said Pratiksha Prashant, daughter-in-law of master craftsman, Krishnadas Harikishandas, who now takes care of all the marketing initiatives of the brand.
The Kishandas family has been jewellers for the Nizams and the business class of Hyderabad and continues to create bespoke pieces for the elite of the city – the journey has been a long one since its inception at the time of Harlochandas, then his son Harikishandas, grandson Krishnadas and now 4th generation entrepreneurs Nitin and Prashant Kishandas. Eighty-year-old Krishnadas continues to design all the jewellery with the help of his sons Nitin and Prashant. “When it comes to jewellery, trust is really important. I remember commissioning a piece from Kishandas many years ago. He gave me the piece and didn’t take money for it, when I asked him why he said, I already had a small pearl of yours, which you had given to me, now it is even,” Princess Basheer Yar Jung remembers fondly. “I remember going to Kishandas ji’s workshop with my father and running my hands through the mountain of pearls lying about there,” piped in Pinky Reddy of the GVK Group.
The store is a confluence of India’s finest forms of jewellery-making, from polki sets, rose cut diamond jewellery, quintessential Hyderabadi pearl sets, a long, a traditional, statement neck-piece called ‘gutta pusalu’, pachi sets to temple jewellery. “Light-weight jewellery may be becoming popular, but when it comes to weddings, brides still prefer heritage jewellery. They come with their parents bringing even their outfits,” says Pratiksha. “Our clientele whether in Hyderabad or the South for that matter, go only for the best quality. Rather than the size of the diamond, they are more concerned about the clarity and they know the worth of the jewellery we make,” she adds.
A few models were seen wearing Kishandas’s stunning jewellery and styled in Gaurang Shah’s stunning Jamdani outfits. The two-storied jewellery boutique also had an exclusive room that housed jewellery from Kishandas’ personal collection, some of which have been bought back by the family. Every piece was evocative of India’s luxurious past and one piece that particularly stood out was a seven-strand Basra pearl necklace, “It took 7 years to collect these pearls,” said Prashant.
Kishandas has been striving to revive the traditional ‘pachi’ work, which has been exclusive to Telangana for the last 15 years. “There is no room for adulterated stuff here. All our gemstones are untreated and unheated and every piece is handcrafted. People come to us wanting one-of-a-kind pieces with precious gemstones and that’s what we give them,” says Pratiksha. Before leaving, one of the son’s was courteous enough to allow me to try on a choker studded with diamonds and Zambian emeralds, which was constantly attracting my attention (among other pieces) ever since I stepped foot in the store. I casually ask Pratiksha, what is the most expensive piece you have here and she with utmost humility says, “We even have pieces that go up to 80 lakhs with us.”