Voyaging Through Timeless Jewels At The Gyan Museum, Jaipur
Bursting with life and colour, the inspiring city of Jaipur has a rich heritage. It is a city filled with everything a woman could possibly love i.e. notably gems, jewels and even some spectacular textiles. A city that never fails to leave me lost for words, it would be hard to list down all the wonderful things I stumble across each trip.
I was introduced to the Dhadda family via “WhatsApp” through a common friend Smitha Sadanandan whos resides on the other part of the globe. In November 2017, during my visit for the ICA Congress 2017 in Jaipur, I was invited by the Dhadda family to visit the Gyan Museum and ensured to do so post the ICA Congress.
It was a bright sunny morning and I was eager to visit the Gyan Museum. My curiosity to explore the jewellery and museum increased as I walked passed a beautiful lawn entering pass a larger than life white-washed door. Daylight pierced through the ceiling, reflecting against the white walls and glass. I was highly impressed by the architecture and interiors.
The museum is a tribute to a man who left a legacy to follow in his footsteps. Late Gyan Chand Ji Dhadda, was a man who had a keen eye for detail. A gemologist, a naturalist and a collector of everything exquisite, Mr Dhadda’s private collection brings together pieces from history, some even dating back to the 15th century. Located in a unique space conceptualised by French designer Paul Mathieu, Mr Dhadda’s sons, both Suresh Ji Dhadda and Arun Ji Dhadda have curated and displayed his matchless collection. A collection teemed with so many different pieces, jewellery was not the only sight to catch my attention.
In India, we believe in auspicious beginnings. At the entrance of the museum, I was warmly welcomed by a one-of-a-kind Lord Ganesha that has been carved from a single gemstone – (Jade) weights almost 300 kgs and is almost 4 ft tall. Mr Akhil Dhadda, the third generation of the family walked me through the jewellery designing and manufacturing unit post which I spent hours at the Gyan Museum.
A Walk Through The Museum
One has to see it to believe it! After entering the museum, on my left I was effortlessly transported to
Kutch in Gujarat where I found detailed embroidery seen upon a yoke, perhaps one of the finest I’ve seen in the country. Whereas when I turned to the right a collection of coins, some of the earliest seen in India were on display. Basra pearls, a wall full of antique spectacles and a selection of 19 th century Wasli, some of the artwork was so fine that I had to be offered a magnifying glass to be able to notice and appreciate each detail. One shouldn’t miss the little water front (intimate lounge) curated within the museum!
Clasps for the Swords: Sword clasps were used to tell the rank of an individual. This one from the 18th century is crafted in 22K gold and set with Rubies and Kashmir Sapphires, it perhaps belonged to a man of a high post. Created by hand, this intricate jali work would have taken hours of preparation before it was revealed to display such fine and elaborate workmanship.
Gold being a precious metal, durable and easy to work with, was the preferred material for finer things thanks to its warm, loveable colour. This clasp has survived damage free through the years to tell a fascinating tale.
Hookah Mouthpieces: Arriving in India through Persian influence, the hookah or sheesha trend is still one that continues today. Part of Mr Dhadda’s original inclination towards antiques, this
mouthpiece offered him immense inspiration. Using different techniques to create this 17th century masterpiece, there are elements of Kundan setting used together with the fine art of silver filigree creating bracelets upon the hand that extends to the hookah pipe. Part of a collection that has the highest number of mouthpieces in the world, each one could take centre stage. Some bedazzled with gems, some shaped as animals, others crafted in silver, and bronze and various other materials each was unique in its own
Fine Jewellery: As I continued, what seemed like an endless journey filled with opulence
and grandeur, the extensive collection of jewellery took my breath away. A Rock Crystal Khanjar (dagger), Mother Of Pearl and Labradorite used together seamlessly to build a jewellery box, an elegant Kundan Patrihaar were also some of the beautiful treasures Mr Dhaddha spent his years collecting. Gajra, a bracelet made of flowers, which is a popular part of traditional Rajasthani jewellery, was also a part of this collection. A truly remarkable piece that left me in awe of the skill realised in a time when technology was at a minimum.
From all the gemstones I’ve had the privilege to see, the Sulemani 4 leaf clover was truly stunning. The inspiration behind the logo, is said was Mr Dhaddha’s lucky charm. Considered to bring luck and good fortune, the 4 leaf clover, is a natural formation on an agate and is the rarest of its kind. Gyan Museum houses the timeless collections of a bygone era. It is from here that the idea of Gyan Jewels was envisioned and conceptualised, resulting in magnificent pieces that reflect the glorious heritage and cultural beauty of the land. Some of the jewellery collections designed by Gyan Jewels are Fleur De Lotus, Lattice and Flora.
A sumptuous afternoon with the Dhadda’s! Not only did I see their collection of jewellery but also had the privilege to shoot it. A day filled with gems, jewellery, antiques, fabrics, and even art work with matchless beauty, the Gyan Museum should definitely be on your list when visiting Jaipur. Close to the airport in Sitapura Indutrial Zone, you will be pleased with how easily you can be transported back into time.
Stay tuned as I there is more coming up from my to-do-list when visiting Jaipur!