A Star is Born

A fourth gen diamantaire, Harakh Mehta’s eponymous brand of fine jewellery and haute joaillerie has been worn by Hollywood stars and European royalty alike. Fêted as a Rising Star for Fine Jewelry by a New York based entity, the Indian jewellery wunderkind speaks about his association with Le Bal, Paris, and his gleeful design philosophy.

Diamantaire Harakh Mehta

Growing up in a jeweller's family, what is the thing that fascinated you the most about this craft?

The TRUST factor. At first I was ‘fascinated’, but now after so many years in the industry, I am in equal part humbled and awed. It’s a huge responsibility, and something that I take very seriously when clients regularly come and place their savings in my hands, with the inherent expectation that I would offer them the best deal possible for their money. Till today, whenever somebody comes up to me and says they want to invest in a beautiful diamond, I do get that butterfly in the stomach feeling, hoping that I am able to surpass their expectations in giving them value.

What are some of the most stunning jewellery pieces, according to you, that you have ever seen?

Unfortunately, the most stunning pieces that I have seen are those that will rarely come out in public! Having said that, I truly believe that each piece has its own beautiful story and journey. I am privileged to have witnessed some extraordinary pieces, from the personal collections of jewellery collectors and significant families. There are literally stories that I can narrate to you where as a small boy, I would have accompanied an aunt or another lady to their vault and when it opened, the pieces there would rival the biggest showroom on Madison Avenue!

Frangipani detachable earrings by HARAKH

After your studies, what made you want to study gemology?

I’m a fourth generation diamantaire, it’s just in my genes! Learning more about diamonds from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad) and being a part of the diamond industry was inevitable.

Can you please tell us about the 'reflection card' and why do you have this for each piece?

Since childhood, I have been drawn towards spirituality. Each of HARAKH’s collections have a spiritual essence. It is through this same spiritual lens with which I have written up a Reflection Card for every single piece of our jewellery, where I share my inspiration behind creating this piece and try to observe its deeper significance.

Harakh Mehta at his desk

What is it that inspires you the most – is it nature – flowers/leaves/animals?

Moments of JOY! Anything that brings JOY inspires me because those are the times most of us live for. Some moments have truly stuck with me that have now become the back stories for my collections – such as when I was drenched by an elephant through its trunk, my daughter’s first ghunghroo, the first sight of sunlight after six months, and a few more.

Cascade earrings

How does spirituality play a role when it comes to your designs – they are very light and airy – that seems to be your forte?

We want our creations to be a part of something larger – as they are all built in accordance to our values of enriching lives and preserving the harmony of our ecosystem. Looking beyond the aesthetics of the pieces adds an extra dimension to our pieces. The light and airy feeling that is apparent in our jewellery is because Spirituality has been translated into Comfort – which has now become one of the main features of our high jewellery. Our jewels are easy to wear and once put on become part of your skin – just as the soul is part of the body!

Can you tell us about the specific, high-quality diamonds you choose - IF - VS - why this grade, and where do you source your diamonds from? Is it Belgium?

All our diamonds are selected with one purpose only – they must stand out in a crowd! It goes without saying that they need to be colourless and very high clarity, but we also go far beyond the common four C’s that a standard grading laboratory will tell you. We look at the material of the rough, the exact cut and symmetry, the proportions of the facets etc. Plus, we have several of our own proprietary metrics that determine the light performance of our diamonds. Ultimately, the blazing brilliance of a HARAKH diamond means that 99.99 percent of the world diamonds will not pass our standards.

Do you work with specific companies like Forevermark too?

Our needs are too specific for us to work with just one company. We literally have to look through thousands of parcels to find the stones that will comply to our requirements. It is impossible for just one or two companies to fulfil our needs. We have a robust supply chain policy to ensure that they are in compliance with the Responsible Jewellers Council Code of Practices.

Haveli pink diamond necklace by HARAKH

Do you only work with diamonds or do you also use coloured gemstones, and what are your preferences?

You are talking to a hard core diamond fan! For me, a diamond is truly the emperor of all precious stones and can never be replaced with anything else. If somebody wants to add colour to their jewellery, why not go in for a fancy coloured diamond?

Having said that, of late I have been drawn toward rare and precious gemstones such as untreated rubies, Colombian emeralds, and spinels. I am exploring this side of the industry and hopefully you should see something come up from this soon!

HRH Princess Louise D’Orleans of France wearing the Tiara by Harakh for Le Bal A custom-made diamond tiara for HRH Princess Louise D’Orleans by HARAKH with the gold fleur-de-lis

For le Bal, you designed each piece according to the debutante's personality and likes – that is highly time-consuming... could you tell us what you made for some of the royals from France and Italy, and also for Shanaya Kapoor?

Le Bal is considered to be the best debutante ball because it includes a cross-section of debutantes from all over the world. Each girl is given a chance to represent their own culture and their individual spirit.

It was such a pleasure interacting with the debutantes. It was an honour to create a diamond tiara especially for the Royal Princess Louise of Orléans which had a golden lily flower (Fleur De Lis) symbolizing her position in the royal court of France.

Harakh Mehta and Shanaya Kapoor

Preparing jewellery for Shanaya Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor and Maheep Kapoor's daughter, was a very special experience since she is also based in Mumbai. We created a beautiful semi-flexible diamond cuff bangle with matching earrings inspired by the existing Raindrop collection, and a ring. Shanaya had visited our atelier for a jewellery fitting. Since both Shanaya and I grew up in Mumbai, we both instantly connected over our love of the monsoon rains which hits the city every June! To match the high standards of HARAKH brand, all jewels were crafted in platinum using D-E-F colour diamonds of various cuts.

Which are some of the Hollywood celebs you like to create pieces for?

My all-time favourites are Julia Roberts and Madonna. I have grown up admiring them since my childhood, and for me their grace and charm is timeless. From the current lot, I would love to work with Scarlett Johansson and of course Beyoncé.

HRH Princess Louise D’Orleans wearing the Tiara with Harakh Mehta

Who is your clientele, and are they around the world? Do you travel a lot to meet them, and how do they access your work?

Our clientele is very diverse since they are across the globe, but they have a few common traits. They are all well exposed, very informed, well-educated and know the jewellery world better than me! We used to meet overseas, but in the current scenario our clients prefer online consultation and meetings.

What is your philosophy, and what is next for you for the remainder of 2021?

I always believe that we must proactively take time to celebrate each moment of happiness in our lives while maintaining our values. HARAKH in our native language denotes utter joy and happiness and that has been the guiding principle – to spread joy.

Shanaya Kapoor wearing Harakh jewels at Le Bal

Several things are in the pipeline for the second half of this year! New collections, some digital offerings and probably some sort of foray into brick and mortar. Stay connected on our social platforms!

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Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.

It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor
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