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Jewellery and Ganjam



Jewellery and Ganjam. What are the thoughts and images that this association brings to your mind? Old world charm, a blend of tradition and the modern, international sophistication, a deep respect for Indian sensibilities, trustworthy and of course exclusivity and uniqueness are easily the most common terms that one would attribute to one of the country’s most respected and luxurious jewellery brand. And it is this very language of the brand that has been beautifully captured and encapsulated in its flagship store in Bengaluru.

Ganjam’s flagship store is located on Vittal Mallya road, right in the heart of the city, in an area known for its astronomical real estate rates as well as a mall that is home to some of the most well-known luxury brands. Spread out over an area of 14,250 sq feet, the store is imposing and at once arresting; a contemporary interpretation of a temple, that is a reflection of the deep heritage of Ganjam.

The brief was to build a store that would showcase Ganjam’s unique identity and this artistic vision was given shape by Denis Montel, Managing and Artistic Director, RDAI. “They (RDAI) are known for creating a language of luxury,” says Sridevi Deshpande Puri, Creative Head at Ganjam. “It was a match of creative sensibilities.”

According to Umesh Ganjam, Joint Managing Director, Ganjam, “We have completed 125 years of our journey and have endeavoured to stay true to our essence to create jewellery with soul. We have been blessed that through this journey, we have had people support us in our vision and work with us to create a brand that is effervescent and conscious of promoting and preserving age-old craftsmanship, precision and design. Creating jewellery is a craft, which requires deep involvement from the craftsperson and is no less than art. Our creations are a celebration of the years of bonding that we have enjoyed with several craftspeople whose unmatched skills and designs have put Ganjam on the map. We have attempted to carry the same philosophy forward with this store.

“In terms of our overall thinking, we wanted to create a unique identity for our retail space that reflected our heritage, our philosophy and to create unique luxury experience for our customers. It was very important that our roots are expressed through the design. We also wanted to create a space where we could give each customer an individual experience where they would enjoy the consultation/shopping experience in their own time. They have the luxury to walk around the store and view a sampling of the products individually displayed in the gallery as well as retail space across both floors.”

Interestingly, the plot of land on which the store stands naturally fit into the Vaastu Purusha Mandala. The store has been designed keeping in mind the principles of Vaastu shastra and its philosophy combines the elements of the Panchamahabhootha or the five elements of Space, Earth, Water, Ether and Fire. Ganjam’s famous Heritage line of jewellery draws inspiration from the ancient Indian manuals of Shilpa Shastra, that also governed the design of ancient Indian temples, giving rise to the term ‘temple jewellery.’

Limestone – from Portugal – is the predominant material that is used in the structure, and the idea was to give the impression of a monolithic structure with no difference in the material used in the facade and the interior, in order to maintain the solidarity with the temple design. The doorway is flanked by the ‘Stepped Well’ design, typical of the temples of Hampi. This design is further manifested in the stairway that leads to the first floor. Further influence of Hampi architecture can be seen in the banister design for the stairway, again reminiscent of the carved rock style of the Hampi Stepped Wells. As you step into the store, the high ceilings add to the reverential air. The first area that you step into is the L shaped gallery that has close to 20 glass display cases. Within them are showcased pieces that represent the various styles and lines of jewellery from Ganjam. Made largely of glass with minimal use of metal, the design and lighting ensure the piece of jewellery is the sole centre of focus. It is almost akin to walking around in a museum and seeing relics of the past tastefully and carefully preserved. “The idea was to allow the consumer to appreciate jewellery without the clutter,” says Deshpande Puri.

Only about 30% of the jewellery is showcased, quite different to the more prevalent jewellery retail thought which focused more on quantity. The first floor too has similar jewellery displays, the only difference being the jewellery displayed there is from the higher price range.

After the gallery comes the retail space, which is flanked by walls designed to looks like bamboo trees, showcasing Ganjam’s vision of being rooted to Indian tradition. This is also reflected in the carpeting used, which are inspired by peacocks, as in the material used in the store: rosewood, teakwood, Indian silk. Within the retail space there are four seating areas, where the trained staff, after gauging the customer’s preferences as they view the jewellery in the gallery, brings out a carefully curated selection of jewellery, almost bespoke in nature to match the customer’s tastes. A similar seating is mirrored on the first floor. The first floor also has a private saloon, meant specifically for HNIs. Prior appointments are taken, the display cases in the room reflect the jewellery to meets the tastes of that particular customer, and jewellery is selected and carefully curated. Even billing takes place in the same room ensuring complete exclusivity and privacy. There is also an art gallery, which is non-commercial space, and represents Ganjam’s commitment to celebrate art and design.


And the final area, within the retail space is a void, in the centre, reminiscent of the mandala design. A space of nothingness, a space of serenity and harmony, a feeling that pervades through the entire store. “We want to create an environment for the product, wherein it is showcased in the best possible manner, to give an experience that is memorable, intimate and knowledge based,” says Deshpande of the retail strategy. “Our product is such that it needs an environment, like this store, to be enjoyed and appreciated. It’s a story that needs to be told and the store provides the perfect setting for it.”

Five Reasons the Store Stands Out

1. Attention to detail

The attention to detail is truly remarkable.  – the texture of the limestone is kept rustic and only light coloured stones are used, so as to ensure the jewellery stands out and the rustic nature contrasts naturally with the sophisticated pristine nature of the jewellery. The handrail on the side of the stairs is modelled along the lines of the Stepped Well, and looks exactly as though it has been carved out of stone. Each piece was specially cut to reflect this style and fitted in. The door flanges are fitted with mirrors to ensure that while there are full-length mirrors for the buyers, they also side unobtrusively out of the way.

2. Customer service

Customer service has been one of the hallmarks of Ganjam, right from the inception. And that is one of the highlights of their flagship store as well. As soon as the customers enter the store, they are greeted by a Brand Host. The customers are usually shown across the gallery and the staff care to ensure they remain unobtrusive. The customers are allowed to take their time, browsing through the collection, until they ask to be shown further designs. By then the staff executives have managed to arrive at an idea of just what the customers taste may be, based on the response to the jewellery on display. So they take out jewellery that is almost bespoke, tailored to the customer’s needs. The sales team has 20 members and they all have years of experience behind them. Some, like Geetha Mani, the manager, on the ground floor, has been working at Ganjam for more than 30 years now. All the staff members have a quiet, assured manner.  In their dealing with the consumers, they tread the line between being helpful and being pushy very carefully and ensure they never cross it. 

3. Ambience

The ambience at the store is one of reverence. Once you enter the store, the hustle of the traffic outside is quickly drowned out and all you can hear are the sound of muted voices. The lighting is soft, and the focus is just on the jewellery. The display cases are beautifully lit up as are the retail areas. This is to ensure that the jewellery is the centre of attention, whether on display or whether it is being discussed. The retail spaces, the private and semi private lounge all encourage a feeling of privacy and exclusivity. All the while it is about the buyer and the jewellery and their relationship with it.

4. Collection

Ultimately it is all about the jewellery isn’t it? And the jewellery on display rarely fails to disappoint. Ganjam uses only ‘f’ coloured VVS diamonds that are handpicked by their in-house diamond experts in their jewellery and the attention to detail that is paid there stretches all the way into the intricately designed collections. Whether it’s pieces like the ‘Contemporary Classics’ range – jewellery thats designed to be contemporary, yet has the beauty to endure over time, or the Heritage collection, the quintessential Ganjam range, or pieces that combined handcrafted techniques with modern deigns, the collections have something for everyone. All the pieces on display are carefully selected and reflect the best of Ganjam design and craftsmanship. And the way they are displayed, also ensures that the jewellery is the focus, right from the display cases to the lighting. And all collections are artfully arranged, complementing each other, whether it’s in style or colour. “More recently we have introduced a line of jewellery that appeals to the younger audience. The idea was to create well designed smaller products based on a theme integrating the ethos of Ganjam” shares seventh generation Umesh Ganjam.

5. Celebration of Indianness

Whether it is the store design, the architectural elements, the materials chosen, the jewellery on display, key is to ensure that every aspect is beautiful, unique and more importantly paying tribute to all that is traditional and intrinsic to India. So whether it’s the architecture of Hampi, the Vaastu tradition, imbibing the five elements of Earth (use of stone), Fire (use of light), Water (use of glass), Space (the layout) and Ether (the central void), the incorporation of the Shilpa shastra in the store as well as jewellery design, the designers have ensured that their international sensibilities are suitably steeped in Indian tradition.

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