Shea Luxe Jewels, a fine diamond jewellery brand is just 5 years old but it is already creating waves among jewellery enthusiasts. In order to carve a niche for its brand, Founder and CEO, Bhavya Shah, says that they make collections that are a crossover between fine art and fashion to appeal to the modern woman. Shah speaks about consumer preferences and gem trends that are prevalent in the market today.
For Bhavya Shah, researching market and runway trends is an integral part of his business. A postgraduate from business school in the UK, Bhavya started off with designing jewellery for family and friends. Soon, his business boomed and today, Shea Luxe Jewels makes locally handcrafted jewellery, modern imported diamond jewellery, and Indian artisanal jewellery. The company also sources loose diamonds and solitaires for its clients.
Tell us about your early years.
I grew up surrounded by jewellery tools and machines from my father’s machinery business, an influential force who has guided my entrepreneurial spirit and eye for detail.
After completing my post-graduation from a business school in the UK, I immersed myself in the jewellery world and worked my way up before deciding to venture out independently, creating bespoke pieces inspired from my travels around the world for family and friends. As the word spread, business scaled and Mumbai remains at the heart of the design process, where my creative team and I develop all the collections. Production takes place in India, Turkey, and Italy where every piece is handcrafted by the most skilled artisans, using traditional and modern techniques; this means that every piece of Shea Luxe Jewels is entirely unique.
Your father was dealing with machinery for jewellery. Were you interested in working on the bench and being hands on an artist?
I always believed in understanding and learning the basics before execution. My summer breaks during my undergraduate studies were spent training in jewellery factories to learn processes and techniques. I truly used to enjoy spending time in the filing and polishing units and seeing how they brought shine to the jewellery surface. Those formative years help me in guiding my production team to achieve the best quality we can offer.
Your high-end lines are more diamond-centric … Tell us more about the process from concept to creation.
The design ethos at Shea Luxe has always been – evocative, eternal and every day. Each product in our collection has been manufactured keeping these beliefs in mind.
All our items are ‘classic with a modern twist’. We are a research-based design house, and we constantly study worldwide trends, international fashion weeks and latest launches from established brands and then put pen to paper.
We are a brand that offers high-end products at accessible price points. Our study of customers is in-depth, and every piece of jewellery is made keeping a particular client or a set of consumers in mind, so the end result is always a designer piece within a price bracket.
When did you establish your brand?
Shea Luxe was established in 2017 and we have had a great run so far. We started off out of a small office in Opera House, Mumbai, with almost no customers and only a passion to make high quality, contemporary jewellery. Today, we are one of the more popular jewellers of South Mumbai having a lounge in Kemps Corner.
We have been fortunate to service our customers from different backgrounds and with different fashion choices. Each customer is equally important to us, and our focus always is on how to make them re-visit the lounge. For our product range, we have learnt to experiment and innovate constantly as everyone likes to see something ‘new’. While we stick to our ‘classic with a twist’ approach, we have learnt to be more liberal with the ‘twists’ in the recent past to suit our multiple customer bases.
How long does it take for each piece to come to life?
Straight-line fashion pieces are easier to make and sell, but the real joy is in making something which you are proud of. The design itself can take a few months to hit the right note and the production process, too, can take a few months depending on complexity of design. Since we use almost all shapes of diamonds in our products, sometimes getting a particular size in quantity can also take time. Yet, we have manufactured custom jewellery in less than 24 hours too.
You also have an affinity towards gemstones. Which is your favourite?
I am currently in love with tanzanite. The sheer depth of its colour and the fire that the stone emits once set, is unparalleled.
What are the consumer preferences these days?
Customisation is always available in all our designs. At the end of the day, it is what the customer truly connects with. However, the major area of customization is engagement rings. Almost every engagement ring buyer wants his/her ring to be special and one-off. We offer a wide range of customization services. From sourcing the best solitaire to designing the ring as per their requirement and eventually engraving their special message, we do it all.
Another trend has been personalisation. Today buyers would like to personalize something as basic as a tennis bracelet with their initial or some other motif that they connect with. New moms are loving their child’s initials or names personalized into bracelets or necklaces.
What is trending in terms of diamond cuts and motifs?
In the last two years, we have seen a huge resurgence of baguette cuts. Indians usually refrained from buying it as they believed that the shine faded with time and their resale value wasn’t as much as round/brilliant cut diamonds but that’s changed. Marquise and pears, too, have become as regular as rounds and now the customers are more open to buying a mixed lot as compared to a few years back.
Which are your strong domestic and international markets?
Our retail venture is currently focussing on Mumbai and Ahmedabad as a secondary market. While we have customers from Guwahati to Gandhinagar and Srinagar to Trivandrum and offer home delivery across India, Instagram too is a strong market for us.
We also export to retailers in Asia, America, Africa, and Europe.
What is a day in the life of Bhavya Shah?
A regular weekday starts with a prayer followed by helping my wife get my 4yr old ready for school. After dropping him to the bus stop, we go to the gym for an hour followed by the first half of the day spent at a factory and then in the lounge for customer appointments. We usually wrap the day by 7pm followed by dinner with the family, book reading for my son and early to bed.
What are your hobbies?
Music is an integral part of everyday and we enjoy travelling as a family and make sure we go on at least four vacations a year. I consider researching and planning vacations a full-time hobby and it is something we as a family indulge in.
If you were not a jewellery designer, what would you be?
My love for design is prevalent since I can remember. I enjoy interior designing, architecture, product design, to name a few, but if not a jewellery designer, I would in all probability be involved with architecture or interior design.