Late Sh. Munnu Kasliwal
Gem Palace 07-07-1958 To 23-08-2012
Birth Date 07/07/1958(Jaipur)
Last Date 23/08/2012(Jaipur)
Harper's Bazaar called him the lord of the rings.
Bill Clinton : - Munnu is known as the 21st Century Faberge
New York Times on his obituary article : -
From an old mansion on Mirza Ismail Road in Jaipur, India, the jeweler Munnu Kasliwal presided over an unlikely global empire. To the broader public, Mr. Kasliwal's name was not nearly as familiar as those of Cartier or Harry Winston, but his family-owned emporium, the Gem Palace, has for decades been a valued secret passed along via word of mouth by international connoisseurs.
Collected by European royals, Italian designers, Arab sheiks, international society queens and the merely moneyed, who could find his designs for sale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Neue Galerie in Manhattan as well as at Barneys New York, Mr. Kasliwal's baubles were also particular favorites of celebrities, whom he cultivated with unassuming charm.
Stars like Nicole Kidman were drawn to the dazzling and sometimes monumental gems Mr. Kasliwal set in audacious mounts. Undaunted by either rocks or bold effects, he strung precious stones as casually as pop beads. For a Vogue cover, a double-strand Gem Palace necklace snaked across Ms. Kidman's bare back in a gesture both elegant and punk, as though she'd been draped in glistening bicycle chains.
Born in Jaipur on July 7, 1958, and educated at St. Xavier's Senior Secondary School, a private Jesuit high school, and at the University of Rajasthan, Mr. Kasliwal might have seemed predestined for his vocation. By the time he came along, his family had already plied the jewelry trade for six generations. Yet he had no formal training as a jeweler and first obtained a degree in business management before joining the family business, started, as he sometimes said, by an ancestor who sold gems to the Mughal courts. Whether this was fact or fancy, a marked affinity for the opulence of the Mughal era became a hallmark of Mr. Kasliwal's style.
Mr. Kasliwal passed away on August 23 in Jaipur due to brain Cancer.
An eclecticist, Mr. Kasliwal drew inspiration equally from geomorphic Modernist forms and India's rich though occasionally fusty jewelry traditions. Knowing that virtually anything he dreamed of could be realized by the skilled craftsmen in his workrooms in Jaipur, he both flouted and enlarged the conventions of his craft, designing pearl torsades that knotted like bolos, earrings with gems mounted on miniature springs so that they quivered and variations of the opulent kundan sets that barnacle Indian brides.
Mr. Kasliwal developed his affinity for nature's rarest minerals in childhood, when he was given sacks of semiprecious gemstones to play with, and he readily shared his delight with visitors to the Gem Palace in India and his velvet-upholstered showroom on East 74th Street in Manhattan.
Beckoned into a private chamber at the Gem Palace in Jaipur, clients were invited to pull up chairs while Mr. Kasliwal, dressed in his customary white linen kurta, sat cross-legged before a cloth-covered table and spilled onto it the contents of small cotton sacks. As casually as though he were cleaning grains of rice, he sifted through his fingers Colombian emeralds, pigeon blood rubies, old-mine diamonds, tourmalines, citrines, labradorite or pearls.
In addition to his son Siddharth, Mr. Kasliwal is survived by his mother, Vimla Kasliwal; his wife, Kalpana; another son, Samarth and his brothers, Sudhir and Sanjay.
The Gem Palace is a family enterprise run by the Kasliwal brothers: - Sudhir, Sanjay and and the late Munnu – the seventh generation of jewelers in their family. While the firm was not founded until 1852, according to the family records the Kasliwals were gem traders and court jewelers to the Mughal emperors long before. In the 19th and earlier 20th century the age of Maharajas in India, the Kasliwals supplied jewels to the royal family of India and were also jewelers “By appointment to the Governor General of India.” In the years after India's independence in 1947, the Gem
the Gem Palace transitioned from a royal atelier to a retailer of the finest jewels in the country, keeping alive ancient traditions of craftsmanship.
Jewelry is in the blood of all three brothers but it was Munnu Kasliwal (1958-2012) who emerged as the great designer among them, changing the trajectory of the Gem Palace, transforming the family's identity from jewellers for Maharajas to the jewelers for the world's celebrities. Today the firm is helmed by Munnu's brothers and a dynamic young generation that includes his sons and nephew.
At a time when Indian jewels were considered “ethnic” – and were crafted mainly from gold and set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds in nostalgic evocation of classic Mughal designs – Munnu Kasliwal introduced a wide range of semi-precious stones such as tourmalines, peridots, citrines and amethysts into traditional ornaments. He shaped them into briolette, table cuts, and rose cuts treating them like precious gems. He created ornaments for the hair, ears, neck, arms, fingers and feet – hundred's of varieties, to suit tastes ranging from understated elegance to flamboyant bling.
Munnu's inspiration came from the beauty of India's landscape, from the natural flora and fauna that surrounded his country retreat, and above all from the ancient heritage of Indian history, design, and craftsmanship. Yet he also drew upon European design movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. His favorites gems were pomegranate – colored rubies, spinels, flat and rose cut diamonds. “In India stones have great meaning and significance for wearer”, said Munnu Kasliwal. And so, every gem was carefully selected and set with love and care; a hallmark of every jewel designed by Munnu Kasliwal is the exceptional quality of the stones.
Munnu's creations have the unique honor of having been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New york, the JF Kennedy Centre of Performing Arts in Washington DC, and at Somerset House in London.
Munnu Kasliwal can be credited with single handedly changing western perceptions of Indian jewels , he modernized traditional Indian jeweller, and his contemporary creations gained international recognition. Munnu's designs fused traditional and contemporary chic into an aesthetic that occupied its own unique niche. The past and present, Indian and western, silver and gold, precious and semi precious stones, come together in designs and forms that strikingly contemporary.
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