By Olivia Quiniquini
Conversation pieces are the forte of Saboo Fine Jewels, a Hong Kong-based jewellery and gemstone manufacturer that deals in top-quality coloured gemstones, special-cut diamonds and high jewellery creations using only the finest of materials.
The Saboo family has been steeped in the world of jewellery and gemstones since 1935 when patriarch Chand Bihari Saboo started with the trading and manufacturing of coloured gemstones in India. In 1986, his sons Rajendra and Surendra set up Saboo Fine Jewels in Hong Kong, focusing equally on gemstones and jewellery. The company has sales operations in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the US.
Saboo Fine Jewels’ loose stone business revolves around fine heated and unheated Burmese rubies and Zambian emeralds that it buys at auctions and then cuts at its manufacturing facilities in Thailand and India. These gem-quality stones are much sought after by high-end jewellery manufacturers around the world, according to third-generation family member Pranay Saboo, a director in the company. The Chinese market is particularly taken by Saboo Fine Jewels’ exceptional offerings, he noted.
The company has also developed its own Fusion cut for diamonds, which gives a half-carat stone the appearance of a 70 pointer, said Saboo. “This special cut that we introduced around six years ago gives diamonds extra brilliance and lustre, producing a bigger look at less weight. The Fusion cut works best for cushion and pear-shaped diamonds,” he explained. The company’s diamonds are manufactured at its production facility in Surat, India.
The jeweller’s Fusion-cut diamonds are ideal for people who wish to own “substantial-looking” jewellery but are either unwilling or unable to pay the exorbitant prices commanded by bigger stones, Saboo commented.
“The market has been quite receptive to these diamonds of ours. These are one-of-a-kind stones so we cannot make a thousand carats; it has to be a limited production. Very high-end jewellers have really enjoyed using our Fusion-cut diamonds in their pieces and offering their clients tremendous value for money,” the company official shared.
At last year’s September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, Saboo Fine Jewels cast the spotlight on a 20-carat Colombian emerald bullet with minor oil and a very fine, rare 12-carat, D-colour Type IIA diamond in IF clarity grade. It also presented suites of fine emeralds and diamonds, which Saboo described as “very top-quality stones.”
The show was relatively slow for fine jewellery but demand for diamonds was solid, noted the company official, adding that fine-quality emeralds and Saboo Fine Jewels’ very own Fusion-cut diamonds enjoyed steady business in 2016.
Saboo Fine Jewels has also made a name for itself in the high jewellery world with its luxurious one-of-a-kind statement pieces inspired by nature and architecture.
Company creative director Surendra Saboo personally supervises the minutest details of each jewellery piece that brings together the best of east and west. Designs draw inspiration from the Saboo family’s Indian roots yet are infused with modern touches to give them an international appeal. Much emphasis is placed on wearability through proficient craftsmanship that allows movement and flexibility, the company noted.
“Our jewellery is extremely detailed and showcases highly skilled craftsmanship. Each piece is unique – we never repeat a design. All our jewellery is made by hand in Hong Kong by our skilled craftsmen,” the younger Saboo remarked.
Saboo Fine Jewels’ designs are anchored on seven main collections. Influenced by the affluent lifestyles of royalty, Royale comprises timeless precious high jewels with rare, certified centre stones set in gold or platinum and adorned with Fusion-cut diamonds. Jewellery pieces in the Aura Collection focus on remarkable centre gems that are enhanced by other coloured stones inlaid and engraved using Mughal techniques dating back to the building of the Taj Mahal.
Jewels in the Dew Drop Collection are designed with exceptional centre stones surrounded by dangling rose-cut and briolette diamonds. These are drilled in an exclusively symmetrical manner and connected to the main body of the piece with fine gold wire. With no metal visible to the naked eye, the diamonds appear to be floating around the main gemstone. The Elemento Collection meanwhile highlights the company’s prowess with material and design through three-dimensional titanium jewellery pieces combined with gemstones and diamonds.
Reinventing designs from the royal jewels of the Mughal period, Yaksha Kuber showcases Saboo Fine Jewels’ expertise in the art of Inlay and Partaash, a decorative technique requiring utmost precision to insert coloured gemstones and engrave a sculpted gold base to form patterns and pictures within the jewellery piece. The company completes the revival of ancient Mughal traditions of jewellery-making in the Taj Partash Collection, which adds Kundan settings to the two already elaborate techniques. Taking months to complete, the resulting 22-karat gold jewellery pieces feature diamonds and gemstones in Kundan setting of 24-karat gold. Finally, the Kaustubh Collection highlights hand-selected, natural pearls.
Positive response from the market led the jeweller to export the Saboo brand in 2005. “Our brand stands for exclusive, high jewellery creations, which are impeccably crafted, artistic masterpieces that highlight the beauty and wonder of fine coloured gemstones in detailed and refined designs. Each Saboo jewellery piece speaks for itself; each one has its own art. When customers see the jewellery, there is no need for words, no need for explanations – they can see instantly the creativity, vision and skill that go into making that magnificent piece,” the company official noted.
Saboo Fine Jewels is growing its eponymous brand through shop-in-shops in the Middle East, Russia and the US; it currently has six points of sale. The next step, Saboo said, is to find retail partners in Europe and expand its footprint in the US.
Saboo is upbeat on growth prospects this year, following an admittedly challenging 2016. “Business surely slowed down last year – we experienced the same scenario as the rest of the industry, but we specialise in one-of-a-kind things, and that works in our favour during periods of uncertainty. Business may be slow but when you sell one piece, you are back on solid ground. There will always be a market for unique and special products. People are on the constant lookout for something new and exciting, and that is where we come in,” he said.