“Hi! I am Vijay Kotahwala, a fourth-generation, color gemstones dealer from Jaipur, India.”
My father, Mr. Om Prakash Kotahwala, started training me from an early age with the hope that eventually I would also become a part of our glorious family tradition. As a kid I got really hooked by the dazzling kaleidoscope of color gemstones and the stories that go with it. I kept learning the nuances of the trade, like assorting, cutting, polishing and most important appraising, under the sharp and watchful eyes of my father. Though it was a family business, he made sure that I underwent rigorous training before I was finally deemed fit to be a gemstones trader. In the 32 years, that I have spent romancing the stones, I have worked with a huge variety of them… like Emeralds, Rubies, Sapphires, Opals, Tanzanites, Tourmalines, Aquamarines, Tsavorites, Mandarin Garnets, etc.
My passion to look for new possibilities took me to various mining locations all over the world. I always wanted to work with something new and something unique, something that would stand apart from the crowd of gemstones that I had already dabbled in. In the year 2015, I accidently stumbled upon a parcel of rough purple stones…and I became curious. At the first glance, I thought I was looking at Amethysts, but the deep intensity of the stones was something else. Immediately I sent them to a lab for testing and when the results came out, I was shocked. I never imagined that they would be Rhodolites… I had never seen such a vibrant, vivid purple in a Rhodolite.
Finally my search was over…It was kind of love at first sight…I just could not take my eyes off it….its rich purple radiance was so hypnotic….and the overwhelming feeling, of being among the few people to have witnessed this new Star, was beyond words….Imagine, this treasure has been lying undiscovered for some hundreds of thousands of years….and one fine day Mother Nature finds the right moment to present its gift to this world. We, the mankind, are so unaware of the divine intentions…
In the next few months, some of the stuff made it to the market through different miners. There was a sensation in the gemstones world….gem lovers were stunned…this new star gemstone created a buzz…jewellers were awestruck and looked at it in disbelief…..Gemmologists wondered, calling it just a Rhodolite would be totally inappropriate, as the price structure of this rare material would be in multiples of a common Rhodolite. So, it started being addressed as “Purple Garnet”, just to make a distinction and make its identification easier. Rhodolites were common and mined at so many locations worldwide but Purple Garnet would be a single source gemstone….from the mine in the Manica Province in Central Mozambique. Some jewellers named it “Grape Garnet” as the colour resembles luscious purple grapes. A few calls it “Royal Purple Garnet” as the color purple is associated with Royalty.
Meanwhile, I continued collecting passionately and lapped up all the rough stones which came my way. But as time passed, the stones’ sizes and the quantity kept getting smaller. Competition became intense to get hold of whatever little the mine was yielding. The gemstones world was not getting as much as it wanted to. It had been only around two years of sporadic mining…. And then, the gem deposits finally got exhausted.
Once again, a divine intervention….Mother Nature said, enough is enough. Nature has its own way of telling mankind that you can’t take everything for granted…that you must live with what you have…that you must learn to appreciate the smallest of blessings. So, here we are, grateful to nature for whatever quantity of this fascinating gem we were gifted. And hopeful that we will be blessed in future as well.
During the last few years, I have managed to cut a lot of gemstones from the rough that I collected. My purpose of creating this website was to showcase my Purple Garnet collection to you all. It is a Limited Edition since there seems no possibility of new rough coming to the market. Obviously, you must be thinking why I would sell it, if I am so crazy about it and if it is so rare. The answer is simple….because I am just a humble cutter and I need to sell to bring food to my table as well as to all the skilled artisans who work in my lapidary. I am a connoisseur but can’t afford to be a collector. It is my sincere wish to spread the joy, of possessing this magnificent gem, to as many people as possible. May it bring the same happiness and emotions to all, as it did to me.
In the end, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the brave miners who work in inhuman conditions, risk their lives and still spend their lives in utmost poverty. They are the unsung heroes and the pillars of the gemstones industry. High time, the governments and the mine owners give them their due and take proper care of them. I am also very grateful to my team of highly skilled artisans, without whom I could not have completed my journey so far. With prayers on their lips and very basic tools in their hands, they create timeless beauty, for all of us to cherish.