Hyderabad, formerly the largest princely state in India, has been known as a city of palaces and pearls. With a regal past, one with its own flag and currency, follows another commemoration of its rich legacy – Kishandas & Co.
The story dates back to four generations of jewellers, featuring Harlochandas, his son Harkishandas, his son Krishnadas, and the present generation – Nitin and Prashant. The Krishnadas family’s enviable clientele included members of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s court, his Nawabs, their Generals and Senior Officers, highly placed businessmen, professionals – the venerable upper crust of the city, and the combined strength of all their formidable family trees. This elite clientele of the titled, celebrated, decorated and rich gentry of Hyderabad has proven to be the ultimate testimonial of the family’s jewellery design skills. From being entrusted jewellery designers of the highest standing, to working on some of the most lavish commissions in the country, this family has always been held in high esteem for their expertise, sense of aesthetics, and integrity.
For 145 years, Kishandas & Co. has exemplified the singular refinement of rare, original, exclusive jewellery. Maintaining a rock-like consistency, the jewellery house metamorphosed into a respected flag-bearer for fine craftsmanship, propelled by the goodwill, love and patronage that came from its select clientele. The flag continued to fly high and proud primarily because of the collective skills and competence of the next generations, Shri Harkishandas and his son Krishnadas, who were both accomplished and master jewellery designers.
Even today, experts in the exalted environment of gems and jewellery consider Shri Krishnadas as ‘the Father of Pearls’. Jewellers and brands from all over India and the world often consult him on matters pertaining to value and aesthetics. Krishnadas is fondly addressed to in the business community as Kishandas. Like father figures from various fields, he is modest and soft spoken, and may be inclined to cling to an exquisite and rare design that he considers exceptional rather than put a price on it so that it might find a buyer. And like all artists and designers, he finds bliss in the creation, rather than in the selling, of a splendid piece of jewellery.
Meanwhile the next generation, Nitin and Prashant, sons of Shri Krishnadas, have followed their father’s many decades of experience, and applied the knowledge to steer the business into its fifteenth decade of operations.
The passion for jewellery, and their encyclopaedic knowledge of the intricacies of gemstones, that they have acquired first hand from the maestro, has seen them evolve from children to eager apprentices to respected businessmen. The young sons run the business with an instinctive understanding of exquisite jewellery – this is an insight that cannot be gained without thousands of hours of study and application, and that has been passed on from father to sons.
“ We pride in the fact that none of our pieces are ever replicated - simply because design for us begins with the gem and its rarity. Our design sensibility roots itself in classicism. A piece from Kishandas & Co. is distinctly recognised for its rooted design and gem quality, two attributes we strive hard to preserve.” adds Prashant.
The jewellery created at Kishandas & Co. predominantly continues to be ‘one-of-a-kind’, the price of which is seldom considered or discussed, let alone negotiated. These pieces invariably feature precious stones that come with a frisson of excitement just beneath the surface. The stones are set in designs that make each piece a collectible, and therefore far more valuable than simply an item of jewellery.
Pratiksha, Prashant's wife, joined the Krishandas business in early 1995. She is also an architect by profession. In 2017, she conceptualised an artistic flagship store of Kishandas & Co. at Begumpet. Nitin, Pratiksha and Prashant, like their father, keep a low profile while building the business organically, using trust and quality of workmanship as its cornerstones.
Harlochandas started a small pearl trading shop at Golconda Fort
His son Harkishandas joined the business
They moved to Charminar
Harkishandas had three sons - Vithaldas, Ghanshyamdas and Krishandas. They branched out with their own outlets under their own names
Mid 1980's and early 1990's
4th generation of the family joined the Krishandas business
Krishandas & Co. opened its store at Punjagutta
Krishandas appointed the official valuer at the TTD for nearly a decade
Opened the flagship store at Begumpet converting their old residence into a boutique heritage bridal jewellery outlet
Timeline covered in - The Times of India