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Best of the Best 2008: Jewelry: Viren Bhagat

Jill Newman

When, in 2005, jeweler Viren Bhagat acquired an exceptional 17th-??century, 70-?carat carved emerald, he envisioned the Mughal-era jewel as the centerpiece of an emerald-bead necklace. Over the course of the next three years he completed the design by obtaining 28 emerald beads that match the center stone in hue, quality, and shape. "I love older stones; they have a different subtle charm, more like a whisper than a shout," says the fourth-generation Indian jeweler. With the same patience and determination, he spent 10 years assembling a cache of 24 Burmese cabochon rubies, weighing 146 carats total, for a necklace (above) that he recently completed.

The Bhagat jewelry house, which includes Viren’s two brothers (Bharat handles the company’s finances and Rajan oversees sales and administration), creates just 60 to 70 jewelry pieces annually, and most of them sell before they are completed. In the past few years, Bhagat’s designs have become so coveted that clients now purchase pieces based on his sketches.

"My jewelry has subtle Indian references, yet it’s not ethnic," Bhagat says. For instance, his inspiration for an elaborate platinum choker embedded with 150 rose-cut diamonds and thousands of tiny diamonds was a fanciful antique Indian anklet. The choker—flexible and lightweight, like most of his jewelry—shares design elements with the anklet, but it is more wearable.

Viren Bhagat, +91.22.2364.0809

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