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If Le Bal des Débutantes doesn’t ring a bell, you may recognise the event from the recent pictures of aspiring actress Shanaya Kapoor that flooded Instagram. An annual debutante ball hosted in the French capital, it has become the most coveted gala on the social calendar for glamorous, high-flying It-girls from the world-over to make their society debut. An event of this stature demands fashion to match. Bespoke couture gowns and one-of-a-kind fine jewellery are the order of the day. This year, le Bal roped in Mumbai-based luxury jewellery house, HARAKH, headed by fourth-generation diamantaire Harakh Mehta, for the latter.

“le Bal is an extremely prestigious event  that has been consistently presenting young girls from influential families for the past 25 years. We at HARAKH only use top-quality rare and precious diamonds and gemstones, so it was a natural partnership. These girls are accustomed to the best life has to offer, and our jewellery fit the bill,” says Mehta. “The purpose of le Bal is also to raise money for underprivileged children in South East Asia and teenage mothers in the US. Since our brand ethos is steeped in spirituality and compassion, we resonated with their cause as well,” he adds. 

Harakh Mehta
Image: Courtesy John Philips

The 20 débutantes were dripping in customised haute joaillerie from the brand, each especially created for the occasion after one-on-one interactions with the participants. For Kapoor, Harakh Mehta went for a classic-meets-modern aesthetic. “We selected a pair of fluid raindrop-inspired diamond earrings and a matching cuff for Shanaya. These handmade earrings were studded with brilliant-, pear- and tapered baguette-cut diamonds. These were 8 weeks in the making while the cuff took another 10 weeks. Shanaya was wearing a total of over 43 carats of D,E and F colour in IF-VS clarity; all set in platinum.”

We speak to Mehta about the inception of HARAKH, it’s DNA and the woman they are designing for.

On the DNA of HARAKH
Harakh Mehta
Athina Manou in Harakh jewels Image: Courtesy Oleg Covian

I am a fourth-generation diamantaire, and have grown up witnessing the evolution of the diamond jewellery market in India—our dinner table conversations often revolved around gems. Soon, I realised that the customer had also evolved, and felt a gap for an Indian fine jewellery brand that is uncompromising about the quality of their diamonds and gemstones. So we launched HARAKH in 2017. Our pieces are all handcrafted by a niche group of highly-skilled master artisans. Our philosophy is steeped in a deep sense of joy and happiness, and our designs are inspired by spirituality and celebration.

On HARAKH’s commitment to quality
Harakh
Photo : John Philips

We only use rare and precious stones of D,E and F colour with IF-VS clarity. Even our coloured diamonds are only intense or vivid in grades, such as our pink diamonds. You will also witness unique coloured stones in our collections, such as hard-to-come-by pigeon blood unheated rubies or Colombian emeralds. While our sensibility is global, we champion ancient Indian techniques. So, our ‘Sunlight’ collection features the ancient pota granulation technique that has been mastered by only a handful of artisans across the country.

On what inspires him
Harakh
Image: Courtesy John Philips

I sketch all the time. All my design inspirations comes from moments of joy that I have experienced throughout my life. These sketches are then passed on to my team of handpicked designers who interpret my vision into wearable pieces of jewellery. Each design is a result of a meticulous creative process.

On his design language
Victria Liao. Image: Courtesy: Maurizio Pighizzini

HARAKH revolves around the concept of ‘luxury with a soul’.  The story behind each piece is layered, which we aim to highlight at every stage of creation, be it the sourcing of stones or the actual setting. This is why we also share a reflection card with every piece where we explain the spiritual inspiration behind the design.

On the HARAKH muse
Harakh
Image: Courtesy John Philips

Our patrons are well-travelled, well-read and discerning individuals across age groups who are thoughtful about investing in a timeless pieces they can cherish for years. They are savvy and well-informed about jewellery, and seek pieces that they feel a personal connect with.

On the season’s top trends
Harakh Mehta
Countess Tatianna Mouravieff-Apostol. Image: Courtey Oleg Covian

Less is more this season, so lightweight jewellery that is easy to travel with, are big. We are also witnessing the rise of mixing of different shapes in unconventional forms to give classic styles a twist. Fine jewellery is now being approached as a work of art rather than just an accessory.

Praachi Raniwala

Raniwala is a freelance fashion, luxury and travel journalist, and a brand consultant. She has a degree in fashion and lifestyle journalism from London College of Fashion, and previously worked as a features writer at L’Officiel India. You can now find her words in Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller among other publications. The writer is based in Mumbai, but her heart belongs to London.