For many of us, getting engaged marks the first milestone of our immediate family. It’s a touching chapter in the story of our lives, a time when our two narratives become entwined and we become, well, “we”. For many women it’s also the time that they receive their first piece of diamond jewellery in the form of an engagement ring – a tradition that dates back to Roman times.
Family stories are the sweet spot for Niyati Kapadia, who spends her days capturing the most romantic and important chapters of people’s lives, mostly in diamonds. Being a jewellery designer is an enviable job. And the weight of also playing the role of personal historian isn’t lost on her. “Jewellery plays an important role in capturing a family narrative. Think of all the stories and memories you’ve heard recounted as friends and family reflect on pieces of jewellery – engagement rings with romantic proposals, wedding rings exchanged at dramatic weddings, and milestone birthday gifts that mean the world,” she says. “A jewellery box is really a box of life stories.”
Fostering a long-term relationship
Niyati believes there’s a rising trend in Hong Kong for families to engage a storyteller like herself. Jewellers can bring a certain creative consistency to the collections of women (and men) who like to capture their family stories in jewels. Her business, Niya-K, is brimming with long-term customers who return again and again when they have a new chapter to capture.
The idea of fostering a long-term, life-long relationship with a jeweller isn’t new. In fact, Niyati explains it’s quite the norm where she is from. “In India, it’s very common to have a family jeweller who you work with over a long period of time. It’s about building trust and accountability, and understanding the individual design preferences of each client.”
Trust and accountability
Niyati has a unique edge when it comes to these jeweller imperatives. Trust and accountability go hand in hand in her work. Not only does she offer a family history in the business, but her diamond supplier for her jewellery is also her husband. This professional marriage provides both peace of mind and a striking discount for clients.
Understanding the individual design preferences of clients comes naturally to Niyati, who began her design career in the fashion industry. She likes to take her time with clients and she has an empathetic approach to the process. “Designing a piece can’t be rushed. It’s a big purchase; people want to get it right. And, so do I!”
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This article first appeared in the April/May 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.