Nirav Modi brings his coveted jewelry
brand to an audience that’s
(almost) as international as he is.
BY POLLY BREWSTER
am always on the move,” admits Nirav
Modi, the prodigious designer at the helm
of the fine jewelry company that bears his
name. A third-generation diamond jeweler
and an innovative craftsman known for
his proprietary cuts, Modi was raised in
Antwerp, Belgium, and is now technically based in
Mumbai—but since opening his first store in India
in 2014, he’s left an increasingly global footprint, for
both himself and the expanding Nirav Modi brand
(which now has stores in India, Hong Kong, New
York and London). JWM managed to pin him down—
momentarily—to find out how and why he travels.
You grew up around jewelry, but
your vision is wholly your own.
Where does it come from?
My inspiration is the woman who
will be wearing our jewels. All of
our designs keep the woman in mind.
My ultimate purpose is for the wearer
to experience delight every time she
wears the jewel.
You’re based in Mumbai. What are
your favorite things to do there?
I travel almost three weeks a month,
so I barely spend time in Mumbai even
though I “live” there! While I am in the
city, nothing gives me more joy than
spending time with family and close
friends. And as an avid art collector,
I love being around my private collection, which I keep at home and at work.
Do you ever travel for design
Constantly! One example: I visited
Giverny about seven years ago—
I have loved the Impressionists since
I was a child. The experience was
surreal and felt like stepping inside
one of Monet’s dreamy paintings.
The Lotus collection was inspired by
his “Water Lilies” series. Similarly,
the Mughal collection was inspired
by the inlay architecture at the Taj
Mahal. Even at home, I look for
inspiration. Watching my daughters
play with their toy bangles inspired
our iconic Embrace collection.
If you could travel somewhere just
for the food, where would you go?
Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. I try to
visit as often as I can.
Most memorable trip to date?
My trip to Giverny was one. Another
was a trip to Hong Kong in 2010,
when our Golconda Lotus necklace
was auctioned at Christie’s. That
marked the beginning of the brand’s
international journey and will always
Do you have a favorite souvenir,
collectible or gift you like to
buy when traveling?
I am always on the lookout for
a painting to add to my personal
collection. I try to visit as many
art galleries as I can when I travel.
What jewelry should a woman
I believe jewelry should be worn
every day and celebrated every day.
Each jewel should delight a woman
and fulfill her desire to wear it
wherever she goes. I believe that
luxury is meant to be lived. [
Nirav Modi’s haute joallerie is often
inspired by the designer’s travels.
Lotus ring, US$13,400, and Mughal
bangle, US$34,700; niravmodi.com.