Derek Marks travels to India

A little earlier this month I was lucky enough to head out to India with our talented producer Paul. The main aim of our trip was to bring to life the TJC jewellery making process – to show you what inspires pieces, how they’re designed and meticulously handcrafted. It’s been just about a year since I made my first trip to India to bring you this story. Alas, “technical problems” prevented the results of filming ever being seen. So, with an air of determination and a talented producer, Paul we started our “Indian Adventure”!

Traffic in IndiaAfter a long flight from London to Delhi – myself and Paul decided to take a more scenic route to company HQ in Jaipur, by car!

A journey of what should be three or four hours became a more leisurely six! India’s melee of slow-moving traffic comes in all shapes and sizes, with frequent diversions. Tuk-tuks share the chaos and let’s not forget the odd animal thrown into the mix – the sacred cow stops the traffic with one blink of their warm and resigned eyes.

Paul and I had arrived at our company home in the heart of the jewellery industry quarter of Sitapura. How Amit and the team smiled when they heard our first excursion. What a welcome back!

Jewellery Making and Gem SortingAfter renewing acquaintances with old friends and colleagues it was time to tour the workshops – this is where the magic happens. We watched with great interest, from that first sketch, to cutting the gemstones, to all the many stages that lead to the spectacular finished pieces. There was so much to see. And the best way to get it across to you was through Paul’s fabulous skills. So, tripod out – lights, camera and action!

Before our workshop visit, I had a predetermined vision of what we would see. I envisioned a large impersonal process. But what I saw both delighted and humbled me. I have presented jewellery on TV for many years without a real true appreciation of the work. Sure, I’d heard the process described and seen close-up still photographs but nothing prepares you for being in awe of such skill employed on every element from start to finish.

The streets of JaipurLast time I was in Jaipur, the schedule was so tight that I had very little time to immerse myself into the sights and sounds of India. This visit there was time to walk the streets of Jaipur and to drink in the contrasts of spectacular sights and sounds. We were here in monsoon season where India can become very much like Venice within minutes (doesn’t bring life to a halt though, I can tell you!). I suppose it all adds to the adventure.

I’ve heard many figures for the population of Jaipur – some say four million, some say ten. Whatever the figure, there appears to be a peace and harmony that would be the envy of many in the UK. When you see how many jobs are influenced directly by sales from both The Jewellery Channel and its sister station in America – you soon appreciate the importance of jewellery making and the generations of skills and patience required to bring every piece to life.

We’ll have lots to show you in terms of information. From my delving into the gemstone inventory with Amit to some very special surprises which include new stone launches, progress on our charity work and step-by-step explanations of how our colleagues in Jaipur conjure up such amazing pieces.

Look out as we head into September and October for big news coming from our trip. For now, and for once I’m sworn to secrecy – but for very good reason!

Thank you first to the team in Jaipur for making us feel so welcome – and ‘Shukriya’ to you for reading. I can’t wait to tell you more of our tales of Jaipur.

Derek x

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