Today, Sotheby’s, one of the world’s best known auction houses, will conduct their maiden auction in the city. As part of an initiative titled Emeralds for Elephants, 10 pieces of bespoke jewellery and a custom-made Ganesha idol will go under the hammer. Base prices of the pieces start at Rs 20 lakh and go up to almost Rs 1 crore.
The initiative was started by Gemfields, an ethical mining company, and has been conceptualised around a similar event held in London last year. “We had eight designers who created jewellery using our Zambian emeralds. We exhibited them at Selfridges, after which Sotheby’s conducted an auction. We raised over a million dollars in just half an hour. Then, we decided to bring the same idea to India,” says Anna Haber, director of global marketing and PR, Gemfields.Elaborating on the Indian version of the event, Haber explains, "The initiative is relevant here. It’s a great way to marry the world of conservation with jewellery to raise money. Ten designers have come on board to create unique pieces of jewellery, and Arzan Khambatta has created a Ganesha sculpture as the headline piece."
Jewellers from Bangalore, Jaipur, Baroda, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh are contributing, alongside Mumbai’s Anmol Jewellers and Nirav Modi. City-based architect Khambatta’s work, titled Emerald Avighna, consists of a whopping 630 carat emerald, and is expected to fetch over Rs. 50 lakhs.
Haber claims that the project has received a far more passionate response in India than it did in London last year: “All the jewellers have been very involved. They’ve not only created the pieces, but also helped to spread awareness. Elephants may be closer to Indians’ hearts, but the response has gone way beyond what I ever imagined.”
Today’s event is expected to have an impressive turn out of industrialists, socialites, and even royalty, who are specially flying down for the event. The organisers confirm that there has been plenty of interest in buying the pieces, with a few of them already having three to four interested bidders. Khambatta’s headline piece has also attracted the interest of potential buyers.