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Everything is design and design is everything

03 january 2022

ashraf_motiwala_xx.pngBorn in the Basra pearls family, the first private jewelers to royal families, Ashraf Motiwala is the fourth generation to carry forward the legacy of A S Motiwala. Spearheading the prestigious family legacy, Ashraf Motiwala felt the need to breathe new life into the business. As demand for fine jewellery escalated both in India and abroad, the changing scenario required him to re-invent A S Motiwala, while keeping the reputation intact.

In 2002, Ashraf Motiwala acquired the nuance of the trade from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) right from mining, cutting, polishing to assorting (grading) diamonds and precious stones, and worked towards translating the heritage value to high finished bespoke pieces.

In 2018, Faith received the prestigious Diamond of Asia International Award for Quality Excellence from the Economic Growth Society of India. In 2020, Ashraf Motiwala was presented with the Inspirational Leader award for his impressive achievements in the realm of the jewellery business. Under Ashraf Motiwala’s direction, the brand A S Motiwala received a fresh perspective on the shifting consumer behaviour by launching Faith, which embodies A S Motiwala's trustworthiness, values, and craftsmanship.

In 2021, Ashraf Motiwala, as Founder & Creative Director at ‘Faith By ASM’, has taken their newest brand extension online to reach a global audience.

Here, in an exclusive Interview with Rough&Polished, Ashraf Motiwala speaks about the company and its mission…

Some excerpts:

Can you walk us through A S Motiwala... right from the inception of the company to date? Where are your manufacturing unit/s situated; and from where do you source your raw materials… diamonds, colour gems, gold, etc.?

A S Motiwala was founded in the year 2012, but the brand enjoys over a century-long legacy (1905-present). Since its inception, the brand has attracted global patronage and the trust of celebrities, social figures, members of the film industry, and more. Over the years, A S Motiwala has positioned itself as an industry leader and has earned many honors and accolades in the gem and jewellery industry.

Our manufacturing units are in and around Mumbai. We source our diamonds from Debeers and Alrosa.

                             Image credit: A S Motiwala

Please give us more information about the kind of jewellery you deal in. Known more as a high-end, couture jeweller offering fine jewellery, do you cater to the average jewellery buyers too with entry-level everyday jewellery?

A S Motiwala was initially perceived as a legacy jeweller catering only to high-end customers has now also entered the everyday jewellery industry with its auxiliary brand faith by ASM.

Faith started as an idea, a relentless pursuit to take a century-long legacy brand and translate it into a luxury brand that would resonate with the youth. Taking the brilliance, expertise, and trust of the century-old legacy, with faith we aim to elevate everyday jewellery and offer our customers the best fine jewellery experience possible

Faith by ASM is now online to cater to a larger audience. The brand has made significant advances in exports and expanded its retail footprint in over 10 TAJ locations pan India.

And… how important is the ‘design’ aspect in your jewellery. Also, tell us your story … on your passion for designing! Can a jewellery connoisseur recognize ‘AS Motiwala” jewellery? Do you customize jewellery pieces for clients?

We’re a design-first brand… Everything is design and design is everything. We are very specific when it comes to the finish and quality check of every piece that we produce. Our designs are usually inspired by nature in all its glory, inspirations that come from travels, new places, cities with brilliant architecture or from the serenity of the mountains. We customize jewellery for our clients and strive to achieve perfection in all that we do. We have multiple layers of Quality control to ensure we retail only the finest quality.

                              Image credit: A S Motiwala

Over the years what transformations have you seen in jewellery demand in the local market - in terms of design, diamond content, gold content, etc.; and what is the trend at present?

There has been a big shift in design thinking over the past two decades, Indians being well-travelled now expect a better-finished product. Design is the king when it comes to jewellery but finish and wearability are also very important factors.

We have seen a majority of customers moving away from heavy gold sets to fine diamond jewellery, sets that have lesser gold and more diamonds are a winning combination. Also rose gold has been a market leader, this whole new colour of metal has taken a lot of liking in the Indian market. The Indian customers are now liking the R&D, earlier the designs were monotonous and would look mostly the same now people have started liking the innovations that there are in jewellery. Innovations like enamel in their jewellery are preferred by most well-travelled customers. Additional customers are very receptive to innovation and they also encourage us to innovate rather than imitate

Whenever we do sit to design, we always have the consumer in mind we do always think of the well-travelled customer and then design the pieces.

Is AS Motiwala into the jewellery export business? If not, any plans on the horizon?

We are into jewellery export business... we export to over 4 continents.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished