Gems are at the core of Saboo Fine Jewels. The brand got its start in the 1930s with Chand Bihari Saboo, a gemstone dealer based in Jaipur. In 1980, his sons, Rajendra and Surendra, took the helm of the family business and have since built Saboo Fine Jewels into an internationally renowned brand with a head office in Hong Kong and access to some of the planet’s most incredible gems—connections which were forged, in part, by Chand Bihari decades ago.
Today, Saboo Fine Jewels crafts just 40 pieces of jewelry each year. Its repertoire includes diamond pieces with nearly invisible settings, vibrant works made with ultrarare conch pearls, stunning feats of craftsmanship that feature gems set within gems, and colorful titanium creations—all of which pose their own special set of challenges. “Titanium is the lightest metal on earth—also one of the most difficult metals to mold,” says Pranay Saboo, Rajendra’s son and executive business manager, who points to a peacock-inspired design that took nearly eight months to make. “Each and every petal has to be ready hand-carved and molded; it took a long time to do it!”
We spoke with Pranay about his favorite gems right now, risky gem-setting maneuvers, and more.
How would you describe the Saboo aesthetic?
Our designs have to be something unique, something one of a kind, and it has to be wearable.
On average, how long does it take to make a piece for this collection?
Basically, all of our pieces would take at least four months up to a year and a half to make. We have to source the right material, matching the right colors, cut the stone, set the stone. And we have a few skilled laborers who can actually do this, so they’ll sit on a [gem] for a few days before they start doing something.
How dangerous is it to set one stone within another?
It is one of the most intricate and delicate [processes], but we do it to perfection. We do sometimes have damages, which costs us a lot, and, yes, sometimes stones break. We do a lot of crystal inlays, and crystal is a very soft stone that tends to break.
What gem do you love working with right now?
Rubies and emeralds are a real focus of our jewelry right now. And looking into the American market, we started [working more with] sapphires recently. In my experience in the last 5 years, blue sapphires sell fastest in America, so our new collections are all made in blue sapphires.
What is one of the most challenging pieces of jewelry you’ve ever had to make?
We have made jewelry for the royal family in the Middle East. A lot of Middle Eastern families in Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait know Saboo by brand and by the pieces we make. We did make a piece specially for one of the [members of one of these families]. I cannot share a picture because it’s in a private collection, but the client was so keen on us making something difficult. She just wanted us to make it no matter how long it took, and it took almost one and a half year to make her one brooch! We had to travel around the world to actually find the right [artisan] to do it. Sometimes, to make a custom order is the most difficult thing for us. People don’t mind paying, but they want what they want. And that’s the challenge.