Entrepreneur Chirag Shah is looking to give the ever-in-favour gold a run for its money with his creative line of silver jewellery.

What is a woman’s best friend? The answer is pretty evident: jewellery! Young Pune-based entrepreneur Chirag Shah proves it’s also a man’s. Even as a kid, Chirag remembers being curious about jewellery, experimenting with pieces and setting a path for a jewellery line for men. Even his nickname in college was ‘the silver Turk’.

Watching his father deal in fashion jewellery, Chirag was used to handling the pieces from a very early age. “In a way that set the foundation for my career,” he explains. “Having grown up with finished pieces, components and stones all my life I guess I developed a subconscious liking for the trade.”

European experience

“As an entrepreneur’s son you get all the experience you need as you grow up. But since I wanted to pursue a different thread, I thought it was essential to have a proper academic backing.”

Chirag went on to top his course in International Business at the Ecole Superior de Commerce (ESC) Grenoble in France. Going to France was a strategic move because it gave him an opportunity to scour Europe as his launch pad.

“In 2003, when I was in Grenoble, Europe was looking at silver in a new light and that gave me the perfect chance to observe the trade culture. I wanted to introduce a brand new line that would grab attention; also I was fortunate to have a well established business as a base. That helped me expand into silver a lot more easily.”

A decade ago, silver was given the step-motherly treatment; today it is in the limelight. With the Indian ‘gold-only’ fever declining due to rising prices and silver becoming more fashionable, silver jewellery has more takers.

Chirag says, “The best is yet to come. With the world getting closer and the web acting as the new postal service, I have started an online portal. Now fashion enthusiasts no longer want the same old patterns. My online portal www.silverbeadsandfindings.com has about 650 jewellery components and stones. A college-going girl in Denmark has radically different tastes from a corporate diva in New York or a middle-aged school teacher in Australia. It’s my endeavour to encourage everyone to use their creativity for their individual jewellery tastes. It’s as simple as shopping from the comfort of your home, but you get to have the fun of putting together pieces with your friends or by yourself. But for the ones who feel they lack the creativity; we also have a huge range of about 3000 finished products.”

On his own

A common question to entrepreneurs is: is fighting red tape, taking risks daily and the myriad problems of being on your own, really worth it?

“I can’t talk for others but, for me, ‘taking up a job’ wasn’t even in the picture. Cliché but true; I wanted to be my own boss. My argument was: ‘if I’m going to work 12 hours a day for six days a week, isn’t it better that the revenue from my hard work comes to me rather than going to somebody else?’ Also my ideas in the beginning were too radical for anybody else to sanction.”

Chirag’s ultimate goal is to make silver a mainstream metal along with gold. He along with his design team and karigars experiment with new designs and try to improve quality control according to international standards.

“Once a customer shakes hands with us, I’m pretty sure they won’t go anywhere else; it’s always a long-term relationship,” concludes the young silversmith.