A pearl success story

n the early 1900s, the pearl market in Hyderabad would open after the arrival of a particular gentleman and shut for the day only after he left. The illustrious man we are referring to is Mangatrai, founder of the city’s world-renowned pearl trade. This is the same man who would string up rows of precious Basra pearls for the ruling Nizams. In fact, such was his dedication towards offering his clients a great variety of choices that Mangatrai would travel to Middle-Eastern countries like Iraq to source pearls, and often stayed there for months on end. While his wife found his long absences difficult to cope with, he wouldn’t cut down on travel as his business would suffer.

It is this same unfailing sense of commitment and dedication to work that has been inherited by everyone in his family. Over 100 years old, Mangatrai Jewellers is now being run by the fourth generation and deals in pearls, diamonds and precious gems.

After Mangatrai, the family business, which began with a shop in the Old City, was run by his son Ram Kumar. Later, his three sons Radheshyam, Chagan lal and Vishnu Gupta gradually took over. Now the three brothers run the show along with their children.

On their success, Chagan Lal’s son Darshan says, “Our strength lies in our togetherness. If you can work well together, your business will just multiply.” Elaborating on how two generations of brothers and cousins work together, he adds, “Each showroom is taken care of by one brother and we have eight showrooms. Each brother is responsible for his store and must meet his targets.” Without divulging actual figures, Darshan points out the wedding season as being the best time for business. He admits that growing competition has led to jewellery houses cutting down on their margins.

When Mangatrai started the business, he would only deal in the now hard to find Basra pearls. With the changing times, the business now includes diamonds, polki and antique gold jewellery as well. They were also the first to introduce the Tahitian natural coloured cultured pearls in the market. And they still sell antique Basra pearls, which, according to Darshan, are a good investment as they appreciate in value every year.

Read entire pearl success story.

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