Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers – Sole Leading Woman Jeweller in Sri Lanka
Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers is a legendary name associated with jewellery that reflects timeless elegance, making its presence felt at every occasion with its exquisite creations. Birthed in 1968 by the master craftswoman, Mallika Hemachandra herself, the brand has grown from strength to strength and become the first choice among its ever-growing clientele spanning the world. The journey, despite its daunting challenges, has resulted in showcasing the creativity of a legend and her protégé, Chamindri Hemachandra and the multifaceted elements of craftsmanship sought after by royalty.
What are some of the significant milestones of Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers?
After its incorporation in 1968 by Mallika Hemachandra, a designer par excellence who graduated from Holbourne School of Arts and Craft, UK, there was no turning back as the creative spark was kindled. The unique designs sparkled worldwide as her customers ranged from aristocrats to foreign diplomats and other dignitaries.
“We have had the privilege and honour of designing jewellery for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England and other famous personalities such as the wife of the erstwhile Maldivian President, Abdul Gayoum, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs. Nawaz Shariff, Emir of Bahrain among others,” added Chamindri, the equally talented daughter who spearheads the brand, having taken it to another level.
In the ensuing years since its foray into custom-made jewellery, Mallika Hemachandra created a strong identity in the sphere of jewellery designing and craftsmanship in Sri Lanka and the world over. Laying claim to its fame are the prestigious awards received:
- Entrepreneur of the Year 2000 from the Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka
- Award for the Most Effectively Presented Stall at the Facets Gem & Jewellery Exhibition in Sri Lanka
- Merit Award for the Best Stall at the JCK Show in Las Vegas, USA
- Private Showing of jewellery to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
- National Gem & Jewellery Authority award for Assaying and Hallmarking
- President’s Award of ‘SWARNASHIKAMANI’ for being The Most Value Added Jeweller in the country.
- Best Creative Jewellery Product of the Year – 2010 awarded at the Asian Mass Media Awards ceremony.
- Founder member of the Jewellery Manufacturing and Exporting Association.
- Board member of the Technical Training Institute – Colombo 10 and the Investigator for the Bachelor of Design Degree at the University of Moratuwa.
- Past President of the Jewellery Manufacturing and Exporters Association from 1992-1995.
How challenging was the journey?
The pioneering, fearless venture by Mallika Hemachandra shattered the metaphorical glass ceiling in an era when ‘men literally ran the show’ and held onto the traditional belief that jewellery designing was sacrosanct and only to be passed from father to son as a birthright among the privileged caste who were bestowed with the task by the kings who ruled our land. She broke away from the mould and gave a voice to women when the term women empowerment was unheard of, giving rise to a brand for women by a woman who understands the distinct elements of what makes a ‘woman tick’.
This firebrand did not emerge without umpteenth challenges which arose in various forms but she and her crew of merely three staff overcame and went onto capture a niche category. Through this exuberant venture, Mallika Hemachandra revolutionized and revitalized the jewellery trade of our land and created a host of job opportunities for women and men.
Was it easy for you to take on the family business? What changes have you made?
I have inherited my mother’s spark for creativity and zest for life, so taking on the brand came as an excellent opportunity for me to enrich it further. When I joined in 1995, Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers had one branch at Horton Place, which showcased its bridal jewellery collection but within two decades we had expanded our network to eight branches. Currently we have an exclusive range of jewellery in the most sophisticated locations.
We have digitalized all our operations and introduced cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities to create the most unique designs which are valued for its creativity and passed on from generation to generation as a family heirloom.
The years have been kind to us and we have emerged from a designer of bridal jewellery alone to multi-faceted categories as per our customer requirements. Branching out has also given us more scope and an in-depth understanding of a diverse array of needs made by customers from all parts of the island and the world. Customer care per se has risen several notches as we have dedicated teams who ensure that our customers retain the loyalty by providing them with the most authentic designs and after care service. We have not merely provided them with a piece of jewellery but built a long lasting relationship, which in most cases has spanned decades.
From merely three staff who were employed at inception, Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers provides employment opportunities to over 150 employees with about 80% being women as we believe in reaching out to help another human being and it is often the woman who is marginalized in society, which is reason for us to provide a higher quantum of our employability to women.
What categories does MHJ cover?
Our pièce de résistance is our bridal collection. In addition, the Daily wear with its array of ear studs, pendants, necklaces, bangles, bracelets, rings and cufflinks, gifts & mementos and other specific collections for ladies, men and kids are popular too. We also have an ornate collection of jewellery in a category which is aptly named Cleopatra collection and the Petals in Bloom collection which are daintily designed jewellery. While these are our categories, we have the flexibility and capacity to go beyond our categories and design as per our customer’s most versatile requirements.
We also have the yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold jewellery with or without the precious stones. All jewellery is certified and bears the authenticity which we have upheld since inception.
What are the most current trends and demands made by clients?
While customers themselves have evolved in their preference, we have noticed the trend towards a blend of bridal and daily wear with the modern bride opting for a more inconspicuous or less elaborate design which can be worn on a daily basis or even at social gatherings. Customers have also diverted towards rose or white and silver jewellery embedded with precious or semi-precious stones that enhance their features while creating an element of mystique and elegance.
What improvements have you made or what further goals do you have in mind for the company?
While we will retain our other selections due to the demand by our customers, we will continue to focus mainly on our bridal wear which has gained a repertoire for its matchless beauty. The designs will be consolidated as part of a value added design segment with emphasis on personalized care and customer-specific designs. We will continue to improvise our online platform to reach out to our overseas customers as well as our local customers who have grown stealthily.
What differentiates Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers from the rest?
As the leading woman jeweler, Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers understands a woman better and identifies the various aspects of enhancing the beauty of a woman through the designs we create. For women by a woman is what makes us distinctive.
Give us a detailed description about the Bridal Jewellery Collection
Our Bridal Jewellery has stood the test of time and broken forth into an array of designs. We are thankful to our customers who continue to be our muse in creating the most exquisite designs. While some designs would bear the motif of the bridal saree or dress the other designs would be more personalized designs signifying a memory. Our bridal collection comprises a vast selection for weddings of all races and religions.
In August, Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers expanded its main showroom and the luxurious ambience in the spacious location is dedicated our brides-to-be to choose their own jewellery at their own pace. While the bridal collection includes a number of tailor-made packages which includes the rings and necklace to merely the two rings as per the couple’s choice, it also comprises of contemporary and modern designs. The choices are endless, with the couple being given the option of purchasing a unique custom-made design with personalized engravings and more. With GIA certified gemstones and solitaire rings, in addition to German gold testing machines certifying the authenticity of the gold used, customers receive a guarantee of the purchase made, which exceeds the expectations and provides value for generations.
Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers has captured the hearts of their customers by going beyond expectations to fulfill the diverse needs of each and every person who walks in through their portals – creating a relationship that lasts a lifetime.