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IRIS JEWELS: Combining Innovation and Tradition in the Pink City

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A street view of jewelry workshops in Jaipur, India.

The city of Jaipur, known as the Pink City for the color of its local sandstone, is also well-known for its world-class jewelry and ingenious designs. Located in the state of Rajasthan in northern India, it is an established center for handcrafted, artisanal products where artisan groups have long enjoyed the patronage of generations of its royal family.  Modern Jaipur continues that tradition and is a shoppers’ paradise, brimming with small studios and retail shops where artists create and display their wares.

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Manoj Bhargava, owner of Iris Jewels, working in his factory.

Despite the abundance of handmade jewelry, Manoj Bhargava of Iris Jewels believes that his products are in a league of their own. Manoj founded Iris Jewels in 2007 after working for many years in similar workshops throughout the city.

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The Sorcery Cuff and Elfin Magic Earrings, part of our Enchantment collection, were made by Iris Jewels.

Manoj specializes in diamond and gemstone-studded jewelry in both gold and silver, and although he earned a good living before founding his own business, it didn’t give him the opportunity to pursue his true desire: innovative design. “My passion is creating new high-end jewelry, something I couldn’t do while working in another factory.”

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Iris Jewels employees working in the factory.

Although Manoj started Iris Jewels with only five employees, his enterprise has grown to include over 200 workers. It hasn’t always been a smooth process; the global slowdown and fluctuating global prices for precious metals continue to present serious challenges. However he doesn’t let those obstacles impede his work. “My hands-on experience of over a decade trained and prepared me for this responsibility,” he says.

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With a family of his own, Iris Jewels is more than just a job for Manoj. He explains, “I want to grow in life both financially and professionally so that I can afford to give my children an outstanding education.  Eventually I hope they will be able to join me in my work. With their studies and new skills, they will be able to grow the business even further for their own families. My goal is to create an organization known for its creativity across the globe.”

View more Mela Artisans products handmade by Iris jewels here.

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  • Jessica Irias