Bafleh Jewellery: the golden touch
The co-founder of the Dubai-based jeweller talks about bespoke designs and the company’s global outlook
In partnership with Bafleh Jewellery
If Dubai is the ‘City of Gold’ then the Deira district in the heart of the Old Town is its glittering treasure trove. In this atmospheric labyrinth of bazaars, you’ll find the only dedicated gold market in the world: the Gold Souk. This covered arcade is packed with shop windows filled with dazzling trinkets, from lavish solid gold wedding necklaces to delicate diamond earrings, and it’s here in 1992 that Ramesh Vora and Quwaider Bafleh began Bafleh Jewellery together from a single, tiny counter.
First launched 30 years ago as a wholesaler specialising in selling gleaming, high purity 21K gold, Bafleh has gone from two to 200 employees over those three decades, working from ten showrooms across Dubai and the Middle East. The company has expanded into 18K and 22K gold, diamonds, and now also has a burgeoning retail arm with a global network of suppliers and customers from Indonesia to Africa, across Europe and to the United States. It’s become one of the jewellery trade’s most well-known names in the United Arab Emirates.
Look in any of Bafleh’s showrooms and you’ll find everything from dainty pendants crafted from gossamer-thin strands of gold and buttery yellow bangles to intricately made necklaces and minimalist gemstone earrings. With customers in over 30 different countries, special consideration is given to each piece according to its destination. Vora puts all his efforts into keeping up with the latest jewellery design trends, keeping Bafleh’s collections fresh, exciting and coveted across the world. “Whether the designs have come from a sample line in Malaysia or Indonesia, we make sure all our pieces are unique to Bafleh,” says Vora. “One of our most successful pieces is a simple chain we designed in-house. We sold more than one tonne.”
Bafleh’s care and attention extends to its jewellery making process, with each piece crafted by local artisans across the world. The company’s India-made jewellery is testament to this. “Our jewellery from Calcutta is completely handmade,” says Vora. “When we receive a ten-kilo parcel, each piece is different and unique.”
Customers can take the bespoke nature of jewellery even further, requesting special hand engravings and details, all overseen by the company’s in-house designers. Bafleh also encourages customers to bring their own designs and ideas – the more ambitious the better. “We were asked to make a single three-kilo necklace for a wedding in Senegal,” says Vora. “It was handmade in Calcutta.” But the most ambitious project to-date? A solid gold dinner set. “Someone brought in a silver, six-person set they wanted in gold – the plates, bowls, glasses, spoons… Everything. We made it from 12 kilos of pure gold,” says Vora. “It’s exciting when somebody brings an unusual idea. We’re happy we can learn something from the customer.”
Vora has his sights set on further expansion, with plans to extend and strengthen the company’s online business and even open a new showroom in Tokyo. But at the heart of this global company is family. Thirty years on, Vora and his business partner, Quwaider Bafleh, still consult each other on everything. “He trusts me more than his own children,” jokes Vora, whose son, Chirag, also joined the company in 2007, helping to bolster the diamond and retail side of the business. “It will always be a family business,” says Vora. “It’s what makes it successful. We as family members are always here, taking special care of our customers.”