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About Dinesh Zaveri

Family History

My Grand father was established at Rajkot before 126 years ago at the age of 14 years to know something new had visited Madagascar (Africa) the well-known firm M/s. Nanji Kalidas for trading and gold mining work business. He was enthusiastic and visionary even at his age. He has changed the business pattern in the country and also in Rajkot after returning from Africa to India. He had started to keep accounts in the decimal system at Rajkot. He had set an example by arranging a systematic style of Gold smith work.

At that time i.e. before 80 years ago my grand father were doing the gold smith work of Highness of Bhavnagar State and Gondal State. They were known as Goldsmith of that State. They were highly respected by the State. At that time our grandfather was manufacturing ornaments and arranging to supply the same to the customers. He was always insisting for punctuality in time, discipline and accuracy. He has given his art to his younger son Gordhandas Virjibhai. He has lived his holy life and he was self-employed and by doing hard work for about 30 to 35 years and by employing skilled labour he was supplying the ornaments to the customers. He has earned his name and fame in Soni Samaj (Community) and customers.

Introduction of Dinesh Zaveri

Dinesh Zaveri 54 years old, a fifth generation comes from a traditional Rajkot Soni family. Trained by grandfather and father whose cliental included the erstwhile rulers of the princely states in Saurashtra such as Gondal and Bhavnagar, he mastered the traditional Rajkot techniques of making gold Jewellery. Rajkot Jewellery comprises of the techniques of VENI or braiding, RAWA that is the making of fine round points and RAS or hollow spherical gold forms. It is a highly ornate style, which incorporates embossing, braiding and fretting, creating pieces of very fine workmanship. To this he brought his highly developed artistry to look at the profession of his forefathers anew. The stylized world of Jadau and Minakari perfected by Mughals and the craftsmen of Jaipur and Bikaner with its inlay of precious gems would be prancing animals, dancing birds, ritual symbols, the sun and the moon, creeper and flowers include the peacock, parrot, elephant, the fan, the swastika and many other motifs. To bring these two distinct worlds together has been the unique achievement of this unassuming and dedicated student of Indian Jewellery styles. His efforts led to introducing the ‘JADTAR’ techniques of Rajasthan to the crafts persons of Rajkot and Ahmedabad. The lead provided by Dinesh Zaveri has led to Ahmedabad becoming a major center of JADAU work in the country and with a distinctiveness of its own, Zaveri’s cliental extends to Guwahati and Chennai.

Dinesh Zaveri’s strengths have lain in the pursuit of his vision for which his care and attentiveness not just to his patrons but also his craftsmen has been the springboard to his success in realizing this vision. The family business was 1100 craftsmen and this in spite of the fact that he had resisted becoming a wholesale supplier of some limited designs. He had created space for design in Jewellery that belongs to what can be called ‘modern’ traditional Jewellery. His effort led to the creation of a path that leads to modernizing within the so-called ‘styles’ of Jewellery. Without losing his bearing Zaveri experiments in a secure fashion with indigenous styles of ornamentation. His is not the path of the avant grade designer who works with a more abstract style of geometric forms, creating Jewellery which to being three-dimensional. His is a vision grounded in the styles and the repertoire to symbolic motifs. This leads to this charting a new direction in Indian Jewellery, based on its inherent aesthetic norms and strengths. Here novelty and innovation can often lead to a loss of traditional aesthetic valued or become culturally discontinuous and minutest in incongruity. Dinesh Zaveri’s mastery of his medium leads him to craft an overarching grammar of regional Indian styles. This especially Pan-Indian not a clumsy or forced synthesis but one that respect the aesthetics of each style and yet understands the beauty of the whole that is to be achieved.

His ‘multilingualism’ as it were, enables him to effortlessly bring the various languages of Jewellery into a dialogue within a frame of his own crafting. He is able to bring together the LEVTANI style of Jaisalmer along with the VENI RAWA detailing of a Rajkot. Into the JADTAR work of Rajasthan he incorporates the veni style. But the exchange is not just between the so-called high styles. He is able to combine elements from RABARI and other nomadic style into his work as well.

Approach to Work

In a major breakthrough to his new distinctive style which can be legitimately called Ahmedabad JADAU comes from a positive seeking out of techniques that are radically different from ones own, as inlay of precious gems is to the art of embossing and fine detailing. His fascination with inlay led him to the art of embossing and fine detailing. His fascination with inlay also led him to undertake a study of all inlay techniques from the work of Rajasthan to that of Tamilnadu. Such different approaches to Jewellery making are integrated and come to rest art a new design dialect, which preserves and discards selectively, arises from an unerring sense of visual discrimination and discretion. His conviction was that there ought to be an extension beyond the boundaries of the traditional style of Rajkot. He was aided by his proficiency in conjuring up drawings of ornaments for his clients that spoke and persuaded more than words. Even to this day, his finely detailed and rendered drawings display an immense detent and complete understanding of the aesthetic and technical aspects of the craft. He finely rendered drawings done colour conceived on an actual scale are used to communicate to the craftsmen and client. He is also able to create these drawings was one thing and to communicate with the craftsmen that they ought to take up the challenge of extending heir skills to include an entirely new techniques was another. From a modest group of four to five craftsmen,

Dinesh Zaveri has been able to multiply this number a hundred fold if not more. The demands for Indian Jewellery for specific ritual occasions rest on a classical ensemble of Jewellery pieces. And yet there is a demand within the classically conventional world posses something different, an aspiration that cannot easily be met by all jewelers. Dinesh Zaveri and his craftsmen worked on this interface of tradition and novelty, building on the old market and creating a new one. He individualized world of custom made pieces was adhered to, even as demands increased and pressures and incentives to cater on a wholesale basis mounted. His belief that he needed to pursue the design of Jewellery as an art motivated him to continue working on his chosen path. His considerations that were taken care of in the pursuit of this craft were to keep abreast with market realities of changing needs. While maintaining the visual continuity and identity of designed ornaments, the challenge for him was to craft traditional items lighter, without the loss of the appearance of heavy Jewellery. His innovation enabled him to design Jewellery for a range of social occasions. While making allowances for the market is built into his method, he also performs an educative function in reminding us of the customary usage he believes has roll in Indian therapeutics, exercising a beneficial effect of the wearer. The auspicious and therapeutics uses of gems have always been part of the love of the jewelers.

Between Present and Future

Dinesh Zaveri’s business credentials are impeccable. He has managed to achieve amazing results and his turnover has shot up dramatically since he moved to Ahmedabad from Rajkot in 1971. His enterprise as a businessman is coupled with his sustained interest in documenting and researching indigenous styles of Jewellery making. It is this in fact which allowed him to make his break through as an innovative jeweler. He is unusual in that his plans for education and research have led him to actively undertake not just teaching at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar but also pursue the putting to gather of documents on Indian jewels and ornaments. He regularly contributes articles to newspapers and a magazine. If his life-like renditions of ornaments has been the mainstay of his work mastery of computers drawing has significantly contributed to the building up of not just database but has provided a fillip to his creative talents.

A viewing of his computer drawing leads one to believe that they were photographs of the real ornaments and not just blue prints for his craftsmen to follow. Having made the move to computers to assist him in his works, his systematic method of working brings him to a position where he has a entire visual and technical vocabulary bank which he can gain access to and the facilitates his working rapidly and effectively, increasing his productivity manifold. He intends to formalize software programme, which would be a systematic compliment to the Jewellery profession in selected areas. To sum up one could say Dinesh Zaveri is exemplary in the scope of exploration that he has undertaken. His composition is the fruit of the creation of a new frontier that is lateral and horizontal in spread. He comes from being well versed in the motifs symbols and techniques of the Indian cultural universe. For some schooled in the orthodox system of apprenticeship to a family trade, the transition modern realities where exchanged and dissemination of knowledge hold the key, seems to come without any difficulty. Perhaps he embodies through his work, the spirit of exchange. His tremendous openness his combined with the mastery of ones own craft tradition. Being rooted and branching out are two parts of the same organic processes. He is an almost encyclopedia aspiration, seeking to provide systematization of the knowledge makes India Jewellery possible. It is an aspiration where the local is self confident in recognizing its niche in the global.

He has been awarded “National Award” for Fashion Industry 1997 Excellence in fashion Accessories by Shri Saroopsing the Governor of Gujarat.