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>>Where to buy one-off trinkets at Colaba, Bandra
It's probably got to do with his lucky birthstone. Santosh Bathija has steered his jewellery boutique, Popley Art Gallery from a quiet bylane behind the Taj to the chaos of Colaba Causeway, to a phenomenal response from Indian and foreigner clientele. Not the one to bask in past glory, the entrepreneur has now ventured into Ã¼ber contemporary jewellery pieces that he showcases at his new store Aquamarine, named after his birthstone.
The interiors of Aquamarine, Colaba.
Without indulging in publicity hysteria, Popley has stood as a quiet choice for the prudent shopper looking for original designs in silver, gold-plated silver and semi-precious stones. Controversial cricket coach Greg Chappell's wife Judy was spotted shopping at Popley before the couple left India in 2007. Sachin Tendulkar's wife Anjali usually makes a quick stopover before retiring for dinner at Tendulkar's restaurant across the road.
The decision to open Aquamarine in full view of bustling Causeway has helped Santosh traverse the tourist-cum-local shopper profile. "You have no idea how much difference it has made to the business after we moved to the main road," he smiles. Santosh says he was fortunate to have landed this location in a heritage building, where a Raymond store stood from 1948 to 2008.
The decadent interiors lined with baroque wallpaper, hold a chandelier at its vortex set off by Gothic architectural influences.
Sandwiched between high-end jewellery boutiques at Bandra, Aquamarine's second branch at Turner Road is an alluring option for those who prefer modern designs in silver. To give jewellery designers their due, Santosh has commissioned Neelum Narang, Vasundhara, Shaheen Abbas, Isvaara and Chandni India to design exclusively for Aquamarine. Dedicated showcases hold each of their designs dominated primarily by earrings.
"We realised silver was in great demand among all women, from college students to those who could afford solitaires. Handcrafted silver and gold-plated jewellery is our forte"
Why we recommend them
They have something for every sensibility, and their one-off designs make sure you feel special. Their range traverses budget to pricey, and their gold-plated silver jewellery looks as good as real.
At: Aquamarine, opposite McDonald's, Colaba Causeway. Call: 22020434
Also at Sankalp, opposite Tawa restaurant, Turner Road, Bandra. Call: 26432262