• Thursday, July 02, 2015 - 05:30
Three of India’s wealthiest jewelers hail from Kerala, but that’s hardly surprising. According to a report by Wealth-X titled Top 10 Wealthiest Jewelers in India, three Kerala-based firms are in first, third, and fourth positions. Kalyan Jewellers owned by T S Kalyanaraman is the richest jeweler in India with US$1.3 billion turnover, while two other jewellers MP Muhammed Chairman of Malabar Gold and B Govindan Managing Director of Bhima group have a personal net worth US$1 billion and $620 million respectively. Wealth-X compiles research on wealth intelligence, provides sales, marketing, strategy and compliance solutions to clients in the financial services, luxury, non-profit and education sectors. Here is the Wealth –X top 10 wealthiest Indian jewelers:  Rank Name Net Worth * Company name 1 T. S. Kalayanaraman 1,300 Kalyan Jewellers 2 Nirav Modi 1,100 Firestar Diamonds 3 M. P. Ahammed 1,000 Malabar Gold & Diamond 4 B. Govindan 620 Bhima Jewellers 5 Vallabhbhai S Patel 590 Kiran Gems 6 Vasant Gajera 580 Laxmi Diamond 7 Laljibhai Patel 480 Dharmanandan Diamonds 8 Babubhai Lakhani 470 Kiran Gems 9 Mavji Bhai Patel 410 Kiran Gems 10 Rajesh Mehta 310 Rajesh Exports         *in US$ million Kerala based companies in the list: Kalyan Jewelers Based in Thrissur, the group was originally into textiles. T R Ramachandra Iyer had migrated to Thrissur from Kombakonam in the early 20th century and started Sitaram Textiles in the 1940s. It opened its first gold store first store in Thrissur in 1993. Current chairman and managing director is T S Kalyanaraman, it was his grand-uncle who opened the first textile store. His sons Rajesh and Ramesh will eventually look after the business after him. Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are both brand ambassadors for the chain. Bachchan was roped in after he opened one of the chain’s stores in Ahmedabad. According to Business Line, Bachchan’s fees that day, were higher than the value of the shop’s stock. Recently, the firm was in a controversy with its racist advertisement that portrayed a dark child holding an umbrella for Rai Bachchan. The firm today has a presence in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Mumbai, and Punjab, and deals in gold, diamonds, platinum and silver. Malabar gold Like Kalyan, Malabar gold too started out as another business. Founder and Chairman MP Ahmad was born in a farmer family and started an ice factory in 1979 in Kozhikode. After that turned out to be a failure, he began some spice and copra business in 1981. It was in 1993, the same year that Kalyan opened its first store, that Ahmad too ventured into the business in Kozhikode. After 2000, the company expanded rapidly. In 2005, the firm opened its first showroom outside Kerala in Bangalore, and currently has more than 100 showrooms worldwide, with a turnover of US$1 billion. Actors Kareena Kapoor, Mohanlal and Hema Malini have been brand ambassadors of the group. Bhima Jewelers B Govindan, is the head of the firm, which was originally started by his father K. Bhima Bhattar who opened Kerala’s first ready-made gold jewellery shop in Alapuzha in 1925. Today, Govindan owns showrooms in Thiruvananthapuram, Madurai, Adoor and Nagarcoil. Based in Alappuzha, the company expanded to open a showroom in Ernakulam in 1978. Bhattar died on December 16, 1985, aged 81. B Girirajan, the eldest of his five sons now run the business. Girirajan’s share of the business includes showrooms in Kozhikode, Kannur, and Sulthan Bathery. After the abolition of the Gold Control Act in 1992, Bhima gradually spread its presence within Kerala and also to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.