A Glittering Legacy
The House of MBj successfully completes 120 years in the business of jewellery making. To mark this glittering success, we interacted with Mayank Soni, the managing director and one of the four brothers who run the century-old family business.
Text: Anurima Das
The House of MBj is a jewellery brand trusted across India and around the world as torchbearers of the royal standards of Ratangarh (in Rajasthan). By combining these with the best jewellery-making traditions of Bengal, MBj has been ensuring quality and novelty through seven generations. Starting with wholesaling and exporting, they entered the retail market in 1982 in Kolkata. and today they have several showrooms. That apart, the house also has its own state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Delhi, where gold, polki and diamond jewellery is crafted.
The House of MBj was founded in the year 1897, in Churu, Rajasthan by Mayank Soni’s forefather, Prithviraj Kadel. His legacy was carried forward by Bilasrai Kadel, Surajmal Kadel, Motilal Kadel, Banarsi Lal Kadel, Kailash Chandra Soni, Kamal Kishore Soni, Parmanand Soni and Vijay Kumar Soni, and today the man at the helm of affairs is Mayank Soni.
“Our forefathers were mostly goldsmiths in Rajasthan, who used to produce traditional gold jewellery. During the first few years, our clients were mainly the locals, traders and merchants,” says Mayank. Thus Prithvirajji began his journey as a goldsmith in Churu, serving the locals, as well as visiting merchants from different states. His successor, Bilasraiji, moved to Kolkata for better prospects, followed by Surajmalji and Motilalji and they followed in the footsteps of Prithvirajji. “Our great grandfather Motilalji died at the age of 46, leaving our grandfather with the big responsibility of taking care of the business at a very young age. His vision and efforts at the right time led him to start the wholesale business along with manufacturing,” Mayank adds.
The next generation, including his father and uncles (Kailash Soni, Kamal Soni, Parmanand Soni and Vijay Soni) started the retail business. “And in my generation, we are walking in the footsteps of the last two generations, making The House of MBj a bigger brand nationally and internationally,” says an upbeat Mayank.
Seven generations of excellence
Since 1897, The House of MBj has cherished the importance of heritage, style and innovation. From being goldsmiths to becoming manufacturers and wholesalers during 1900’s, they have come a long way and carried the baton successfully through the generations. Then, in 1982, they grew into a retail business and started their maiden retail showroom at AC Market in Kolkata. In 1988, they extended their footprint and opened a second showroom at Bara Bazaar. The expansion continued to stretch their horizon further and the brand successfully opened their third showroom in Jaipur in 1992. In 1996, they opened their fourth showroom in New Delhi and in 1998, a fifth showroom at Lord Sinha Road, in Kolkata.
Though no more showrooms have been added in recent times, the growth has continued. “In the year 2015, we opened our manufacturing unit with a corporate office and a boutique showroom in Delhi, which has been a big milestone for the brand,” says Mayank. “It has been an extremely illustrious journey for the family, and it is by winning the trust and patronage of customers that the company has grown from strength to strength over seven generations.”
Taking the family legacy forward was a natural for Mayank Soni and he has been doing just that since he stepped into the business in the year 2000, while he was still studying for his graduation. Taking over the reins, he began enriching the business with his strategies and creative insights and then went on to pursue his graduation in gems and diamonds from GIA and then a jewellery production course from Metallo Nobile, Italy. “During the course, I carefully studied and analysed different markets, market trends, consumer behaviour and practices, among other things and tried to gain an understanding of the jewellery industry at large,” says Mayank Soni. “This knack of understanding the bigger picture and applying it in smaller ways has helped the brand grow in many ways. Currently, I am based in Delhi, running the corporate office of The House of MBj, mainly looking after the creative, branding, marketing and production departments.”
The other directors of The House of MBj at present are his four younger brothers, Gautam, Gunjan, Abhishek and Aayush Soni, who directly report to their uncle Vijay Soni, who is the CEO of the The House of MBj.
Jewellery defines and adds glory to moments of celebration, and in that they exude a sense of pride with their design, craftsmanship and exquisite beauty. Every piece is unique in its own right and every jeweller tries to give his best to his designs. And MBj is no different. Their constant endeavour has been to shape each piece of jewellery with extraordinary fervour and designing each piece artistically to reflect a masterful amalgamation of the traditional and modern.
MBj’s exclusive polki and diamond jewellery pieces are showstoppers in every way. The designs are a beautiful juxtaposition of the old and new, and it is through the union of these two elements that they are able to uphold their legacy, while, of course, paying due attention to contemporary trends. Their beautiful kadas, heavy chokers and earrings are all styled to be versatile and each piece can be worn as a statement piece and effortlessly accessorized with both Indian and Western attire. The house also specialises in contemporary pieces that are a perfect blend of modernity and tradition. The limited edition pieces range from beautiful chandbalas embellished with pearls and diamonds, glittering chandeliers set with diamonds, peacock kadas, chunky cocktail rings and bracelets, bangles embellished with diamonds, heavy chokers adorned with precious stones that transport one to the bygone era.
Talking about them Mayank Soni says, “We offer excellent craftsmanship, high quality standards and an exhaustive range of classic and contemporary designs. With a clientele spread across India and the world, we continue to feel inspired to create timeless jewellery that are a class apart, while ensuring that there’s something for everyone.”
Living up to its age-old values and traditions of uncompromising quality, unmatched craftsmanship and excellence in service, The House of MBj has carved a niche for itself amongst discerning customers globally, including entire generations of distinguished families. Carrying forward these values, the company continues to extend its presence across different markets through both its stores as well as participation in prestigious exhibitions globally. The horizon seems limitless for The House of MBj and even 120 years later, the brand seems young and ready for the future. There is so much that they bring to their patrons that they truly deserve a special place in every jewellery box.