The craftsmanship of creating opulent ornaments is as cherished in Tamil Nadu as the art of dance, and GRT ranks high amongst the destinations where this craft is honed to its finest degree. Its exquisite pieces in gold have led to recognition as South India’s No. 1 Jewellery Store for 916 jewellery from the Bureau of Indian Standards, and its chic diamond ornaments have earned it the Best Diamond Showroom in Chennai award from DTC-De Beers for four years in a row. GRT has also been awarded India’s No. 1 Platinum Retail outlet by PGI.
The city’s leading jewellery store GR Thangamaligai or GRT draws liberally from the rich heritage in jewellery design. At its sprawling four storey flagship store on Usman Road, GRT’s love for beautiful pieces is on full display; customers eagerly try on the delicate kammal, lotus shaped earrings with rubies and diamonds, or stare mesmerised at their reflection with kaasumaalai, the coin-shaped necklace typical of Tamil Nadu. Further on, brides-to-be select the gem-studded hair ornament thalaisaamaan with their parents. Others pick from the latest diamond wedding ranges that offer a break from tradition, encouraging brides to create a signature look to match their personality.
Founded in 1964 by G Rajendran, GRT has grown to be a household name in Chennai for its purity and designs. Under his direction, his sons GR Ananthapadmanabhan and GR Radhakrishnan, have diversified the company into the hospitality, agriculture, education, trading and non-conventional power sectors.
Its designs have adorned generations, and the first store has grown to accommodate contemporary pieces while retaining handcrafted traditional jewellery. Now spread across four floors, its wares dazzle the eye; ornaments studded with navaratnas (the nine gems believed to ward off evil and enhance the beneficial effects of the planets) sparkle from behind counters, and the typical Tamil insignia of birds and flowers assume various forms on a range of pieces. An entire floor is dedicated to diamonds, and trained staff help customers select the finest Belgian cut gems; platinum pieces entice customers to the next floor, where an array of styles await. The breadth of the collection was cited by Platinum Guild India for the Best Platinum Showroom in India in 2008.
It was the first to introduce imported Italian jewellery, leveraging on its tie-ups with noted Italian designers. Its antique pieces are retailed as the Vintage Collection, which features unique jhoomkas, kangans and chokers with an enduring appeal.
The company’s most valued line is its wedding collection, made with gold and platinum, diamonds, pearls, rubies and emeralds. The thalaisaamaan precedes an array of pieces that make the Indian bride exceptional. It is hemmed by the naagar, shaped like a five-headed serpent and crowned with a peacock, and the jewelencrusted hairpiece jadanaagam, which follows the shape of the plaited hair in an intertwined design.