Timeless Treasures — The Material Culture of Regal Indian Weddings – a 40 Kg, coffee table book on regal Indian weddings was launched amidst great pomp and grandeur at the Oxford book store, Kolkata, by London-based publisher Rutland Hall.
The highly visual large-format publication comprises unique pictures and stories of weddings in the royal families across India from the late 19th century to the present day. It has rare or never-before-seen archival images. The book traces the evolution in wedding trends in India, from its princely past to its modern avatar
The book is authored by Andy Varma and Ungelie Patel
Andy Varma is the co-founder and chef de cuisine of Vama and Chakra restaurants in London and is a Kolkata boy.
Andy Varma, had teamed up with Ungelie Patel, a business partner, to set up Maia, a company which will plan dinners and parties for its clients.
While Andy focuses on the food, Ungelie, focuses on the creative side.
Andy Varma, Ungelie Patel and Kamaljit Singh are also the directors of Rutland Hall Publishers.
The book was part-authored by Art Consultant, Curator, and novelist Deepika Ahlawat.
Three years ago, Kamaljit, Ungelie and Andy were sitting and having a drink together when they decided it would be good to do a book on weddings.
In the days of your, Royal families of India would commission jewelers like Cartier, Mauboussin and Chaumet for bespoke jewelry.
The French Jewellery company opened its archives for researchers of this book. Cartier is well known for its jewelry and wrist watches, the diamond necklace created for Bhupinder Singh the Maharaja of Patiala and the “Santos” wristwatch of 1904
Cartier owes its rise to Indian and Indian nobility. Cartier became big actually because the Indian royalty commissioned such big pieces.
Jacques Cartier came to India, to take away magnificent jewelry of local maharajahs back to the London studio to redesign and modify for their own use. Jacques-Théodule Cartier was one of three sons of Alfred Cartier and the brother of Pierre Cartier and Louis Cartier. Pierre’s grandfather, Louis-François Cartier had taken over the jewelry workshop of his teacher, Adolphe Picard, in 1847, thereby founding the famous Cartier jewelry company.
Together, Pierre and Jacques purchased a large number of pearls and precious stones from an Indian prince. The uniqueness of the pearls and stones created a sense of each piece of jewelry being special, which helped with the success of their business.
The erstwhile royal families also opened their private collection for the researchers. This was because of trust established by Deepika Ahlawat, who is already doing projects with the Maharaja of Kapurthala, with the Scindia and Gwalior families, the Nawabs, The Nizams including Middle Eastern royalty.
The second part of the book features an exclusive selection of modern-day luxury brands that represent the ethos of the regal Indian wedding, including couture houses, jewelers, and iconic wedding destinations.
The Book has been priced Rs10, 000 for the Indian market.
The Launch was accompanied by a lavish drink party by Chef Andy. It included Red and White Chilean wine which was accompanied by Kolkata cuisine and sweet dishes with a twist. Oxford was also transformed into a ramp for models to showcase wedding couture by Shantanu Goenka.