Rajendrakumar A Shah, a veteran of the gem and jewellery industry in India who was closely associated with a number of leading trade bodies for over five decades, passed away in Mumbai on January 29, 2020. He is survived by his wife Satyavatiben, and children Prernaben, Hemaben, Nanditaben and Avnish, and their respective families.
Rajendrabhai was one of the few in the industry to have an in-depth knowledge of both coloured gemstones and diamonds. After completing his graduation from Mumbai, he joined the family business in Burma, trading gems and jewellery, but migrated to Mumbai in 1958 and set up Rajendrakumar A. Shah as a family business dealing in coloured gemstones and diamonds.
One of the founder members of The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Gem & Jewellery Exporter’s Association (GJEA) and the Gemmological Institute of India (GII), Rajendrabhai actively worked on various committees of these bodies over a number of decades. Till a few years ago, he was the Managing Trustee of GII, a responsibility he shouldered for over 25 years.
During his career of over five decades, he developed a very successful and specialized business in both the diamond and coloured gemstone segments.
As part of his gemstone business, he travelled extensively to countries like Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, etc where new deposits of emeralds were discovered in the 1960s and 70s, and even operated the Sandwana mine in a joint venture with MMTC Ltd. The mine was unique in many ways and even then had its own airstrip and township.
Similarly, in diamonds too he carved a special niche for his business, dealing mainly in the bigger sizes, even 50ct+, the top D/E colours, and Flawless and VVS categories and that too not in the popular cuts, but in the old cuts, the rose cuts, and other antique cuts.
He was always proud of the fact that he “believed strongly in doing something different from others, and standing apart from the crowd”.
Rich tributes were paid to Rajendrabhai by industry leaders and other veteran stalwarts in both Mumbai and Jaipur.
GJEPC Chairman Pramod Kumar Agrawal described him as a “very knowledgeable person with great business acumen, and a very straightforward and upright person and served the industry in various capacities.”
His colleagues at GII said he was the “backbone of the organisation” for many years and “a great visionary who contributed immensely to the gem and jewellery industry in general and to GII in particular. He adapted quickly to the vast changes that took place in the gems and jewellery industry over the years.”
In recognition of his enormous contribution to the industry, GJEPC had honoured Rajendrakumar A Shah with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its 40th Annual Awards function in 2013.
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