Money & Me: ‘I prefer to invest in happiness’

Jewellery designer Pavit Gujral says she is mindful about spending and treats herself only after linking it to an achievement

Pavit Gujral, a fine jewellery designer and gemologist, has invested in property and gemstones. Pawan Singh / The National
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Pavit Gujral, 30, is a fine jewellery designer and gemologist who is preparing to officially launch an appointment-only studio in Dubai Design District.

Born in Kolkata in India and raised in Chandigarh, Ms Gujral earned an economics degree in the UK before graduating from New York’s renowned Gemological Institute of America.

Ms Gujral has since won several awards for a jewellery collection that is inspired by nature, architecture, travel and her upbringing.

As founder of PG Designs, she creates one-of-a-kind bespoke pieces, with prices ranging from $10,000 to $81,688. Ms Gujral is single and lives in Downtown Dubai.

Did you experience money growing up?

Both sides of my family have always been in business, so I was clear that I wanted to run my own. My dad went into health care.

Me and my younger brother have seen the business grow. When dad was setting up the business, there was a struggle. Now, I would say we are well off, but I’ve seen the growth pattern.

Being the daughter, a lot of times if I asked for something, dad would give it, but mum and dad made sure never to spoil us. We appreciate the value of money, education and hard work.

Were you incentivised?

Yes, they always related it to something. One thing dad always says [now] is “sure, go buy something, but always connect it to an achievement”, instead of just spending money.

When he was giving me a budget to build my jewellery collection, he said: “For every award that you win or are a finalist, I’ll add this much.”

He’s been a really good guiding factor. He also looks at it as an investment.

What led you to Dubai?

I was always inclined towards art and design. I knew I didn’t want to get into health care, (but) I had two years working with dad. My main department was digital marketing.

I finished my education in 2016, in New York, and established my company in India.

The plan was to build up my collection and to get recognition. About three years ago, when dad retired and started travelling, he made Dubai his base and opened a branch of his office here.

We thought Dubai was a good market and moved my brand (in April). We’re setting up a team here and a back-end team in India.

How do you build value into a collection?

To come into this industry and sell high-value pieces, you need a certain amount of recognition and credentials in your portfolio.

So the past few years, I’ve been building my collection, getting awards, which increases the value. When you get recognition, sales will follow.

The concept of my store is bespoke pieces, on an appointment basis. Every piece will be customised per client requirements, just one piece of every design.

Over the years, I have been selling through word of mouth or family and friends in India.

So, you aim for the high-end market?

I’m not going into mass-market retail, I am doing it the opposite way, so starting with high-end and later, if I need to, will cater to a different market.

I’m targeting a niche audience who appreciate gemstones and design with bold pieces. It’s more like jewellery art, not just jewellery, each piece has a story behind it.

No matter what people say, money is important in life. It can make you happy
Pavit Gujral, fine jewellery designer and gemologist

Top-quality gemstones and the uniqueness of the piece make it valuable.

In India, especially, people look at jewellery as an investment, but I didn’t want people to look at it just from an investment point of view.

The lowest priced piece starts at $10,000. My eventual goal is to get into auction houses.

How do you store and grow wealth?

If you feel secure, you don’t really need to save.

I have some investments; a property that I invested in in Portugal, where I’m also a resident, and one in Dubai, near the Palm. I might live there in the future and since we bought it, the value has appreciated.

I invest my money in the right places, so that is also my gemstones. They hold value and the value goes up.

Being a geologist, I want to promote other coloured stones, which are more rare, and I’m investing in those.

Pieces manufactured in 2017-2018 have gone up in value because the gold and gemstones are up in value.

Pavit Gujral says she is not a saver, but doesn't overspend. Pawan Singh / The National

How do you feel about money?

No matter what people say, money is important in life. It can make you happy.

It’s about being content and as long as you spend on experiences, something you will remember all of your life, instead of bags and shoes, you will have those memories, which you can cherish.

Also, in my case, whenever I travel, I get inspired and make a new piece, which also adds value.

What do you enjoy spending on?

Something I relate to happiness and contentment, so I love spending on my dogs; two retrievers and my husky, Storm. It’s an investment in happiness.

What also makes me happy is when I spend on other people, like for my grandmother’s 80th birthday.

When I buy something for myself, that happiness lasts for about five minutes. But when I buy something for someone else, it’s longer.

How are your bargaining skills?

I’m very bad at bargaining … another thing that I’m learning, which I need in my business when I’m buying gemstones.

I always take people at face value. I will not think: “Is he overcharging me?”

So, I need to start changing my thinking.

Is there anything you regret paying for?

I have a lot of clothes back in India, which maybe I wore once or twice. I wasn’t wise with money earlier, but I’m changing.

I’m being mindful that if I want to buy something for myself, I connect it to an achievement.

Whenever I spend, I only spend if I love that thing. I want to be more mindful when it comes to materialistic things.

Where do you splurge?

As you grow, you realise what actually makes you happy. So we like to splurge on experiences, we all (my family) love travelling to different places, cities, getting to know the culture, the food.

One of my lines is inspired by scuba diving — we did our course in the Andamans — and my brother and I went to learn skiing at a good ski school.

I’m not a saver, but I’m not an overspender. If you’re earning, you also need to spend on something, right? There’s no point just to keep on saving it.

What are your future goals?

My main goal is to be the pop star of the jewellery industry.

Lady Gaga is one of my favourite celebrities. She has a unique style and inspired me.

Once I’m established in Dubai, two or three years down the line, I want to take my brand to London and then to Europe.

One of my business plans is to collaborate with clothing designers that I resonate with. I’ve also started my men’s line.

I don’t see retirement (happening) because I’m doing things in a good way … it’s not like I’m sitting in an office nine to five.

I purposely chose a career where my inspiration is through travelling.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 4:12 AM