Amber Artefacts is more than just a curio gift shop; this cosy little store, tucked just off the quiet Haudin Road in Ulsoor, is also a repository of cherished memories, experiences and anecdotes of the owners’ extensive globetrotting – from the West to the Far East – over the years.
|Jeanne Saldanha and Lalita Shahani|
Be it the colourful puppets from Thailand and Cambodia or the wooden figurines from Shantiniketan or the handcrafted leather-and-beadwork sandal from Africa, every corner of Amber exudes the romance of far-off shores.
Lalita Shahani and Jeanne Saldanha started Amber nine years ago at the Galleria of the Leela Palace Hotel – a location which saw it become a major hit with foreign visitors. It shifted recently to a central location “to be more accessible to everybody,” Lalita explains.
A wide array of exquisite hand-crafted jewellery designed by Lalita, is literally the jewel in Amber’s crown. Delicately crafted from semi-precious stones, silver and gold, the necklaces, chokers, earrings, bracelets and rings are sold under the brand name ‘Lara’ and have customers swooning over their fabulous designs and careful detailing.
“I have been designing jewellery for the last thirty years. It’s my passion. I would buy the beads and put them together and every week, I’d break it and mix-and-match to come up with something different. Lara began as a hobby, then I started making it for friends and now it has grown into a business. Apart from Amber, I also supply to stores in North India,” says Lalita.
|Silk Shawls and Stoles|
Teaming up with Jeanne, an interior designer, made perfect sense. Friends for the last 20 years, the women went on to become business partners as well with this venture. Says Jeanne, “Amber is our fun thing. We both love travelling and we pack our bags at least twice a year – for business and pleasure.”
Lalita agrees: “Every place has something interesting to offer and we are always looking for different things. So we make sure that we visit a new place each time. If we find something we like, we bring it back. If not, then we just have a good holiday and come back!”
|Puppets from the Far East|
“Each time we travel, we introduce a new product to Amber. So for the regular customer, there is always something new to look forward to,” adds Jeanne.
Most of the products here are hand-made – such as the leather-and-beadwork sandals which are hand-crafted by tribes in Africa, along with incense, candles, stationary, leather goods, puppets, wind chimes and hangings and wooden figurines.
Amber also retails apparels and accessories from the house of ‘Christina’, a Mumbai-based design label. In fact, Amber is the only store in Bangalore which stocks ‘Christina’ – from cotton and silk shirts and kurtis to shawls, stoles, handbags, evening bags, travel bags and wallets.
Amber is also the exclusive retail outlet for English designer, Emily Shoehorn’s handbags in Bangalore.
By Remuna Rai/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com
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