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Lokvani Talks To Ramesh Parwani

Ranjani Saigal
05/23/2006

“Our key to success is the quality of our products” says Ramesh Parwani who runs Kay Pee Jewelers, a jewelry   store that has been catering to the needs of the South Asian community in New England since 1990.  Kay Pee Jewlers is a business that is owned by the Parwani family with stores in India and the United States.

An electrical engineer by training, Ramesh along his wife Bina and his nephews runs the jewelry business. They have two stores, one in Burlington and another in Natick.  Sporting the latest fashion in jewelry from India, Dubai and Singapore Kay Pee Jewelers has a large collection of diamond, gold and stone jewelry.

Ramesh spoke about his career as a jeweler. He and his wife Bina shared some tips on purchase and maintenance of jewelry.

You are an electrical engineer by training. What motivated you to choose a second career in jewelry?

The jewelry business is the Parwani family business. My elder brother Hargun Parwani, a Civil Engineer by training came to Boston from Pakistan in the 70s. He used to work for Charles T. Main. He brought me to the US and encouraged me to get a degree in Electrical Engineering. Later, in the late 80s, he retired and went to India to be with my other brother and his son. Since he had time on his hands, he decided to get training in the art of diamond grading.  It got him very interested in jewelry and he motivated the family to invest in this business.  His son Raj and I started doing jewelry shows in the Boston area.  The shows were very successful. So we opened our store in December 1990. Raj and I worked different shifts at Raytheon and between us we were able to manage the store. 

Your business is very competitive and yet you have remained in business for over 16 years. What is the secret to your success?

The key to success for us is the quality of our products, our price and our focus on customer service.  We have a two week full refund policy.  This is convenient for people who are purchasing gifts. We guarantee the quality of our products. We offer free repair service for up to six months after purchase. We offer 22-Karat KDM jewelry. We have a large selection of the latest designs. We work hard to satisfy our customers by procuring the exact patterns they need in a very short period of time. Our price is very reasonable and hence we have been able to stay in business.

What is KDM?

It is a specification that ensures that everything used in gold jewelry is 22 Karat. If it is not KDM, jewelers use lesser than 22KT for soldering . We use 22 Karat gold for everything in the ornament.


Often people go to India or New York to buy jewelry. Is their a price or quality reason to do this? Is there a risk?

Jewelry is a business where trust is very important. If you know a trusted jeweler in India there is no risk. Otherwise there is a chance of being cheated. The value of purchasing jewelry from a store like ours is that your really minimize your risk. You can return any thing you purchase within two weeks for a full refund. We provide free repair for all jewelry for up to six months. Our price is very reasonable.  You will not find much difference between our price and that of a trusted jeweler in the States.

What is the difference between white and other shades of gold? Does the color influence cost?

The polish on the gold jewelry gives it the color. Multi-colored gold jewelry is very popular amongst the younger generation. Cost is influenced by workmanship and the weight.

Do all your products come from India? How often do you get new shipments?

Our shipments come from India, Singapore and Dubai. Singapore and Dubai have many interesting designs to offer. We get new shipments every two weeks. We constantly monitor the world of jewelry design and try to find the best patterns. We also make custom jewelry at the customer’s request.  When people buy stones for astrological purposes we always make it according to the specification of the astrologer. 

You also have a large collection of diamond jewelry. What should one look for in a diamond?

In addition to carat-weight the price of a diamond depends on cut, color and clarity. The color varies from yellow at the lowest end to completely colorless at the highest end. Cut and Clarity varies from “I3” (imperfect) at the lowest end to “FL" (Flawless) at the highest end.

What other kinds of jewelry do you carry?

We have almost everything available including Rubies, Emerald, Corals  and Sapphire. Anything we do not have, we can procure in roughly two weeks time. We also carry gold bars and coins

Could you give us some tips on maintaining jewelry?

Jewelry is delicate and it should be kept in a box that will not twist or break it. Most damage happens due to improper storage. Dirt cleaning is rather simple. Just use a solution of baking soda and warm water.

You are one of the few Hindu families who did not leave Pakistan after partition and currently you still have family in Pakistan. Why did your family choose not to leave Pakistan?

We were fortunate that our property remained untouched during the partition. We did not loose our home and lands. My family had left Pakistan temporarily during the independence struggle. When things settled they felt it was safe to return. I have fond memories of growing up in Pakistan and there were times that I did think of returning to my ancestral home. I have two brothers in Pakistan and in fact one of them was a Member of Parliament for 10 years.

In the present day it is not often that we see a family business. People seem to break off into nuclear units. Why do you continue to keep Kay Pee as a family business? Would you encourage your children to take on the business?

Family business helps you find investment at a reasonable cost and helps mitigate risk. Trust is a big part of our business and keeping it in the family is one reason that we have been successful. It also helps keeps the family unit together.

Currently my children are in college and I am not sure what they have in mind for their future. I would love to see my children involved in the business. If they decide to join me, it will certainly help us expand to other states.

 

Thank you for your time

Thank you.


 

 



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