Priya Vasan, a Santa Clara resident and a native of India, began her decade-long career in the jewelry industry in sales and jewelry modeling. She has also worked in customer relations, public relations and as the assistant manager of a jewelry store.
During the pandemic, Vasan observed that consumers sought retail therapy and that the value of gold went up. Back in May, Vasan opened Priya Jewelers, a luxury jewelry store in Sunnyvale at 895 E. El Camino Real. Right now, Vasan is serving holiday gift shoppers.
“I am the only female entrepreneur who owns and runs a local jewelry store selling Indian jewelry,” Vasan said. “I want customers to feel like kings and queens shopping here. They will not be rushed, forced or coerced into a sale.”
According to Vasan, owning gold is an integral part of being Indian.
“We buy gold for any occasion that needs to be celebrated – a birth, birthday, wedding, anniversary, Diwali or any religious occasion,” Vasan said. “We don’t need a reason to buy gold. We just buy gold. We treat our gold as an investment. Gold jewelry is handed down from generation to generation.”
Vasan’s customers come from many backgrounds and ethnicities. The store offers contemporary pieces with western designs for all occasions, silver objects, 18K diamond jewelry that is diamond-certified, engagement rings, wedding rings, custom-designed jewelry and, of course, gold.
“Priya Jewelers carries 22K gold jewelry with yellow gold, temple gold, antique gold and uncut diamonds,” Vasan said. “The purest form of gold is 24K. Indian jewelry comes in 22K gold because 24K gold is malleable and cannot be made into jewelry.”
Vasan described the different types of gold.
“Yellow gold jewelry refers to how the gold looks, so it is yellow in color,” Vasan said. “Temple gold jewelry has a reddish-orange tint. Inspired by the murals and temples in India, temple jewelry displays a lot of Indian goddesses, such as Lakshmi. Our antique gold has a blackish tint. It has a rich and royal look.”
Vasan also shared details about Indian jewelry.
“Chandbali earrings, shaped like moons, are often worn in Bollywood movies,” she said. “A nose ring is a chain attached on to the hairline and clips onto the nose. Jhumkas are traditional earrings with specific Indian designs. The haar is a long necklace.”
According to Vasan, in a traditional Indian wedding, the bride will be covered in gold from head to toe.
“The bride can wear up to four to five necklaces at a time and will keep changing out her jewelry with each new outfit she wears,” she said. “For example, she can wear necklaces, such as a haar, bangles, rings, a hip belt and a tikka, a headpiece that goes on the forehead.”
Vasan is passionate about living her dream to own a jewelry store and helping shoppers find that perfect piece of jewelry.
When asked about advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Vasan said, “Do your homework and do your research. Make sure that you are absolutely passionate about this work before you begin because the work is hard. But it can be very rewarding.”