If you’ve been to the jewel box-sized Le Bijou in Bandra, you’ll know that the boys there always have your back, helping you look for old-timey brooches and jeweled comb clips, somehow never sounding creepy when they suggest you look at their new shipment of fish nets.
It almost feels like a betrayal then, to have a spark(le) with another Bijou. We put our necks on the line anyway, to hang with Mahesh “Bijou” Bhandari, a restaurant man from Goa who strolled into the jewellery world quite accidentally, just like his wife walked into his. “One day she sauntered into my restaurant, we fell in love and moved from Goa to Bombay,” he says. Mahesh’s wife is a French national and teacher, which explains the polished suffix that got added to his name.
Mahesh Bijou is a jewellery brand that’s easy to ignore, namely because of run-of-the-mill chunky necklaces and Curio Cottage-style rings, but the hairclips are what you should be seeking Mahesh out for.
Imagine bony brass clips that twist into infinity signs; and circular gold ones, almost brooch-like, that can instantly elevate your bun into a sun. We’ve been using ours for a while now, and can vouch for its hardiness. Mahesh also does one shaped like a cat; and works with semi-precious stones like peridot and garnets to create dainty bobby pins and French barettes, a craft he learned while training under karigars.
You can call/Whatsapp Mahesh for pictures of his clips, and pick them up from his home next to Juhu Beach (it’s no Aarambol but it’ll have to do for now), or if he’s in your neighbourhood, he’ll drop them off too. Yes, it’s quite a spit-and-glue operation still, so patience will be required.
A friend who is a regular customer tells us that if you catch this Bijou Maharaj in the right mood, he might be willing to create a new design with your references, and when you do order your clip, she advises this: “make sure you get the ones without teeth.”
How’s that for bites and bobs?
Getting there: Mahesh Bijou, call 9833209484, Rs 600 for the brass Infinity clip.
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