It’s just 100 days to celebrate 100 years of a tale of glitz, glamour, style and beauty. Colombo Jewellery Stores founded by Thaha Cassim in February 1922 weaves a fascinating tapestry that intertwines the lustre of stones with the multi-hued threads of this island’s history over an entire century. Into this work of art is woven the tale of a galaxy of women who have made CJS a part of their life story and some of these celebrity personalities joined CEO Akram Cassim at CJS Heritage store at No 1 Alfred House Gardens,Colombo 3 to celebrate the countdown of 100 days. At the heart of multiple CJS collections since 2009 including Quite Simply Stunning, Hometown, Perpetual Grace, Unforgettable and Ocean Blues Collections is the multi-award winning Bollywood star CJS Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez who flew into Sri Lanka to kickstart the countdown. It is she who will showcase the legacy of the CJS 100 year collection to be unveiled in February. Akram’s favourite photographs featuring Jacqueline in the various campaigns over the years is featured on the Jacqueline Wall at the CJS Store. Joining her at the countdown were Founder of Odel and Embark and legendary entrepreneur Otara Gunewardena and pioneer in blue whale research, multi-acclaimed marine biologist and Founder of Oceanswell Dr Asha de Vos. Sri Lanka’s youngest global singing sensation Yohani joined the fray of glamorous women, who each added their vignettes of style and elegance to the surrounds of the CJS Store. It was my grandfather Thaha Cassim who was 23 at the time, who ventured into the metropolis of Colombo from his hometown of the Fort in Galle to open the store of his dreams, selling fabulous gems and fashionable jewellery with quality being centric to everything he did,” says Akram. “From then on, CJS has been a part of every special moment in people’s lives, with the store being visited by royalty, business and political tycoons, the literati and the glitterati. Jacqueline called her return home after two years an emotional homecoming saying, “Throughout my 11 year relationship with CJS, I have travelled around the country, explored every facet and concept of different types of jewellery and been a part of the history being made. And what makes CJS so special is it’s not just about jewellery but about giving back to society and empowering communities.” It is this element of passion for a cause and empowerment that attracted both Otara and Asha into being a part of the CJS story. Otara mentioned that her association with CJS since 2009 brought forth nine collections including the limited edition Otara and Hoola collections, while inspired by whales and dolphins, Akram & Asha designed two collections for Oceanswell with the primary aim of continuing the research mooted by Dr Asha de Vos. “It is very heartening to have someone being absolutely committed to your cause,” said Asha of her partnership with CJS since 2018. And today, while CJS follows the legacy of sparkling gems, glamorous jewellery and luxurious timepieces from TAG Heuer, Breitling and Hublot, what lies within the heart of the brand is its passion to give back including its most recent collaboration with the Emerge Lanka Foundation and the need to create a sustainable planet.
CJS announced its new-formed partnership with Emerge Lanka on the 8th of March (International Women’s day); a social organization that works with sexually abused teenage survivors in Sri Lanka, in helping them to heal, develop skills for self-sufficiency, and build a better future for themselves and others. CJS' involvement with Emerge Lanka, sees the brand tying up with the unique ‘Beads-to-Business’ initiative; where impacted children are provided therapy through the art-form of jewellery crafting. This concept of using art in a therapeutic context is popularly known as Art Therapy and may utilize any different medium of art; from painting to sculpting, pottery, music, poetry, and of course, Jewellery-making. 'Beads-to-Business' offers victims a path to rebuild their self-esteem, and through artistic creation, the power to revive the senses of self-worth and confidence The program simultaneously also delivers knowledge on the many aspects of business management; all with the intent of enabling the children to go out into the world as skilled individuals with the ability to excel in the enterprise. CJS will initially assist the program through a sales drive, by providing a platform for Emerge Lanka to market the curations of the ‘Beads-to-Business’ initiative.
The campaign ‘For the love of the Blue Whale’, saw CJS creating 50 limited-edition Blue Whale Pendants set with a sapphire eye, to be sold with 100% of proceeds dedicated to the conservation and research efforts of Oceanswell. CJS collaborated with Dr. Asha de Vos towards creating awareness for the campaign, and the resulting outcome and response was overwhelmingly positive.
CJS continued to spread its message on the importance of ocean and marine conservation with the launch of the new ‘Reefs’ collection; an addition to the ‘Ocean Blues’ range that captured the delicate and vibrant nature of coral reefs with its intricate designs. The new collection; unveiled by CJS Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez, highlighted the complex relationship coral reefs share with many of our oceans’ ecosystems.
CJS became the Official Jewellery Partner for ‘Supercar Sundowner’; an exclusive networking event for Sri Lankan and Indian Supercar owners. Initiated by the Performalux Club; a ‘by-invite-only’ group of individuals banded through their ownership of Supercars, the event served as a platform for CJS to showcase its value offering and brand personality.
With ‘Ocean Blues to Oceanswell’, the brand formed yet another conservation-driven collaboration; this time with acclaimed Sri Lankan Marine Biologist and Researcher Dr. Asha de Vos and her organization, Oceanswell. The intent of the partnership was to create awareness on the importance of marine conservation, using the ocean-inspired 'Ocean Blues’ collection as a vocal piece.
CJS’ newest retail outlet was opened at the Colombo City Centre (CCC); a hyper-modern mall showcasing multi-brand offerings for a new generation of consumers. The spacious and impeccably appointed addition to the CJS store network, showcased the appearance and ambiance that is inherent to global luxury retailing
The catwalk at the 2017 edition of Colombo Fashion Week became a scene of dazzle as CJS debuted the ’95 Years of Timeless Glamour’ collection. The expansive range which drew inspiration from the many milestones in CJS’ legacy, would prove to be a definitive statement on the brand’s longevity and commitment to remaining relevant.
CJS, in collaboration with Hublot, hosted a special meet and greet with Rohit Sharma; Indian National Team cricketing star and Hublot’s ‘Friend of the brand’. The occasion was graced by Hublot clientele as well as several Sri Lankan cricketing legends; all of whose presence, contributed to a glamorous evening that celebrated the union between sports and world-class brands.
CJS’ participation at FACETS 2017; Sri Lanka’s foremost gem and jewellery exhibition, was one that conveyed a sense glamour and class, with the brand laying out its breathtaking display of gems, jewellery, and luxury watches at the Premier Jewellery Pavilion. By creating a true luxury store setting, CJS drew the attention of all visitors gracing the event.
CJS displayed its full range of diamond jewellery and luxury watch brands; Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Bvlgari, at Sri Lanka’s premier Gem & Jewellery Show FACETS Sri Lanka. The occasion was marked in its prominence due to the large number of international buyers that graced the event.
The catwalk at the 2015 edition of Colombo Fashion Week became a platform for the voiceless in the wild, as CJS unveiled its campaign and collection ‘Unforgettable – A future in the wild’. The portrayal and messaging carried out by CJS drew the attention of the audience and media, to the growing plight faced by elephants in Sri Lanka.
CJS’ partnership with Bvlgari came at a time when Sri Lankan shoppers were shifting their preferences to the trend of high fashion. Together with the celebrated Italian jewellery and watchmaker, CJS offered discerning and highly brand-conscious customers a range of exquisitely crafted and beautifully adorned watches, that were definite statements of refinement and prestige.
CJS partnered with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) to launch 'Unforgettable - A future in the Wild'; a campaign for the protection and conservation of wild elephants in Sri Lanka. CJS CEO Akram Cassim, CJS Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez, and SLWCS President Ravi Corea, along with villagers from the Wasgamuwa region, took a landmark walk through an elephant corridor in order to understand the uneasy coexistence shared by man and elephant. The insights thus gained, would lead to several initiatives being taken by the SLWCS; for which CJS would provide committed support.
CJS, in partnership with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, developed the campaign ‘Unforgettable’; an ambitious yet, genuinely thought out initiative to save Sri Lanka’s elephants. The campaign would endeavour to provide several rural villages situated within wildlife habitats, sustainable solutions in bringing about a state of peaceful coexistence between man and elephant.
CJS launched 'Cool Luxury'; a jewellery collection that was conceptualized around the mysteries of the sea, at the Colombo Fashion Week Resort Wear Show. The event, held using the Indian Ocean as a backdrop, proved to be a fitting platform for the launch of the brand's new and themed collection.
CJS' newest exclusive store opening was at the Galle Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex; a historic building from the Dutch Colonial Era located within the Galle Fort. This newest store venue holds special value to CJS, as it in many ways reconnected the brand to its beginnings and early ambitions.
CJS, in collaboration with Otara Gunewardena, launched the 'Hoola' range as part of the 'Otara' jewellery collection. In celebrating the occasion, a special unveiling was held, with the first piece of 'Hoola' jewellery being presented to CJS Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez.
The 'Hometown' jewellery collection by CJS; was one that struck a nostalgic chord, with design references to the vintage glory of the Galle Fort and the city of Galle, where the brand found its genesis. Through a creative union of pearls, diamonds, and precious gems, CJS created a selection that was a tribute to its heritage, and its founder; Thaha Cassim. The ‘Hometown’ collection made its public debut at the 2014 edition of Colombo Fashion Week.
The vivacious 90th anniversary campaign 'Roaring 20's' was launched in its signature style at a glitzy event, held within the vintage setting of Tintagel; the very location the campaign was shot at. Brand Ambassador Jacqueline Fernandez, adorned in some of the celebratory jewellery pieces, formally announced the launch.
The celebration of the ninety-year legacy continued, as CJS hosted an exclusive event for its most loyal customers and brand partners from over the years. Every element showcased at the occasion was an immersive reference to the golden era of the 1920's; the decade that birthed CJS and inspired the campaign 'Roaring 20's'.
The former Dutch Hospital in Fort, Colombo was revamped and reopened to the public as a trendy shopping precinct, which attracted a more discerning and fashionable segment of customers. CJS opened doors of a new retail outlet housed at this location; showcasing a contemporary and hip collection of jewellery that catered to the many international shoppers frequenting the venue.