House of Luxury: A Jewel in the BVI’s Retail Crown

By Paul Joseph

For jewellery lovers visiting the British Virgin Islands, one essential stop off during their stay is House of Luxury, home to some of the finest jewels and trinkets to be found anywhere in the region.

The family owned jeweller has 25 years of experience and owns three separate outlets dotted across three island locations in the BVI. Each attracts a regular flurry of customers, from cruise ship passengers to ultra high net worth superyacht charterers and owners.

In early 2016, House of Luxury enhanced its efforts to attract a more upmarket crowd with the unveiling of its first boutique concept store. Almost a year-and-half later, we took the opportunity to sit down with Sanjay Surtani, Director of House of Luxury, to hear more about the brand’s growth over the past 25 years. Can you start by giving us a brief background to your company and the kind of products you sell?

Sanjay Surtani: Founded in 1991, House of Luxury is a family-owned and operated jeweler first located on the island paradise of St. Maarten. Since its beginning House of Luxury has strived to bestow their customers with the most extravagant and unique jewels to be found in the Caribbean.

Owned and run by three generations, House of Luxury has been able to cater to a broad spectrum of clients ranging from young professionals to the more mature jewellery “investors” giving HOL an advantage over its market competitors. Currently with two location in St. Maarten and one in the British Virgin Islands, we have been able to add a personal touch and build a relationship with every purchase made.

Traditionally, we have concentrated on the fine jewellery market, allowing us to build a strong working relationship with some of the biggest diamond and precious stone manufacturers in the world.

In 2016, we opened our newest concept at the Tortola Pier Park with a more modern brand orientated boutique housing a blend of well-known and unique watch brands as well as designer and fashion jewellery names. Over the years our name has come to symbolise tradition, high quality, rarity, and our most proud trait, excellent customer care.

What is the criteria for considering whether a brand is right for the House of Luxury?

This is a very personal process. There are three major things we consider when choosing brands that we would like to work with.

Firstly, they have to be pioneers/innovators in their field. Vacheron Constantin is one of my favourite examples of this. In existence since 1755, VC is the oldest watch manufacturer of fine timepieces and specialise in hand made complications such as the most advanced world-timer which takes covers 37 time zones and is the only timepiece to measure in 15-minute increments.

Secondly, they have to preach sustainability/practicality. For instance Chopard are known for using what they refer to as Fair Mined Gold in their product. This means that the miners that work on this gold are well taken care of and not exploited. Or a brand like Marah Lago, who specialiSe in Larimar jewellery, make sure that they keep the industry sustainable in the Dominican Republic without by-passing the fisherman who make a living off of these stones.

Thirdly, we have to love it! It’s so much easier to stand behind a product we would wear personally. One that we love and would wear. There are many reason we could love the brand, maybe it’s a particular design they make, maybe because of their vision or what they stand for, or maybe just because they are so easy to love!

Do you house any home grown brands?

We currently work with a locally produced brand called FlaxCraft who make beautiful unique pieces representing the island of Tortola. Island charms and bracelets in silver are a fan favorite from FlaxCraft, but this is only the tip of the iceberg as they carry many local stones such as Virgin Gorda Lapiz and Island Opals. We are always looking for up and coming local brands and jewelleers to work with and hope to one day start a locally made jewellery line of our own.

What can you tell us about the boutique store that you opened last year?

Last year was the opening of our most prized boutique store at the Tortola Pier Park. Specialising in luxury, the boutique houses many brands, from Chopard and Mont Blanc to Hearts on Fire and Vacheron Constantin. Our belief is that luxury does not have to be expensive and that is showcased with our collection of brands such as Alex and Ani, Marah Lago and Uno de 50 in which an island luxury can be bought for as little as $28.

What efforts have you made to attract not just your everyday tourists, but high-net worth superyacht owners and charterers too?

We do our best to make ourselves open to many different markets and not only the cruise tourists. Housing brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Chopard and Jaquet Droz to name a few ensure that our product selection is in line with that of the needs of the high net worth superyacht owners. VIP trunk shows, personal shoppers, and a concierge service are just some of the services offered to our guests.

Are there any particular pieces or brands that have proved popular  yachting clientele?

The ones that come to mind are Vacheron Constain’s Overseas, a sleek, sporty line intended for all those who love complications that are useful in everyday life. With its new interchangeable strap technology and their very own new in house caliber movement, the Overseas comes with a luxurious leather, rubber and stainless steel strap kit making this the only timepiece needed wherever you may wake up!  

Also, Chopard’s Happy Diamonds Collectin. Seizing the moment and living their lives to the full, today’s women are blessed with a contagious cheerfulness that makes them radiant. Delicate and timeless, yet daring and modern, this collection playfully portrays their independent personalities.  

Over the last year, we’ve also developed a custom jewellery program. With our close ties with some of the best gem setters around the world, and access to some of the rarest gems, we’ve been able to design, customise and bring to life some beautiful and unique pieces. Something that will only get bigger and better with time!

What plans, if any, do you have for expansion in the coming years?

Having recently opened our newest boutique just a year ago, now our goal is to concentrate on expansion within this boutique. We would like to develop our own line as well as build on our custom jewellery business. A little secret that I can share with you is that we will soon be opening an in-house Jewellery Spa, where your jewels and everyday luxuries can be given the love and care they need and deserve!

Finally, for those planning to visit the BVI, where can they find you?

We can be found at the newly build Tortola Pier Park, a true retail getaway in the Virgin Islands. We are also happy to host private viewings and trunk shows for our clients’ convenience. We can be easily reached on +1 284 494 7109 or [email protected].

By Paul Joseph