Oomersi Mawji & Sons
1860 ca. - 1930 ca.)
Oomersi Mawji is undoubtedly the most celebrated Indian silversmith of all times. The inventiveness and the spotless quality of his works had no rivals in Kutch and his pieces are still sought after worldwide.
Oomersi Mawji was born in Gujarat. Son of a cobbler, he started his career specialising in leather engravings. Soon after 1858 he became a silversmith and his fame rose very quickly: in 1860s he was already court silversmith to the Maharaos of Kutch and the Maharajas of Baroda, two of the most important Indian royal courts.
"Working the silver with ingenious skill and patience, Oomersi Mawji and his sons raised the quality of decoration on Cutch silver to an art form" (Wynyard R. T. Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858 - 1947: Silver from the Indian Sub-continent and Burma Made by Local Craftsmen in Western Forms, London, 1999, p. 69). The firm’s very high quality silver pieces, often featuring witty and amusing details, became soon very much appreciated overseas, selling through the two branches of Calcutta and Bombay.
In 1878 Oomersi Mawji and his sons participated to the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Their fame grew worldwide and their artworks became very expensive. In London, the brand was retailed by Liberty & Co. and Proctor & Co.
When the father died, around 1890 ca., his sons took over the business, which definitely ceased activity around 1930.
Artworks manufactured by Oomersi Mawji are nowadays part of the collections of international museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.