The setting couldn’t be more perfect. The main lights in the large hall of Bikaner House, the beautifully restored Raj-era bungalow at the capital’s India Gate, have been dimmed. The spotlights ricochet off the glittering creations of crystal that stand in glass cases around the room. There are vases, large and small, bowls, platters and urns. There are also salvers and tea sets. And there are glasses, of all shapes and sizes. There are champagne flutes—so delicate that they threaten to snap in your hands—as well as sturdy water goblets. There are tumblers with heft for whisky and spindly stemware for red and white wine.
All the pieces are crystal clear, some have borders and bases crafted in 24-carat gold and pure platinum, but there are also fun pieces in gold, blue and red. Patterned of course, but saucy in their hue.
In the room next door, the long table is a play of light and white. Flowers, candles and linen in white stand as the guard of honour as an array of crystal glasses and decanters take centre stage. In the midst of the splendour stands the host of the evening and the creator of the crystal extravaganza, the inimitable Rohit Bal. The couturier, known for his elaborate designs, love of craft and larger-than-life personality, has worked personally with artisans and crystal cutters from Bratislava to create the collection that’s made of 24 per cent lead crystal. Little wonder that the pieces are a mix of impeccable
European craftsmanship and the designer’s unalloyed dazzle and much-beloved lotus and peacock motifs.
Bal, who also designs high-end wedding sets, says he felt there was a severe lack of quality crystal in India and he wanted to plug the gap. “A few of my pieces are expensive but overall I believe the collection is very affordable, especially given its quality,” he says. The glasses start at `3,000 apiece; the large pieces cost `1 lakh-plus. Time for a glittering Diwali?