In the year 1890, Abdul Kadir Essajee Sham started a store in Bombay that especially catered to Indian Maharajas who wanted to collect the finest and rarest goods from all over the world. Antique collecting was a very serious business for many connoisseurs of the finer things in life and A K Essajee was the place that did just that.
After finding success and favour with royalty including the Nizam of Hyderabad amongst many others, his son Saifuddin Sham continued to procure priceless paintings, furniture and antiques from 1920 onwards to clients that ranged far and wide under the banner Essajee and Sons. This client list grew to include many important collectors through the post-partition era that longed to hold onto the jewels of the past.
Under the auspices of his father, Mohamedi Sham continued in his legacy and expanded the business to not only deal in furniture, chandeliers, art and collectibles but also started hand crafted custom made objects d’art and expanded the businesses overseas. With this change, new designs ideas were breathed into traditional handicraft styles. In 1970, the flagship heritage store in Colaba was opened which is a treasure trove of collectibles from the past and has a rarely seen diversity of products appealing to serious collectors and interior designers alike. The expat community living in India have been patrons of Essajees for a long time, and include English, German, French, American and Middle Eastern nationals that are regulars at the store.
Expanding overseas, Royal Arts was floated in 1990 to enable exports to the Middle East, Europe and America. In the years following the establishment of Royal Arts, several exhibitions were held in which many members of Gulf Royal families bought out and ordered prized chandeliers, rare objects d’art and collectibles custom designed for their palaces. The royal families of Dubai, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have all been patrons of Essajees since the 1970s.
One of the most prestigious projects that was undertaken was being part of the expert restoration team in the Taj Mahal Hotel after the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. This included parts of the main lobby and the chandelier at the main entrance which were both restored by Essajees. The chandelier restoration was a massive challenge after the shrapnel damaged most portions of the deep blood-red crystal. Following the restoration, Essajees had a large role in the furniture and inlay work in the refurbished suites, including the Tata Suite which was specially prepared for the official visit of US President Barack Obama and in which many other world leaders have stayed since.
1. Inlay Work : Flooring and wall mounted marble / stone / sandstone with hard and soft stone semi-precious stones (eg. malachite, tiger eye, jasper, agate, rose quartz, amethyst, coral etc) and marble inlay in mother of pearl, inlay done both by hand or done with water jet according to the clients requirement. sandstone & marble garden furniture, pots, sculptures, ornaments, pillars and interior items can all be made to order.
2. Wood : Mother of pearl inlay wood panels, carved panels, marquetry work, all kinds of solid wood beds, chairs, dinning sets, side table, chaise lounge and lattice work (jalis), panels with fine cutting and carving, laser cutting in wood also is done. Silver leaf and gold leaving in several shades and finishes is also done on all kinds of wooden furniture.
3. Glass & Crystal : Crystal and cut glass chandeliers, coloured chandeliers, chandelier restoration, chandelier customization, table lamps, standing lamps, wall mounted lamps. Crystal furniture is extensively made including chairs, chaise lounges, tables, consoles and custom designs. Venetian mirrors, modern mirror designs and venetian mirror fitted furniture is also made.
East India Company Headquarters in London, Layla Abdo Moussa Designer Jeddah, Arts & Antiques Gallery, Mr. Faisal Al Saadawy, various projects and requirement for the Saudi Royal Family, Shk. Faysal El- Kheriji, family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Khimji Family in Muscat, Al Yateem Family in Bahrain, Sheikha Noora Al Khalifa, Bahrain, Al - Bwardy Group, Dubai (7 Homes and Polo Farm at Al-Aweer), Al Ghurair Group, Dubai, Mrs. Galdari, Dubai, Lady Sara Moollan of Mauritius, Abdul Majid Ibrahimo of Portugal, Vatumal Family in Spain, Kilachand family of Dubai, Barbra Woortley of Vancouver, Bashir Currimji of Mauritius , Erica Brunson of West Hollywood, Los Angeles