The story behind TIESH’s sparkle is not merely a tag line but an inspirational tale spanning 21 years.
At the helm is Lasantha de Fonseka along with his ever supportive spouse Bryony. Together, they have spawned a dynamic venture which has lasted many decades while their children, Thiyasha and Ayesh have joined in to promulgate the brand which has gained immense popularity both locally and internationally.
Carving a brand
“I founded my own handicraft outlet, ‘LAKSHILA’ in 1982. As the years rolled by, a friend suggested the potential of the gem industry in Sri Lanka and it sparked a curiosity and avid interest towards the multi-hued stones. We built our first showroom from scratch at the present premise and opened ‘LAKMINI,’ (which literally means Sri Lankan gems) to the public on 5th September 1997. The concept took hold almost immediately among the tourists and locals but we did face numerous challenges due to the pervading civil war,” said he.
“After the cessation of the war, we were able to expand our portfolio and offer something unique, a differentiation from the mundane. “As a creative persona, Lasantha’s ideas are constantly evolving with innovation being a core factor. He has a vivid imagination which has given the traditional gem industry a total transformation. As a trailblazer, Lasantha has set the pace for many to follow, showcasing the best of what Sri Lanka can offer in terms of gems and jewellery,” stated Bryony.
Envisioning something new is an inherent talent of Lasantha and with the strength and support from his wife and children, his inspirational dreams take wing and become a reality.
Leo Tolstoy once said that the two most powerful warriors are patience and time and we see the results of it in TIESH by LAKMINI. While often we refer to people or establishments achieving ‘overnight success,’ little do we realize or see the commitment, sweat and tears that have gone into making it successful.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success,” wrote Napolean Hill.
Younger de Fonseka’s to the fore
The younger generation of de Fonseka’s were wooed into the family enterprise by their father who devised an interesting plan by creating a new brand aptly named, TIESH (a coined word derived from their names; Thiyasha and Ayesh). It was a winning pitch as they could not resist something so unique.
Thiyasha & Ayesh themselves have a profound admiration for their parents and appreciate the dedication which has not diminished despite the years. Having laid a strong foundation, Lasantha and Bryony welcome the new ideas of their offspring and enable them to explore and experiment.
The TIESH family
‘The close-knit family makes an exceptional team as the ideas that are produced bring to life the most novel concepts. As well, they lead by example with a humble attitude that is emulated by all the staff who are extremely loyal and enthusiastic about portraying every facet of the Sri Lankan gem which is a fascinating story in itself.
A new lease on life
What the de Fonseka family has given the Sri Lankan gem trade is a new lease in life. The pedantic cycle which was enmeshed in secrecy with clients often being duped and having no clue of the process or the sacrifices made by the miner and the level of commitment which goes into developing the best cut, would often offer a pittance which undermines the trade; this was a cause for demotivation among the miners and others but TIESH has uplifted the trade from the grassroots level and involved backward reintegration with the story being told from inception. By visiting scores of miners and others they have not only experienced the hardships for themselves but wish to educate the clients so that a clearer understanding will inculcate a sense of worth towards the trade per se and entail the best price for the gems and jewellery, which in turn is sure to benefit all stakeholders, while ensuring the traceability and authenticity of each stone or design.
Walking into the expansive showrooms in Kandy and Colombo transforms one to a world of glamour. The learning experience and knowledge enhancement given by TIESH with regard to Sri Lankan gems is the proverbial ‘icing on the cake,’ after all clients go back wiser , with the assurance that they are gaining a priceless treasure.
Celebrating 21 years in style
On the dawn of its 21st anniversary TIESH unveiled its massive 27,000 sq ft showroom in Kandy. It is a monumental achievement for TIESH, which now goes on record as having Sri Lanka’s largest ever Gems and Jewellery Emporium, all under one roof.
Famously known as “Lakmini (Pvt) Ltd” since its launch in 1997, this showroom at No 676, Peradeniya Road, is now completely revamped and rebranded as ‘TIESH’, and is a virtual haven for both walk-in customers, tourists and the eagle-eyed connoisseur.
TIESH already holds the record for owning the largest showroom in Sri Lanka since the opening of the Gallery of Sapphires in 2016, a landmark achievement at the same premises.
This new venture expands its portfolio with the addition of over 14,000sq ft of plush showroom and an additional 13,000sq ft of service areas featuring auditoriums and theatres. The current expansion includes the new state-of-the-art workshop and museum in addition to the existing laboratory, auditorium and the near-real replica of the gem mine.
“This resplendent outlet lays claim to TIESH’s commitment towards enhancing the customer experience and feel of being part of something more than the mere purchase of a dazzling piece of jewellery. It is an immersive journey into a culture, spawned centuries ago, in a land which continues to appeal to the heart of gems and jewellery connoisseurs from around the world,” said its visionary Founder and Managing Director, Lasantha de Fonseka, adding that customers will be enthralled by Sri Lanka’s gemological story. “The success of TIESH as Sri Lanka’s leading gems and jewellery provider is also due to the dedication and passion of my family, staff, tour operators and loyal customers.”
Over the years TIESH has burgeoned into a brand of great repute. The 27,000sq foot Emporium features an exquisite array of authentic gems and handcrafted pieces of jewellery set in both precious and semi-precious gem stones, highlighting the world famed Sri Lankan Blue Sapphires and more.
All items are intricately designed with precious metals ranging from gold (yellow, white and rose in 22k, 18k and 14k) to sterling silver. With a keen eye for detail, the one-of-a-kind jewellery is crafted to international standards and designed to mesmerize by the in-house designing team. Each client is made to feel special and set at ease at TIESH, by several staff members who are multi-lingual.
This family-owned establishment which began on 05 September 1997, has, over the past decades acquired great celebrity status in the local and international sphere. Spearheaded by its Founder / Managing Director Lasantha De Fonseka and his wife Bryony, TIESH is joined by the equally hands-on next generation, with daughter Thiyasha and son Ayesh who are committed to providing an unparalleled expertise and a personal interest in each customer who steps into a world of brilliance.
The TIESH Emporium is designed with the intention of sparking an appeal to delve into the milestones of the gem industry; from the history of the stones to the entire production, prior to becoming a gift of love, a family heirloom or an indulgence to the customer.
As one of Sri Lanka’s leading contemporary jewellers, TIESH is not only a jewellery store with a reputation to match. It is also an engaging and hands-on learning experience. It inspires that ethereal feel of being ensconced in a world of one’s own, in which gems and jewellery take precedence. A step into the showroom lures you to luxuriate in the story of every sparkle uniquely created just for you.
By Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne