He fulfilled his long cherished dream of setting up the first-of-its-kind Gem and Jewellery Museum in Jaipur around three years back and now in his mid-80s, he is planning to have a gemstone temple and a Jain Museum of Idols built in India.
Settled in New York, Shah made many trips to India to ensure all goes well during the making of the museum.
The museum tells the age-old story of gemstone right from its emergence from the centre of the earth to its attaining the final shape after being cut, polished and designed to make an aesthetic piece of jewellery, he says.
Shah also got a beautiful temple built in New York which is yet again unique in the city as 5 traditions can worship together under one roof. This temple is one of its kind in the world and symbolises Unity In Diversity. Its construction started in 2000 and it was handed over to the Jain community in 2005, says Shah.
He also designed and created a replica of Shri Ashtapad Maha Tirth – Ratna Mandir, a Gemstone Temple which was carved from crystal and gemstones. “The largest structure carved out of gemstones – a work of art as well was again donated to New York Jain Community in 2010. Today, it stands tall and beautiful,” he says, adding “Then I started working on an art gallery to present Jainism as a way of life and showcased principles and practices of Jainism via 500+ posters which were installed in the temple.”
Shah also has an interest in stamp collecting since 1947 and this passion of his is alive till today. He has developed a web museum of gems and jewellery stamps which houses 25,000+ individual stamps collected from all the countries of the world.
He has been equally passionate about Shayari since his childhood till today. “Presently, I am bringing all the Shayaris I have been collecting since my childhood in Hindi into a book format,” he says.
Shah's past is also interesting. He ventured into the gemstone trade after practicing medicine for around 15 years. “It was because of sheer destiny that I left my profession in 1976 as I ventured into the gemstone trade when I was 40,” he says.
Shah was born in 1935 in Gujarat and was very interested in education. Besides having degrees including MD, MRCP, DTM&H, he also did Sahitya Ratna in Hindi.
He was quite active in New York too and was instrumental in holding the Jaipur community together – socially and culturally. Diwali is one amongst those get-togethers.
Thinking about the trade 30 years ago, he started the Indian Diamond and Colour Stone Association in New York while bringing colour stone traders from Jaipur and diamond traders from Mumbai together in the market. He has also helped many students to study further and many young traders were helped by him to settle in business.
After retiring from trade in 2005, he has been engaged in pursuing his hobbies and philanthropic activities. After his return from abroad, he helped in establishing a hospital and also donated a building in a private college for MBA studies. Currently settled in New York, he keeps visiting Jaipur off and on.
Asked what's next on his agenda and he says, “I wish to have a gemstone temple and a Jain Museum of Idols built in India.”