A gem of a jewellery designer
Mallika Hemachandra
The legacy continues

The founder and Chairperson of Mallika Hemachandra Jewellers is a colossus in her field. Bestowed with the state honour of Swarna Shikamani for the yeomen service she has rendered to the jewellery industry in Sri Lanka, the story of Mallika Hemachandra is both inspiring and intriguing. Stepping into a man’s world at a time when women were on the fringes of industry, Mallika after her marriage to Dr Piyasiri Hemachandra left for London and embarked on a jewellery design course while her husband continued his education in medicine. “If there is a will, there is a way. Every action has a reaction. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” are mantras she has lived by which have helped her to ascend to great heights

Considered a woman before her time, Mallika Hemachandra has over the years displayed an indomitable spirit which has helped her blaze a trail in a man’s world. Her innate artistic ability and ambition has helped her make a name for herself both in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Born to parents Dr WM Fernando and Kamala Fernando, Mallika, the eldest born lead an idyllic life in Campbell Place, Colombo. Educated at Visakha Vidyalaya, Mallika inherited a curiosity for medicine from her father and wanted to be a doctor. Her creative streak was identified by her mother who enrolled her at Haywood College of Arts where her inborn talents were further honed. In her desire to follow her father’s footsteps Mallika offered science subjects for her A’levels but fate decreed otherwise when Mallika met the man of her dreams in Dr Piyasiri Hemachandra who would change the fortunes of Mallika. After marriage, Mallika followed a jewellery making course at the YWCA Colombo and when she left to London with her husband enrolled at the Holborn School of Arts and Crafts and graduated with a Diploma in Jewellery Making and Design. Mallika’s desire to learn her trade further saw her travel to Switzerland. She returned to Sri Lanka armed with a Posalux Machine which aided the cutting and faceting of materials like gold and silver and set a new trend in jewellery making.
By 1965 Mallika was blessed with a son Chandima and a daughter Chamindri, and despite the rigours of motherhood her jewellery business was flourishing. Aided by her mother, Mallika transformed a corner of her home in to a little shop where she showcased her work. Gradually word began to spread about this lady jeweller in Colombo and as time went by Mallika’s name became synonymous with fine handcrafted jewellery. Fate dealt a cruel blow to Mallika when Hema died. Despite her father’s pleas to remarry Mallika refused and concentrated her efforts on raising her two young children and building her business.

Having celebrated her fiftieth anniversary as a jeweller, Mallika has achieved many milestones. Her work has enabled her to meet a gamut of people ranging from Royalty to stars of the screen. A real people’s person, Mallika was able to build relationships with ease, possibly her direct approach and forthrightness made it easy for people to deal with her. Spreading her wings internationally in the late seventies Mallika opened her first showroom Joyau Jewellery in Bahrain which she still supplies with sets of jewellery to.

Mallika Hemachandra is a woman who designs from the heart, her creative genius comes from the fact that she was never one to follow trends. She will always be a free spirit who always questions why and why now. Her success lies in the fact that she only focused on what she believed was right and true.
A rare breed of woman, especially as an entrepreneur, Mallika has reached the zenith of her career. Despite her age she shows no signs of slowing down. However she has handed over the reins of her eponymous jewellery brand to her daughter Chamindri who was groomed from a young age to assume the mantle of the company that Mallika so lovingly created.

Countless women have passed through the doors of Mallika Hemachandra Jewellery and acquired jewellery that have withstood the test of time in both design, craftmanship and quality. A name to be reckoned with Mallika Hemachandra Jewellery is synonymous with class and finesse. A true gem of a jewellery designer long may her legacy continue!.