Fashion jewellery taking newer shapes
The one commodity that is always in demand as long as the women are in love with it
Jewellery is the amalgamation of many cultures, traditions and customs. Strongly influenced by Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs and Romans, it is coveted because it is beautiful . Whether ethnic or chic or even neo-classical, Indian designs never fail to make an impression!
The Union Government's decision to open up gold imports, the easy availability of gold in the market and the liberalised gold export policies have rejuvenated the Indian bullion industry. Today, gold is a highly marketable and competitive consumer product and Indian gold products are very popular worldwide with connoisseurs abroad cherishing their quality and designs.
The historic traditions and rich heritage lives on in jewellery and ornaments, and this "poetry in gold" and "every woman's best friend" was till recently considered more a tradition than a fashion, but now a paradigm shift is visible!
It is today gauche to see the flash of gaudy gold or glitter of diamonds. It is now smart to be underdressed. The look for today's woman is simple and soft when it comes to jewellery. Purushottam Sikchi, adviser to Chandana Brothers Jewellers on Main Road, is a Mumbai-based expert who has worked with top jewellery houses and has several unique designs to his credit. He emphasises that what one wears should be in harmony with her personality. "A huge rock dangling from your neck is not going to be useful". Jewellery pundits are now rooting for "fashion jewellery" which is more a fusion of aesthetic ideas from the east combined with the dash and style of the west. Purushottam, however, is proud that Chandana Brothers still showcases more of hand- made jewellery, as he is worried about the fate of the Indian karigari with the domination of machine jewellery in the market today. "This hallmark of quintessential India will be wiped out," he laments.
Chandana Brothers' daring step to combine jewellery in a cloth store has paid off, as even the casual visitor to buy materials takes a peep at the jewellery section and gets hooked on to beautiful designs. The result speaks volumes as the cash counters keep jingling for soft-spoken but dynamic M.V Ramana and team. Truly he has started a brand new trend for Vizag.
Hira-Panna Jewellers, one of the oldest fashion jewellery showroom in the city, boasts of being the pioneers of the stuff here. Mahinder Jain is of the opinion that traditional yellow metal is slowly taking a backseat to a wide variety of shades to choose from. Pink gold and white gold are now in demand. Precious and semi-precious stones are also popular for everyday wear. Oxidized and experimental jewellery is catching on in the city. Although white gold is still not popular with the masses the antique finish is in vogue.
The middle class woman is now matching her wardrobe with semi-precious stones of different colours to match the scheme of her clothes.
Italian moulds (casting work) are dominating western styles. The Minakari and Kundan works are also back in fashion. Although the traditional kasumala (coin chokers), vaddanam (waist belt), sari chains, waist chains and vankis (armlets) are still part of the wedding trousseau, fashion beads and changing pendants are also picking up.
For men, gold watches, finger rings, bracelet chains and even designer belt buckles are in demand. Mahinder and his brother Suresh Jain now have the biggest jewellery showrooms in the city.
Grandhi Manoj of Vaibhav Jewellers feels that casual jewellery that draws from tribal patterns will pick up.
Today, gold does not only have colours but textures, too. You can take your pick from a dull frost finish, scratched finish, satin or even sand-blasted finish with an even or hammered look.
Vaibhav's diamond section is very popular. Diamonds these days don't mean mere glitter. Coloured diamonds from Australia are also available on the racks. At Vaibhav, the diamond presents itself in the best designs.
Khazana Jewellers uses readymade designs from Mumbai and Kolkata. Here the workmanship is excellent.
MVS Jewellers has now picked up in fashion jewellery and design fluidity has become its hallmark. Although these designer pieces come with a heavy price tag, their exclusivity makes them an imperative part of a woman's wardrobe. Jewellers note a visible change in the attitude of their clients. People are now willing to spend that extra buck to get exclusive designs and such a need is percolating down to the middle class as well.
Over the last few years branded jewellery has discreetly found its way into the jewel box of the contemporary woman. Brands like Tanishq, Oysterbay, Gili, De Beers and Carbon have made their way into the `sona' bazaar and have revolutionised it.
For those who don't want to get caught in ethnic wear, inexpensive brands offering simple and delicate designs are available. It is said that the need for everyday jewellery went up and what followed was the accent of the western look. Traditional jewellery could no longer meet the demand and along came machine made jewellery in 18 and 22 carat gold.
Uppalapati Raja and Tanishq have become synonyms. Earlier 18-carat gold was unthinkable! But this is best for stone setting, and intricate patterns have given way to clear lines and the uncluttered look. "Understated elegance" is the buzzword as heavy jewellery is now cumbersome. "With branded jewellery, you know you are paying for the real thing," says Raja. "We have to give bills for all purchases and a one per cent sales tax will not add up too much. At least this way the customer has a guarantee for the gold he is buying . Also our Impure-Pure scheme has shaken up a lot of people who were gypped by the local goldsmiths with broken promises of quality. We now find a lot of discerning gold buyers visiting Tanishq and even other jewellers come to us to test caratage and purity." At Tanishq prices don't kill and the sheen doesn't wear out. The low priced ARIA diamond collection is thrilling to see. The designs here testify as to why some of the young designers from Tanishq have won coveted international awards in their category. This store is a working woman's haven and is well visited by one and all.
Vizag's gold market used to be located in the dingy lanes of Old Town. Now this is shifting into the stylish roads of Dwarakanagar. With all the top players setting up designer studios in the posh area, a new era of fashion jewellery is opening up. A brand new genre of gold shopping is on the rise and it is so exciting to get the pulse of this market. So... .when are you buying gold next?
Photos: K. R. Deepak
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