Jul 31, 2017

Differentiation is the Name of the Game for Success at IIJS

There is such  a vast variety of jewellery on display at the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) – something catering to all tastes and to all markets – and so much glitter, of gold, diamonds and coloured gemstones, that one feels one is in some Alladin’s cave of treasures. A closer look reveals the distinctive amongst all that is bright and beautiful – even those, too many to pack into one small overview.  But presented below are a few examples of products with a difference.

The gold jewellery section, particularly, had a lot of similar looking traditional jewellery – heavy antique/temple style designs. However, there are manufacturers who are trying to break the mould and create more design-intense pieces. Vasupati Jewellers is one such exhibitor. Here, one can see the blending of different elements – for example a neckpiece which has one side with a design hand-carved on it combined with another  style – this one with little 3-D flowers highlighted with enamel, and studded with tiny diamonds – forming the other side of the neckpiece. Vasupati is amongst the very few gold jewellery manufacturers dedicated to reviving the ancient art and styles of jewellery making, and they put it to good use in creating jewellery which stands out from the crowd and is distinctive.

The mainstay element of YS 18, the jewellery brand from Intergem, is natural coloured diamonds – not an inexpensive proposition. But, given the market sentiment, even a brand like YS 18 – which has in the past created diamond-intensive, beautifully colour-graded, important pieces of jewellery, has had to adapt.

“We have a new light line in natural diamonds keeping the price range in mind,” says Sudeep Sethi of YS 18, pointing to an exquisite window display.

The delicate but sure lines, the masterful shading, the wondrous hues are all there. A set in champagne diamonds at a lower price range was particularly enticing; as is a dazzling necklace with tourmaline, amethyst, iolite and diamonds at a price of Rs. 15 lakh; as is a fabulous bracelet with sapphires interspersed with moonstone with a distinct blue hue embedded in its native white.

“Today, retailers are going in for micro set CAD-CAM jewellery,” Sethi adds. “Older jewellery not made with this technique is just not moving.” 

Speaking of trends, Sethi says, “In the next six months you will see a lot of jewellery with opal and moonstone. That is going to be the in thing.”

The point to note is the extent of “other” coloured gemstones that have entered the precious  jewellery lexicon. Time was when jewellers would have baulked at using anything less than ruby, emerald, sapphire with diamonds – at most a couple of others. And this is one of the distinct aspects of the current market – an openness to new stones, new materials – which allows designers a greater freedom for innovation.

In keeping with this, Jaipur-based Kalajee Jewellers’ special collection for IIJS is polki creations with mother-of-pearl. The jeweller has also created a set of earrings using carved pink opal as a centre piece.

“Our mother-of-pearl collection has found a very good response at the fair,” says Naman Kala. “All our jewellery comprises statement pieces. And the earrings are sold for roughly an average range of Rs. 3-6 lakh at retail.”

 Sanskriti Jewellers’s entire business plan is focussed on a desirable price range – which is not to say it is some minor, cheap jewellery; rather it is their USP, a niche they have found. “We specialise in daily-wear designer jewellery,” says Nidhi Garodia, who set up the company along with her husband. “Our earrings are roughly in the Rs. 1 lakh bracket; necklaces can go up to Rs. 6-7 lakh.”  The small Sanskriti stall is full of delightful jewellery, every piece distinct and attractive. “Our phulkari range is very much in demand,” says Nidhi about her collection of flower-based jewellery, which incorporates the floral element in different and eye-catching ways.

Speaking of price consciousness brings to mind Hari Krishna Group’s launch on Day 1 of the show of a new brand concept dubbed “Magnificence”.  An ardent believer in innovation, Hari Krishna Group’s Kisna Diamond Jewellery’s Magnificence has a diamond sealed within a    glass lens; which magnifies both, the gem's size and beauty. The special lens “captures and amplifies light” to create a jewel which appears more extravagant and bright than an otherwise modest stone would look.  

Founder and MD of Hari Krishna Group, Ghanshyam Dholakia said, “We are always trying to innovate in order to keep our customers satisfied.” 

Dholakia also pointed out another new collection – this one of rings. The men’s ring with a 15 cent centre diamond for merely Rs. 28,000 looks weighty. The women’s diamond rings, some of them in exotic, large-but-light designs, and to be worn over two fingers, were particularly striking. The ideal statement piece for a working woman and the perfect   accessory for a cocktail evening.

 ACPL Exports had stalls both for silver and gold products. Vandana Agarwal, Director of the company says, “The show has been very good; for us the demand is always there. But we noticed this year that there are more people coming for the silver category than the gold section.”

ACPL has both jewellery and gifting items in its silver section. Even in the latter segment, which could be said to be standardised in many way, ACPL has some new offerings. “We have introduced at this fair, 999 fineness products for puja; and we also have a sweets, dryfruit and fruits range,” says Vandana. There in the window are apples, bananas, cashew nuts, almonds, boondi laddu and so on, all made to lifesize in silver. With the Ganesh festival coming up, not to mention the wedding season, there has been much interest in these items.

It is clear that whatever category one is in, two things are of essence – innovation and a feel for the market pulse. That is what gives companies the edge.