All Things Lightweight and Low Priced Lead the Way at IIJS 2016

Aug 10, 2016

It is a universal perception within the gems and jewellery world that the market is not at its brightest at the moment and has not been for the past several months. Yet, that there is a market and the IIJS seemed to be a turning point of sorts is echoed equally universally. For, retailers who had not picked up goods for several months, were keen to replenish their inventories and were going about doing just that.

Jewellery manufacturers then, came up with unique ways in which to cater to the reality of the current marketplace – the need for lowering price points at whatever levels they worked in. Hence, from design-led jewellery houses which have generally catered to the upper end of the market to  those which cater  to the middle, lower and mass segments, all sought to innovate on design to lower the price points of jewellery -- from whatever level they may have  originally, or earlier, produced.

Hari Krishna’s bracelet collection had small diamonds set in single or double bands on the top of a base of imported rubber which formed the shank of the bracelet, thus saving on the cost of precious metal. This at once reduced the price of the jewellery several fold and also made it modern and appealing for the younger generation.

The Company’s Heartbeat collection too was an attractive innovation. Set with specialised technology the centre stone of the small pendants shimmered and shook like a beating heart, from which it has got its name. The Company’s Cris cut centre stone diamond – akin to an emerald cut – and its cluster collection gave an enhanced diamond look to different collections as well.

Hari Krishna has created jewellery which is not only appealing, but also within the grasp of a wider section of consumers – customers who otherwise might not be able to afford diamond jewellery; though they would like to own it.

Yuriko Menon, GM of Gold Star Jewellery’s Product Development and herself a well known designer says that rose gold is picking up well as the metal of choice with consumers, with 30 per cent of their buyers opting for rose gold products.

For Gold Star the peacock – the dancing peacock rather – is at the heart of one of its prized collections.

“Generic jewellery sells the maximum,” states Yuriko. “Now that online jewellery buying has picked up so well – and this is mainly of low-ticket items – we see that even for us, there is a lot of demand in this range. Our Beni collection for example is doing very well.” Beni is essentially wire-based jewellery, with design twists, she explains.

Yuriko points out an interesting aspect of retailer buying: no longer is it done in the old wholesale purchasing manner. Trade buyers are more and more looking for well presented collections with design themes and stories, displays.  “They want complete solutions,” she emphasises.

Sangam is a very big player in the gold jewellery segment, known for its chains and other gold jewellery in a very large range of products.

“Buyers are looking for lightweight and low karat jewellery,” says Vilas Solanki of Sangam. Some years back, Sangam also introduced a range of diamond jewellery which has also been doing well at the show, he says.

The Gitanjali Group has a large presence at the IIJS spread across several stalls – offering its brands as well as jewellery for the wholesale trade.

At the IIJS, it has introduced its new metal – Lumineux Uno – for the first time.  It is an amalgam of gold, platinum, palladium and silver. The jeweller says that this metal “consists of 95.5% of pure precious metals”.

Pankaj Shah, CEO, Retail & Merchandise of Gitanjali Gems Limited, is excited about the new introduction. “Jewellery set in this metal, brings down the price of a piece by a great extent,” he enthuses. The metal is also available for sale in bars and coins in different colours, and Pankaj says that it can be used for investment purposes too like any other metal.

Recently, too, Gili has begun manufacturing and selling jewellery in 14 kt gold, Pankaj says, which has been doing very well at the show. This type of jewellery has a good demand, particularly in northern India.

In keeping with the overall trend, for Gitanjali too, the lower priced goods are finding a good offtake. “In response to the market we are offering jewellery made using three methods: electroforming, stamping; and for diamonds, illusion setting,” says Pankaj. “People want a big look but also value for money products.”

YS18, a design led and designer brand has traditionally been best known for its graded-shaded jewellery using natural diamonds. Needless to say, both, the use of fancy colour diamonds as well as the density required to produce the exquisite shaded effect has always put its jewellery at the higher end of the market. “In each shaded piece we need to use at least 13 different shades,” explains Sudeep Sethi of YS18. “And that means as many lines or layers.”

YS 18’s new collections at the IIJS take cognisance of the present-day market conditions. So, apart from their large signature pieces, they have a few special collections crafted specifically to cater to the times.

A yellow diamond collection uses special setting technology to enhance the colour – so a consumer, while paying for less intense yellow diamonds, gets a look which is comparable with the more vivid, but higher priced colour diamonds in that range.

It also has a collection which uses sapphires, tsarvorites and emeralds in its signature shaded creations which make an exquisite play of greens and blue.

A collection of natural fancy colour diamonds also uses whorls and swirls to effectively cut the density of the piece; yet allow for the gradation to come through.

It is clear that manufacturers are responding to the needs and shifts of the market. For this, they are employing various means including innovation in design and the use of technology. And technology might well be the next differentiator, as there is only so much individuality that can be mapped out on the design front.

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