Once a year, every year, spirits are high as the nation comes together to celebrate all things joyous for Diwali. Undoubtedly the sartorial season of the year, as gracious Indian women step out in style, adorning themselves in decadent jewels. Gold jewellery, in the name of tradition, has been long associated with the shimmer and shine of this festival. And while this sentiment will never change, jewellery as a design form is ever-changing. India’s appetite is evolving, it’s diversifying and there’s a new flavour in town that’s retaining the old while embracing the new. There’s been a seismic shift in what people are looking to buy, moving away from purchasing more traditional Indian jewellery to an increase in demand for contemporary fine jewellery.
Amethyst Shell Earclips by House of Umrao
Carrying on his family legacy, Milan Choksi of fine jewellery brand, Moksh thinks back to the very beginning: “When I first started Moksh, customers found it much easier to purchase designs that they had seen other people wear before or from international brands with large advertising budgets. Whereas now customers are better informed, well-travelled and very confident of their individual choices. They have absolute trust in Indian brands and their makers.” The rise of social media has given brands a platform to tell their story to audiences around the world, using visual communications to play with perception and positioning. Anuj Shah of the House of Umrao says “With social media, consumers are exposed to a whole new world of jewellery with just the click of a button. They were blind before - only experiencing jewellery in retail stores across India.” But the retail landscape is also slowly but surely progressing. Choksi referencing in particular “Stores such as Le Mill have a discerning, knowledgeable clientele, combined with fantastic buying and merchandising teams, bringing a new contemporary edge to fashion retail in India.”
Branch Earrings by VAK
The use of new-age marketing, progressive retailers and the evolution of good taste may be playing their part in shifting the dial, but ultimately, design is driving this change. Second and third generation jewellers represent a new guard of designers, crafting masterful work and putting India on the global map. Vishal Kothari, Founder of VAK is one of these talented artists “The Indian consumer is now slowly opening up to jewellery as a form of art. Jewellery is being represented in major art shows from Basel and TEFAF to traditional galleries and museums showcasing contemporary works alike with retrospectives of legendary makers and brands.”
The Indian buyer is moving towards conscious consumption - appreciating slow luxury and choosing local over larger global names. The reverent, Roohi Jaikishan gravitates towards traditional yet modern jewellery. “I recently commissioned a lovely carved emerald pendant from an Indian jeweller that I wear on a leather thong.” Roohi is part of an increasing pool of modern-age Indians who have started to see jewellery as self-expression and a very personal object of desire. Buyers are yearning for more, they want to see jewellery laden with stories, personality, nostalgia and that’s exactly what today’s Indian contemporary jewellery designers are delivering.
Spiral Diamond Earrings by Sajjante
And as for me, discovering the world one jewel at a time, supporter of all things ‘made in India’ and absolutely drawn to the magic of designers - Sajjante, Moksh, Vak, and House of Umrao. This Diwali, Le Mill presents ‘The Joy of Jewellery’ – a curation of 10 Indian Jewellery brands, handpicked for their modern designs and exquisite craftsmanship. Scroll my favourite pieces from the pop-up here.
Amethyst Shell Earclips by House of Umrao, Gold Earrings by Sajjante
Black Agate and Diamond Chakra Bracelet by Ananya Fine Jewellery, Lotus Pond Earrings by VAK
Jumping Gold Ring by Sajjante, Emerald and Diamond Band by Moksh
To know all about Le Mill's Joy of Jewellery pop-up, click here.