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Be dazzled
SPARKLE TRAIL

How would you like to drape yourself in diamonds — in a masterpiece of a necklace that will hook to the nape of your neck and web out over the shoulders down to your torso? Intrigued? Or then again, how about discarding all that delicate jewellery in your wardrobe for chunky in-your-face statement pieces that are so “In” today?

Prices be damned, couture jewellery is the way forward. Some hot trends have just stepped off from the catwalks of the first India International Jewellery Week in Mumbai that was supported by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

Vasant Mehta, chairman of GJEPC, says: “The recession and economic slowdown apart, the jewellery industry in India is showing strong growth. Coloured gemstones, coloured gold and pearls are also in big demand.”

The recently concluded five-day extravaganza had 30 jewellery designers and design houses from across the country showcasing the season’s glittering collections. Among the designers who left their sparkling trails on the ramps were India’s top jewellers including Gitanjali, Mirari, Tanishq, Amrapali, Queenie Singh, Varuna D Jani, Farah Khan Ali, Bina Goenka and Rhea Nasta.

While the reigning collections speak different languages, what emerges is that jewellery in both yellow and white gold is high on the hotness factor. And not only can you wear the jewellery, but you can also convert it into extravagant embellishments for a bridal outfit or flowing cocktail gowns. And colours rule — not just on the fashion runways — but even in diamonds and any other stone that studs the yellow metal.

Multi-functional jewellery is also digging its heels in. For instance, a necklace might have detachable piece or pendant that can be worn as a brooch or even a ring. Designer Varuna D Jani who’s offering multi-functional jewellery pieces to her A-list clients, says: “Multi-wearability is the order of the day so you can transform a heavy set into a light, casual one by detaching pieces from it with the help of concealed locks.”

Bold statement pieces are in too. So neckpieces have become broader and bigger. Watch out for multi-layered, gold and diamond necklaces and polki chokers. The design vocabulary is now heavy on traditional Indian designs and floral, animal and bird motifs embellished with fine gemstones.

The soaring price of gold may play spoilsport and you’ll need deep pockets to indulge in some serious buying. Look upwards of Rs 1 lakh right up to a several crores (and counting). Here’s looking at the top trends of jewellery this season.

BIGGER IS BOLDER

Bold, bright and in-your-face jewellery is the way to go this season. Keep the jewellery imposing and Think Big.

Turn your attention to weighty pendants in diamonds studded with precious and semi-precious stones. Oversized maang tikas (or tiklis) feature in the collections of Amrapali and Bhirdhi Chand Jewellers. And according to Shreyansh Kapoor, owner of Kashi Jewellers of Kanpur, chunky gold kadas set with diamonds are top buys.

Rings too have become conspicuous. For instance, the Moksha ring by Sangam Jewellers of Mumbai is an amazing gold and onyx piece inspired by Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The ring has Buddha in black onyx superimposed on an enamelled lotus which has leaves made of gold. The brand’s gold-mesh brooch and snake-shaped gold bangles are also worth checking out.

Neckpieces too have got bolder. Says Siddharth Sawansukha, CEO of Calcutta-based Sawansukha Jewellers: “The drama is definitely in the necklace which is more of a statement piece today.”

The broader the neckpiece, the better. So, expect to encounter diamond chokers, multi-strand pearl necklaces, long rani haars and polki collars when you hit jewellery stores next.

The eye-popper from Bina Goenka in her ‘Tribute to Gaia’ line is an oversized diamond necklace that goes all the way from the neck to the navel, meandering over the shoulders along the way. Price is most certainly on request for this one.

Sawansukha’s Durgotsav line, specially designed for the Durga Puja festivities, is a perfect mix of jadau, gold, antique and diamond pieces. The stunners included a half hasli (or Rajasthani neckpiece) in gold with a big flower-shaped pendant, the petals of which are in rubies. Then there’s a sparkling diamond Madur necklace which has an unusual base of bamboo on which the diamond and gold design is set.

Creating out-of-the-box pieces is the forté of Mumbai-based Laksh Pahuja of Pristine Jewellery. The piece de resistance in his collection is a diamond necklace shaped like a huge dragon. Rectangle pendants embellished with rubies and diamonds feature in Manubhai Zaveri’s bridal jewellery line.

A south Indian temple necklace in gold along with armlets with precious gemstones specially catches the eye in Ganjam’s ‘Enchanted Garden’ line.

ALL THAT GLITTERS... IS GOLD

The good news is that gold hasn’t lost is sheen and can never look dated. Devinder Layal, designer and art consultant of Sangam Jewellers, says: “Today, young people want trendy and edgy designs. Gold can be used innovatively in designing simple, delicate yet dramatic pieces.”

Like the spider chains (inter-linked and braided gold chains that resemble cobwebs), the feather-light chains (super-fine gold chains) and bubble bangles (wide, oval-shaped bangles) in gold mesh feature in Sangam Jewellers’collection.

White gold is making a statement too. Thick, Chinese collar neckpieces in white gold are being paired with multi-wire white gold bangles in Ganjam Jewellers’ lines. DC Jewellers has diamond bracelets and spider-mesh necklaces in 22-carat white gold.

Kundan-meena jewellery (a painstaking, ancient technique from Rajasthan in which precious gemstones are set in 24-carat gold) has also stood the test of time. Take your pick from kundan-meena haars, bracelets, armlets, thick kadas, chandelier earrings, tie-pins from signatures like Jaipur Gems and Amrapali.

Says Tarang Arora, CEO, Amrapali: “Each piece is inspired by traditional designs and adorned with kundan and meenakari work and diamonds on white gold.”

BLING FOR BOYS

Men in general — and grooms in particular — can look forward to serious jewellery shopping too. Inspired by royalty, Gitanjali has launched its Menz line of necklaces and brooches in 18-carat gold and diamonds. Men can also look forward to wearing jewelled belts in diamonds and multi-layered neckpieces.

Take a look at men’s jewellery by Golecha Jewellers that’s got a repertoire of intricate, traditional pearl string-necklaces, brooches for sherwanis, turban ornaments in uncut emeralds, diamond and ruby wrist-cuffs, bird-shaped rings in gold and multi-hued arm-bands set with precious gems. Says Vijay Golecha of Golecha Jewellers: “It’s a huge trend for men to wear sherwani buttons, big brooches, cufflinks and other interesting neckpieces for any formal occasions.”

OF GEMS AND DIAMONDS

Women can continue their love-affair with colours. That’s gold and diamonds in different hues. And these are usually accompanied with coloured gemstones like emeralds, rubies and blue sapphires.

Designer Yogendra Sethi of YS18 has used a palette of natural diamonds. These are rare and exotic gems ranging from faint to vivid colours like yellow, red, pink, blue and green. The darker the colour, the higher the value of the fancy, coloured diamonds. “I have used floral motifs encrusted with unusual cuts like the rose-cuts, fine slices, old mine cuts and diamond briolette. Usually these cuts are found in antique pieces and bring out the diamond’s brilliance,” he says. His hotsellers include flower brooches studded with pink, canary and white diamonds in 18-carat pink and white gold and long earrings in pink diamonds.

There’s also Zoya, the exclusive diamond line from Tanishq, that’s inspired by the art and architecture of Spain, Paris and Rajasthan. The neckpieces and earrings come in white and champagne diamonds, rubies and blue sapphires.

Queenie Singh meanwhile has given a modern spin to traditional Indian designs in her collection ‘Mystique’. In this line of kadas, pendants and opulent neckpieces, designed for the brand, Giantti, Singh’s used diamonds and coloured gemstones set in gold. Designer Rhea Nasta too is experimenting with precious and semi-precious stones like citrines, tsavorite, tourmaline, rubies, topaz, along with diamonds in fancy cuts. Rubies, emeralds and uncut diamonds set in pure gold feature in the Kanhai (Lord Krishna’s peacock feather) line of Eekani Jewels.

Jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali says: “Teaming diamonds with pearls is also a very big trend today.” So while Kashi Jewellers has a luxurious necklace in kundan, enamel and pearls, Farah has designed necklaces with strands of South Sea pearls and emeralds and glittering diamond collars with South Sea pearl drops.

WEDDING WOWS

Catering to the wedding market is top priority for jewellers who are pulling out all stops to make their lines look opulent. A top trend for the upcoming wedding season is an over-the-top regal look.

Traditional pieces like heavy kadas, maang tikas, raani haars, naths (nose-rings), cummerbunds, bajubands, the haath phool, the karn phool, long jhumkas, hair pins and brooches are straight out from grandma’s treasure chest in their new avatar with unusual geometric shapes.

Farah Khan Ali says: “I have done only limited-edition pieces.” Her ‘Adayein’ line is inspired by heritage designs and has multi-strand ruby and diamond necklaces, maang tikas, earrings, rings and bangles, polki necklaces and long-tasselled pearl necklaces. Farah’s bridal pieces start at Rs 2 lakh.

On the other hand, Varuna D. Jani showcased her VOW (or Very Own Wish) line in which a heavy piece can be broken into smaller pieces. She says: “It’s for those women who don’t want to keep their wedding jewellery in lockers but wear it differently with a variety of outfits.” Jani’s floor price is Rs 50,000 and the bridal sets (in gold, diamonds and precious stones) are priced upwards of Rs 3 lakh.

Chandelier earrings are an important element is Gitanjali’s ‘Timeless’ collection while Amrapali’s five-row kundan rani haars are worth checking out.

Photographs by Gajanan Dudhalkar
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