Ecofriendly, couture-inspired jewellery by Aulerth
The most gorgeous jewellery with an ethical heart. That’s Vivek Ramabhadran’s Aulerth that aims at changing our mindset when it comes to jewellery shopping. The founder and CEO of the ‘couture-inspired and consciously made’ jewellery brand tells The Telegaph about the unique idea and why it’s not a ‘niche concept per se”.
Is there a story about how Aulerth was born?
It’s really a collection of learnings picked up during my time spent in the world of fashion and jewellery across India and other emerging markets, understanding the perspectives of different players in the ecosystem, mindsets of consumers, and understanding how global luxury houses in Europe work. I had the advantage of coming into this world as an outsider, and despite being in the system for a while now, I always try to retain that perspective.
During the pandemic in 2020, I was very intrigued with sustainability and did a lot of extensive research. My main question was: there are a lot of things being talked about (upcycling, recycling, workers’ rights, decarbonisation, circularity and more) but what contributes to the top 70-80 per cent of the problem? The answer is (disproportionately) material production, followed by usage. Then, I looked at different segments (apparel, footwear, jewellery) to see where the biggest gap and feasibility to impact is. And I realised that jewellery is a space where this problem is hardly being addressed at all.
Fundamentally, I am unable to rationalise why we need to go through the devastation caused by mining for gold and diamonds/gemstones, for a product that isn’t really utilitarian, but connects because it has such a strong emotional resonance that we cherish so much, that we bring on to celebrate our special occasions.
And then, when I look at India, there’s no better place to start — the world’s second-largest consumer of gold and diamonds, where gold is so deeply entrenched culturally and socially across generations. I thought that even if we could divert some part of gold jewellery consumption towards our jewellery, that would have a meaningful positive impact.
Tell us about the name?
Etymologically speaking, ‘au’ is short for aurum, which is gold, which metaphorically is used as a standard for excellence and preciousness. ‘Aulerth’ stands for a re-construed vision of preciousness, one that is more caring for the earth.
The legacy Aulerth will leave behind is a new norm for preciousness, a more progressive one. A significant part of how we construe luxury is in materials — the rarest of metals and stones, the most exotic animal skins, and so on, which typically tends to carry enormous footprint costs. We are either unaware or we justify them because of years of conditioning. That needs to change. And, that change isn’t easy. It won’t happen overnight. But, that’s also why it needs to be done, and it’s so fascinating. Imagine if future generations embrace a concept of luxury that isn’t about excessiveness, these rarest and finest of materials at whatever cost, rather than one that is more thoughtful and caring.... That change would indeed be precious. And we call that movement Aulerth.
The collections look fabulous. Can you tell us how different this process is from regular jewellery making?
Aulerth’s jewels are couture-inspired and consciously made. We partner with leading designers and manifest their signature along with meticulous craftsmanship into our products. Our jewellery is made from recycled base metals, collected from industrial use, and repurposed. We meticulously choose our stones ensuring they carry a minimal to zero mining footprint and ecological damage.
The first step is the seed of a collection — a set of inspirations that would showcase the designer’s signature in a way that is currently relevant. The journey of translating a designer’s couture signature into jewellery then begins with the designer’s ingenuity and creative expression, which is transformed by our jewellery experts into timeless designs. These are then rendered as prototypes with the help of 3D modelling technology. We then work closely with our skilled ateliers to source the right stones to bring the designs to life, finally casting the progressively precious jewels you see at Aulerth.
What have been your biggest soul-satisfying takeaways from this?
We are just getting started. At this early stage, it’s obviously wonderful to get positive and inspiring feedback on the designs, but honestly, it’s most heartening when I hear women say that this is “eye-opening” to the way they see jewellery, and share their support.
What have you had to unlearn?
Over my career, what I learnt as most important, and I got that from my time at McKinsey — to always retain the perspective of an outsider. That makes it much easier to learn and unlearn. And in a start-up situation, it becomes critical to have this.
Jewellery is an emotion in India. How are you planning to marry the niche concept to the age-old mindset? Or, rather bring about a change?
It does evoke emotion, and it’s not a niche concept per se. We are appealing to any woman with a discerning sense of design, an appreciation for meticulous craft, who is artistically inspired, and who either already has or is open to building an alternate view vs. traditional norms on jewellery, a woman who is open to engaging on embracing a modified view on preciousness.
And to these women, we will provide as seamless an experience as possible, that they don’t realise that they are actually transitioning to a product that is consciously made. There should be no compromise of any sort on what they receive — on quality, on service, on longevity.
Who is your customer?
We are appealing to any woman with a discerning sense of design, an appreciation for meticulous craft, who is artistically inspired.
What more can we expect from Aulerth in the coming days?
A couple of interesting features. We have set up an ‘experience at home’ model wherein a prospective client can have a closer look at jewellery they like, on their schedule, at their convenience. We drop their selection over and pick it up the next day. We have a ‘renew’ mechanism, wherein a client can trade in her Aulerth jewellery anytime after 12 months, and gain up to 60 per cent of its value, which she can use towards purchase of a new design.