A little sparkle

Anjali Jhangiani
Sunday, 3 February 2019

Diamond jewellery designers selected through a programme called The Real Cut, talk about designing for pret wear and how the industry is changing its ways to cater to millennial customers

Lakmé Fashion Week in association with Diamond Producers Association came up with a platform called The Real Cut to discover and nurture emerging diamond jewellery designers. The aim was to give jewellery designers from iconic jewellery brands a chance to define the trends of the future while drawing on their inspiration from billion-year-old diamonds.
 
The Real Cut gave jewellery designers an opportunity to showcase their work with only prêt wear collections at the just concluded Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2019 in Mumbai with designer labels such as Rara Avis by Sonal Verma, Verandah by Anjali Patel Mehta and Saaksha & Kinni by Saaksha Bhat and Kinnari Kamat.

The final winners, handpicked by an esteemed panel of judges from diverse backgrounds of the jewellery and fashion fraternity, were Shazia Motiwala of A S Motiwala, Bhavana Jhakia of Om Jewellers, Rupam Singhal of Orra, Akshita Garg of Chiripal Jewellers, C Raghu of Kirtilals and Rajeshwary Singh of Senco. We spoke to them up about expanding their customer base, making diamonds more suitable for dailywear and catering to the wants of millennials. 

The millennial customer
“Millennials will buy a mixed bag of jewellery — small diamonds for regular wear and large diamonds for special occasions. They love to wear jewellery of latest fashion trends and wear that will highlight the inner strength and spark,” says Singhal.
  
Raghu believes that one's individuality and sense of identity plays a big role when buying and investing in jewellery. “Diamond jewellery which is simple yet elegant is what people prefer to buy. It is more about an emotional connect to reflect their personality and traits,” he adds.

Talking about a new trend she has observed, Garg says, “Another fad which is catching up is pairing of smaller diamond pieces to make one large chunk.” But Motiwala shares that millenials are all about minimalism nowadays. “Minimalism is a huge fad this season. Millennials opt for smaller diamond pieces that are unique and intricate. They want to purchase jewellery that they can re-style for their everyday dressing and not jewellery that is stocked away for special occasions. This cultural shift is very prominent in the industry where customers are choosing function over fashion,” says she. 

Using the platform
While Singh was excited to be in the limelight at such a prestigious fashion event, Garg believes that presenting her work on the ramp grabbed more eye balls of customers and stakeholders in the industry. “The Real Cut is an interesting platform which brings together the best of fashion and diamond jewellery. It highlights how diamond jewellery plays an important role in fashion,” says Jhakia as Motiwala feels flattered to be associated with this initiative. “It serves as a great driving force for upcoming fine jewellery designers like ourselves, to showcase our talent,” says she. 

Keeping it light
While diamond jewellery is mostly worn on special occasions, and is not really considered as accessories for pret wear, these designers took on the challenge to come up with gorgeous pieces that are not overstated. “While collaborating with the pret wear designers, we had to understand the designers and trends of tomorrow to know what the collection stands for and how jewellery enhances it. Diamond designs need to be an amalgamation of latest trends and the history India carries with it,” says Singh, adding, “Rather than designing huge neck pieces, we can design small neck pieces which can be easy to wear at work and otherwise. The trend now is more towards everyday diamonds rather than just wearing them on special occasions.”

Garg points out how diamond jewellery consists of classic pieces which are bought with a long-term perspective as they are passed on over generations in a family to be inherited. “But millenials are buying diamond jewellery for multiple occasions, which can also be worn everyday or carried easily while travelling. Such pieces need to be designed to be paired with Western as well as Indian outfits,” she says.

“There is a lot of research that goes into studying the current and future trends in the industry. It is a constant effort to stay relevant, keep an ear out for suggestions from our target audience. Diamond jewellery designs have to reflect the ‘new cool’ along with having an international finish and a global appeal, while keeping our ideals strongly rooted within Indian culture,” says Motiwala, adding, “We have tried to incorporate functional, multi-use and travel friendly jewellery pieces that can be changed up and instantly transform your look within seconds. We understand that Indians are value driven and that is exactly what we bring to the table with a little bit of sparkle.” 

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