What’s the correct occasion to wear a traditional joroa neck-piece passed on to you by your mother? If your first thought was weddings, you’re in for a surprise — traditional heirloom items such as the above are not only being aired out during the shaadi season but are getting updated and worn for cocktail parties as well. A touch of modernity in the making of these traditional pieces is what is attracting women towards these old-world designs. Says Tarang Arora, promoter, Amrapali Jewels, “Antique or traditional jewellery never went out of fashion. Traditional pieces have always been preserved within the family itself and every region has its own unique design. Be it the mango mala, coin necklace, gutta pusalu, saat lada, paanch lada or kilangi — all these patterns have geographical significance.”
A lot of precious gems such as pearls, emeralds and rubies, along with gold and diamonds, go in the making of heirloom jewellery. Heavy jewellery is not much in demand these days, with women preferring something that can be used in multiple ways, or better still, preserved as an heirloom. “There is a move towards wearable pieces. If you have a three- or five-line necklace that can be detached and worn as a single neck-piece, then that sells more,” adds Arora. Also, one can customise or bring new life to old pieces by modernising an old setting or creating a new one. Shehzad Zaveri, owner and creative director of high-end jewellery brand Minawala, says, “We offer a premium jewellery re-setting facility at all our stores. You can take an element or two of the old pieces and freshen it up in a new piece or mix elements of different pieces and come up with a whole new design.”
Revamping heirloom jewellery with a tinge of modernity to suit all occasions is also an ongoing trend. Mira Gulati, founder of jewellery brand Mirari, says, “Every piece of jewellery holds a special place in a woman’s heart. We set up our re-designing services to give jewellery a new look without touching or hampering the sentiments attached to it.” Mirari’s designs are inspired by Indian royalty and noblesse. “The pricing completely depends on the quantity the customer wants to purchase, its weight and their actual requirements. Usually, traditional kundan jewellery embedded in gold or gold ornaments studded with precious gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and solitaires are much sought after; even polki commands a lot of attention,” adds Kapil Hetamsaria, CEO and co-founder of Velvetcase, an online marketplace for curated fine jewellery.
An heirloom jewellery ensemble connects many generations together. But due to the outdated fashions associated with such pieces, the idea often loses its sheen. Thus, to keep such collections updated and follow the current fashion, re-designing has become the need of the hour,” adds Gulati. And even men are not averse to shopping for such rare pieces: jewelled buttons made of emeralds, rubies and other precious stones are much in demand. Men also go in for decorative kilangis and cufflinks crafted in gold and diamonds. Such pieces go a long way in creating a graceful look and are preferred by royal families,” says Hetamsaria. Heirlooms count as yet another jewel in the crown, then.