Jewellery has long graduated from being a three-dimensional bank statement. It has now become a personal statement of taste. With that, it has to prove a lot more than its weight in gold to appeal to the contemporary buyer.
Tanishq, the jewellery business division of Titan, has dangled the carat of new designs to customers with much success. The company has been on its toes thinking up novel ways to catch the eyes of the prospective owners. Of the ranges that it has beautified the market with, two gems of innovation shine brightest.
Waltzing the stone
"We planned to make the diamonds sparkle more by setting them in motion," says Tusheeta Kurien, accessory designer, Tanishq. The company has recently launched a range in which the diamonds or other semi-precious stones do not remain still but shift with the movement of the wearer.
For the 'Dancing Diamonds', Ms Kurien followed the seesaw, the pendulum and the fan among many other movers and shakers to capture the mysteries of movement. The ornaments, born out of this inertia, use many kinds of motion. In some designs, the diamond moves as a single unit. In others, many diamonds act as a unit and move together. They dangle or move on pivots. Certain pieces, like a pendant, have diamonds rotating around an axis providing the 'fidget' element.
The designer has even created optical illusions to step up the glitter. In a particular unit, sets of diamonds placed parallel to each other in a square move horizontally in such a way that it gives the impression of vertical movement.
The Tanishq team realised that while bangles and finger rings would complement the concept because the wearer's hands would swing the sparklers into action pendants, necklaces and earrings might not do it justice. The diamond in the latter would tend to settle at the bottom. To get the nuggets to budge, the designer decided to concentrate on horizontal rather than vertical movement in these trinkets.
In vertical components, Ms Kurien has created stoppers to block the rocks from settling at the bottom and leaving gaping gaps at the top. Ms Matthan points out that the notches are also helpful because they prevent the diamonds from getting jammed when they move through the corners.
In many of the designs, Ms Kurien has fixed the diamonds in such a way that they do not end up sliding all in one direction. In the bangles, alternate diamonds are fixed and the central ones move in their own channel and one can see the motion at different distances. Some of the designs use bezel-set stones, with metal rings around the diamonds, which move across the entire unit rather than being limited to channels.
Tanishq has used relatively larger diamonds for this range so that the improvisation is more obvious. It has also taken care to let the stones hog the limelight by using a domed surface instead of a flat one. This ensures that less of the metal and more of the diamond is visible. To make the presence of the metal even more inconspicuous, the designs use the jaali pattern on the sides. As a result, the weight of the jewellery goes down.
But putting all these plans on paper constituted only the beginning of the work. The production required even greater diligence. The channels, for instance, have to be even to keep the diamonds from getting stuck. Tanishq has used 18-carat gold, which is not as soft as 24-carat gold to keep the valuables secure in their grooves.
Even then, getting customers (who were paying large amounts for one bangle which could lighten their pockets by Rs80,000) to trust that the diamonds won't come undone from the ornament is a task not easily achieved. "This is because of faulty perception. The diamonds in these designs are as secure as they are in traditional jewellery. With time, people have gained this confidence. There have been no complaints and so the idea has caught on. In fact, certain pieces in the range have become classics," says a proud Ms Matthan.
Gold is not old
Tanishq has a trend-setting range to empower this special segment of customers. It uses the yellow metal, historically a symbol of power. The designs, in the range of Rs500 to Rs15,000, marry the traditional use of 22-carat gold with the needs of the office space. Says Ms Matthan, "The idea was to make gold jewellery, treated more as an investment, fashionable."
Pallavi Dudeja Foley, jewellery accessory designer, has modelled the chic patterns in the '9 to 5' range in Collection G with the focus on convenience. The ornaments can be worn with the saree, the salwar kameez or western formals and are hence practical buys. The easy-to-wear sets don't get entangled with the fibre of the users' clothes.
Ms Foley has developed a style that uses Western and contemporary elements not conventionally associated with gold. But she has also kept in mind that Western styling, in itself too minimal for the Indian market, needs to be treated in a special way for the Indian. She worked out ways by which the finishes could bring in detail without overdoing the result. She used treatments and textures like Rodium-plating, sandblasting and patterning for the desired effect.
The designs use geometric forms to create the underplayed effect. "Floral designs would have created a cluttered product. So, I have used lines. They are not too bold and do not directly attract attention," says Ms Foley.
One would think the line would lead to straightjacket thinking. But the designer has turned and twisted them in very creative ways. She has been inspired by bar codes for a range costing Rs500 onwards. She has also turned the lines around to create circular products. Ms Foley has also used the chime, making three miniscule rods dangle together to create sound.
The company has almost a 100 designs for earring-pendant sets, neckwear, bangles, bracelets, chains and rings.
With so many brilliant ideas in its kitty, Tanishq has sure put the twinkle into the Indian customers' eyes.Related articles: