Sumit Sawhney: Silver Is Affordable, But Chic
Ace jewellery designer Sumit Sawhney, who retails through two exclusive boutiques in New Delhi and Gurgaon by the brand name ‘Apala by Sumit, Innovative Silver Jewellery’, talks about silver’s eternal appeal that cuts across all classes.
Why does silver score over gold in some respects?
The longing for designer jewellery has only been growing with each passing year in the country. Offbeat designer silver jewellery often favours the use of unusual semi-precious gemstones, which is generally not seen in an ornament that is crafted in gold. Also, the shift from gold to silver is because of the soaring prices of the yellow metal. Women are getting more style conscious these days, and design is ultimately the key to drive sales. Ever since I established my brand in 2006, our journey, in terms of growth, has only been on a northward course.
Why did you choose to work with silver?
Silver is a flexible metal in terms of manufacturing, and one can
experiment with it by featuring different finishes and coatings. These qualities offer creative freedom to a designer. Moreover, silver is a precious metal and thus, is considered superior than copper or brass, etc. My silver jewellery creations are mostly adorned with rubies, blue lapis, sapphires, coral, labradorite, carnelian and chalcedony.
What is it that draws customers to your brand?
My customers do not like run-of-the-mill jewellery and they come specifically to shop for something that is not clichéd – jewellery that surprises them, lures them and impels them to buy it. For me, creating one-off jewellery is a fundamental need as I like to fulfil the needs of my customers, who yearn to own an unusual piece. So be it a piece worth I5,000 or I50,000, I try to make it unconventional.
Do you offer buy-backs? If yes, how much and do people actually return old jewellery for new?
We do not offer-buy backs, but we emphasize on value-added service. Our 22-karat gold plating on silver comes with a life-long guarantee as we re-do the plating free of charge. Basic repairs are also done for free. And I also rework the old jewellery by transforming the look mostly for the same cost, or by including minimal charges.
A carved Radha Krishna ruby pendant enshrined in goldplated silver, decorated with kundan-set polkis.
The torque featuring the lion, is set on a vadlo or vaidla, made from a single piece of thick spiralled silver wire, is generally worn by the women of the Rabari tribe of Kutch, Gujarat. The necklace has been fused with a central hand-carved face of a lion. The polki and diamond elements add an ornamental elegance to the necklace.
The Turquoise Crescent Moon necklace inspired from the energy of the cosmos and the different shapes of the moon, features a row of crescent shapes set with turquoise and enhanced with pink tourmalines and kundan-set polkis. The necklace is further fringed with filigreed discs.
The gold-plated silver Lakshmi Aamantran necklace centres on Goddess Lakshmi sitting on a fullbloomed lotus. She is surrounded by pink lotuses set against an intricately carved backdrop of filigree and reticulation.
The Meditative Heights gold-plated
silver bangle highlights pyramids accented with kundan-set gemstones.