Rid­ing The Sil­ver Wave

Sil­ver jew­ellery con­sump­tion has rapidly grown in the last ten years but there are very few play­ers in the or­gan­ised sil­ver jew­ellery space. Shanoo Bi­jlani and Aliya Lad­hab­hoy in­ter­viewed sil­ver jew­ellery brands and jew­ellery de­sign­ers to gain a deeper in

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The In­dian jew­ellery mar­ket is largely un­or­gan­ised and while there are many gold and di­a­mond play­ers who are now tran­scend­ing into the or­gan­ised sec­tor, there are very few play­ers in the or­gan­ised sil­ver jew­ellery space.

To­day, women are fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent and don’t nec­es­sar­ily look at jew­ellery as a form of in­vest­ment. Also, self­pur­chas­ing con­sumers are on the rise and con­sumers would rather wear jew­ellery on a daily ba­sis rather than save it for oc­ca­sions. This is where sil­ver jew­ellery fits in.

Women of to­day want unique de­signs that en­hance their per­son­al­i­ties. Most of the new-age jew­ellery de­sign­ers ex­per­i­ment with sil­ver rather than its more ex­pen­sive coun­ter­part, gold. As a re­sult one can find the most fash­ion for­ward de­signs in sil­ver.

“Peo­ple are look­ing for a cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion for qual­ity de­signer jew­ellery, without in­vest­ing heav­ily in gold and di­a­monds. It was ac­tu­ally feed­back from our ex­ist­ing clients which led us to launch our sil­ver brand Adawna in 2015,” in­forms Sonal Sehrawat of Adawna, a sil­ver jew­ellery brand. “It is only a mat­ter of time when sil­ver brands of both new and es­tab­lished jew­ellery houses will dom­i­nate the jew­ellery space like their more ex­pen­sive cousins.”

“The mar­ket is grow­ing at the rate of 20% or even more,” in­formed Prasad Kapre of Style Quo­tient Jew­ellery Pvt. Ltd., one of

the big­gest play­ers in the or­gan­ised sil­ver jew­ellery mar­ket­place. It has a num­ber of sil­ver brands un­der its um­brella – Sil­vostyle, an in-house brand; sil­ver jew­ellery by Tarun Tahil­iani and Be­ing Hu­man Jew­ellery (a tieup with the Be­ing Hu­man Foun­da­tion).

“Branded jew­ellery is rel­a­tively a new con­cept in In­dia. Also, jew­ellery has al­ways been an un­or­gan­ised sec­tor. With stan­dard­i­s­a­tions, MRP pric­ing and brand value, cus­tomers are now grad­u­ally shift­ing their in­ter­est to­wards branded jew­ellery,” added Kapre. Cur­rently present in over 100 lo­ca­tions, Style Quo­tient is con­fi­dent about the grow­ing sil­ver con­sump­tion story. They are look­ing to ex­pand their pres­ence in 22 states across In­dia with strong dis­tri­bu­tion route in over 300 lo­ca­tions in the next few years.

Kapre in­formed that ear­rings, rings, pen­dants are the fastest mov­ing prod­ucts in the daily wear cat­e­gory fol­lowed by an­klets and toe rings.

The power of e-com­merce

Sil­ver jew­ellery de­signs have caught up with the younger urban pop­u­la­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the World Sil­ver Sur­vey 2017 pro­duced for The Sil­ver In­sti­tute by the GFMS team of me­tals mar­ket an­a­lysts at Thom­son Reuters, “De­signs, which un­til early this decade were con­fined to ru­ral In­dia and tribal pop­u­la­tions, is now con­sid­ered trendy and ‘cool’ by the urban class. Tribal de­signs specif­i­cally have be­come a trend with ca­sual wear­ers and these are pri­mar­ily heavy pieces but with pu­rity at just 70% or less.” The rise of on­line jew­ellery stores has boosted sil­ver jew­ellery sales in In­dia.

Jew­ellery brand Am­ra­pali was one of the first jew­ellery brands to cash in on the sil­ver tribal jew­ellery trend and en­tered the on­line jew­ellery space with TribebyAm­ra­pali.com.

Top sil­ver jew­ellery brand Aaraa by Avan­tika op­er­ates on­line, and over the last five years since its in­cep­tion has drawn a huge fol­low­ing on so­cial me­dia in In­dia and abroad, which has helped grow its busi­ness. The brand’s founder and cre­ative head, Avan­tika Agrawal notes, “We are work­ing on build­ing our e-com­merce web­site, but dur­ing se­lect oc­ca­sions and

fes­ti­vals we also col­lab­o­rate with de­signer stores tar­get­ing the lux­ury mar­ket.”

Agrawal had pre­dicted some years ago that sil­ver will be the new gold and she is see­ing it hap­pen­ing. Sales of sil­ver jew­ellery, ac­cord­ing to her, have been grow­ing at an ex­po­nen­tial rate, mainly due to e-com­merce, which has been a big driv­ing force. Brand Aaraa sells hand­crafted 92.5 ster­ling sil­ver jew­ellery priced be­tween R2,000 and R50,000. It also sells smaller sil­ver prod­ucts like nose pins, toe rings etc., that are priced be­tween

R300 and R500. Sangeeta Boochra of Sil­ver Cen­trre has 35 stores across the coun­try and also re­tails on other web­sites. But this year, they plan to fo­cus on en­hanc­ing their ex­ist­ing web store. “On­line sales and a dig­i­tal pres­ence are very im­por­tant in to­day’s world. On­line sales are help­ful es­pe­cially to reach out to tier 2 and 3 cities where the brand or prod­ucts are not eas­ily avail­able. It’s a boon for such re­gions. How­ever we still find that peo­ple pre­fer to walk into our stores when they are con­sid­er­ing a big­ger pur­chase,” in­formed Boochra.

The rise of des­ti­na­tion wed­dings has also given an im­pe­tus to gold-plated sil­ver jew­ellery. Agar­wal re­veals that the de­mand for gold-plated sil­ver bri­dal jew­ellery is higher dur­ing the wed­ding and fes­tive sea­son. “This genre of jew­ellery usu­ally makes up to 30% of our an­nual sales.”

Style Quo­tient Jew­ellery Pvt. Ltd. has also en­tered into a tie-up with Tarun Tahil­iani to man­u­fac­ture his line of gold-plated sil­ver jew­ellery es­pe­cially for wed­dings and party wear. “This range is one of a kind, and hence gives us the ben­e­fit of be­ing the first one to en­ter into this space. De­signer jew­ellery is for niche au­di­ence, un­like our other brand of­fer­ings,” says Kapre. He added that the pop­u­lar price bracket for de­signer sil­ver jew­ellery is R5,000 – R50,000.

The World Sil­ver Sur­vey 2017 states, “The safety con­sid­er­a­tion while wear­ing gold jew­ellery, in ad­di­tion to its price, has seen a strong lift in sales of sil­ver wed­ding jew­ellery sets, which are elec­tro­plated with 24-karat gold. This jew­ellery is gen­er­ally priced at one-tenth the price of a sim­i­lar set of 22-karat gold jew­ellery.

Re­tail­ers have in­di­cated that con­sumers of­ten pur­chase the item, wear it for three oc­ca­sions, and then ex­change against a dif­fer­ent de­sign.”

Chal­lenges

Even though there has been a rapid growth in sil­ver jew­ellery con­sump­tion in the last ten years, the num­bers of play­ers in the sec­tor are few.

The big­gest chal­lenge of the seg­ment is its un­or­gan­ised na­ture. “Gain­ing trust, en­sur­ing high-qual­ity prod­ucts and af­ter­sales ser­vice are the key ar­eas for us. This will help the brand in the long run to cre­ate a loyal cus­tomer base,” noted Kapre.

Agrawal feels that there are still some reser­va­tions about sil­ver jew­ellery par­tic­u­larly with older peo­ple. “When it comes to wed­dings and other such oc­ca­sions, fine jew­ellery is pre­ferred as it is seen as an in­vest­ment. Also, there is a fail­ure to recog­nise and un­der­stand the thin line (per­ceived) be­tween sil­ver and ar­ti­fi­cial/ cos­tume jew­ellery by the gen­eral public. This out­look pre­vents jew­ellery play­ers from plung­ing into sil­ver jew­ellery mar­ket.”

“The sil­ver jew­ellery in­dus­try is labour in­ten­sive, and it is dif­fi­cult to find good kari­gars who want to work with sil­ver. Also there is a limit to the num­ber of hand­crafted pieces we can make, so we try and in­cor­po­rate the lat­est ma­chines and tech­niques in our fac­tory to aid our pro­duc­tion lev­els,” in­forms Boochra.

The way for­ward would be to recog­nise sil­ver jew­ellery as main­stream and cre­ate aware­ness through the medium of good and unique de­signs, main­tain­ing high qual­ity stan­dards, reach­ing out to clients with more clar­ity and de­tail about the process of how the jew­ellery is made. Fol­low­ing fair trade prac­tices also en­cour­ages crafts­men to as­so­ciate them­selves with the art of craft­ing sil­ver jew­ellery rather than giv­ing up on it al­to­gether or shift­ing to the ar­ti­fi­cial jew­ellery in­dus­try, stresses Avan­tika.

Aaraa by Avan­tika

Sil­ver Cen­trre

Avan­tika Agrawal

Sil­vostyle

Adawna

Prasad Kapre

Adawna

Tarun Tahil­iani Life­style Jew­ellery

Sonal Sahrawat

Sil­vostyle

Sil­ver Cen­trre

Sil­ver Cen­trre

Aaraa by Avan­tika

Sangeeta Boochra

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