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The Unstoppable Rise of Fashion Jewellery

Mira by Radhika Jain

Of late, Indian fashion jewellery has become the toast of the town. Whether India or overseas, it has found takers across different markets. With that, domestic sales as well as exports of our home-grown jewels are constantly on the rise. Looks like, it’s just a matter of time when India would be the next manufacturing hotbed and export powerhouse of fashion jewellery. Hard to believe? Read the full report, you’ll not agree with us more.

Globally, the wholesale jewellery market for fashion jewellery is estimated to be equivalent to US$ 16.3 billion with UK and USA among the top suppliers of high-quality fashion jewellery. But the Indian fashion jewellery industry has an unprecedented relevance and customer-base globally. Along with world-renowned fashion brands with their exclusive fashion jewellery collections, it has dozens of internet-based domestic brands dealing in indigenous and innovative designs.

Moreover, a new generation of designers have emerged, who are highly creative and make fashion jewellery out of a combination of an array of materials. These included base metals, rhinestones, CZ crystals, celluloid, shells, glass, corals, amber, stones, ivory and beads. What is so special about fashion jewellery? Simply put, fashion jewellery is a delightful combination of present-day designs, multi-hued textures and inexpensive materials.

Exports on the rise

Talk exports, India is one among the leading countries which export fashion jewellery. Bloated by almost 72 per cent in FY2012 to US$ 313.72 million from US$ 181.64 million in FY2011, with majority of shipments going to US, UK, Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia, India painted a promising picture then. Later from Rs. 2,502 cr in 2014-15 to Rs. 2,755 cr (US$ 421 million) in 2015-16,it registered a growth of 10.10 per cent. After that, touching a high of US$ 337 million in FY2013, with a slip to US$ 283 million in FY2015, exports once again looked up and in the first nine months of FY2016, India shipped fashion jewellery worth US$ 205.90 million across the globe.

As India is the second largest manufacturer of fashion jewellery after China, with Mumbai as its main hub, the export market is supporting the industry’s growth, due to the high demand in US, Europe, Canada, Australia and many other Asian countries. Terming it an important part of India’s GJ export basket, Pramod Agrawal, Chairman, GJEPC, has recently said that the Council will promote costume and fashion jewellery in a big way this year. “Costume and fashion jewellery, which used low-cost raw materials and thus offered the potential for much higher value addition, would get more attention in terms of promotional efforts by GJEPC this year,” he stated.

Ever increasing domestic demand

The demand for fashion jewellery has grown significantly in the last few years. A recent study by RNCOS, a leading industry research and consultancy firm, reveals that the fashion jewellery market in India was estimated at Rs 8,000 crore in 2014 and is likely to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 20 per cent by 2018. Moreover, within the country, the north and south are the biggest markets for top line fashion jewellery. This is due to skyrocketing gold and silver prices, rising consumer preference availability of more innovative designs and a variety in fashion jewellery.


“The Indian jewellery market saw a revolution in 2012, when fashion jewellery started to take its roots in a big and effective way. Ever since then, there has been an enormous flux of fashion jewellery in the trade. In fact, by 2013, it had hit a growth rate of 20-30 per cent. It is estimated to have a bright future and will continue to boom over the years to come,” predicted Mitaali Vohra, fashion head and founder, The Bohemian, Mumbai.

Changing preferences of consumers

As millennials are becoming the major consumers but have limited buying ability, fashion jewellery is proving to be a truly outstanding replacement, allowing them to fulfill their emotional need of ‘looking good all the time’.

According to Saroja Yeramilli, founder and CEO, Melorra, the younger generations don’t hold jewellery in the same esteem as their predecessors. They’re looking for something different from what their friends have. “Our entire generation and maybe even a generation or two before us, moved away from precious jewellery completely. This aversion is a result of changing fashion trends. There is a big mismatch between the urban Indian woman’s clothing and her jewellery. While her wardrobe is overwhelmingly (80 per cent) western, her jewellery is locker-bound due to the heavy designs. The urban Indian woman struggles to find an appropriate jewellery to match her daily looks at work, out for dinner or at school pick-up. Her current precious jewellery is unsuitable for all these multiple occasions and she is unable to express her individuality. These limitations have led to a generation of under jewelled women,” she opined.

Zurie Design Studio

Chitwn D Malhotra, director of Dillano Luxurious Jewels Ltd., New Delhi, too is of the opinion that fashion jewellery is a rage amongst the young generation. “The buying trend of consumers is changing with the varying trends in jewellery. Now-a-days, women are more interested in fashion jewellery rather than sticking on conventional jewellery designs. Young working women, modern housewives and college going girls of affluent families love to flaunt their apparels and jewellery in parties, festivals and other social occasions. Moreover, the younger generation treats fashion jewellery as a style statement rather exhibiting fine jewellery as a legacy or heirlooms. Fashion jewellery is the greatest way of self-expression for young and fashionable women,” he added.

Moreover, since India is a young nation with a median age of 27 years, it is expected to be the youngest emerging economy in the world and with jobs that are superior to our ancestors and better education, this generation is willing to spend more on fashion accessories that reflect their personality.

MiRA collection by Radhika

According to Radhika Jain, founder, MiRA by Radhika Jain, Kolkata, millennials are constantly on a lookout for something rare and more personal and fashion jewellery gives them just that.  “Fashion jewellery has a lot of scope and potential. Especially with the price of real or fine jewellery touching the sky, it is very difficult for general people to buy them and thus, they have turned their gaze to costume jewellery. Secondly, even people who can afford usually don’t like to keep their expensive jewellery at home or carry them while travelling for security reasons. Which is why, even they have warmed up to fashion jewellery. As a result, there is good demand for costume jewellery and it’s also looked upon as a lucrative field,” she explained.

Affordable luxuary

Just so you know, fashion jewellery began as an attempt to create jewellery that emulated and made available the expensive variety of jewellery that adorned the rich, to all. The artificial stones and imitation gold helped a great deal in creating affordable, yet appealing jewellery. With so much going for it and since everyone doesn’t want to invest in real jewellery just for keepsake, more and more people opened up to the idea of wearing fashion jewellery.

According to Sonam Gupta, jewellery designer & co founder, Zurie Design Studio, the crucial factor that has driven consumers towards fashion jewellery is the high cost of precious stones and gold in the country. “Since the demand for expensive gold jewellery is declining gradually, the decreased demand for gemstones is quite natural as gemstones need gold to be paired with. With that, people are switching to Swarovski, American Diamond and Kundan and this transition is bringing a tough time for traditional jewellery,” she revealed.

Even Shillpa Purii, founder, Shillpa Purii Designer Jewellery is of the view that re-emergence of semi-precious and fashion jewellery is taking over real and precious jewellery. “Due to the cost and increasing price factors, the consumers are already quite aware and bending towards fashion jewellery. It’s affordable, it’s trendy and it accessorises with almost anything,” she added.

High on fashion quotient

Leveraging on these trends, a number of brands have forayed into the fashion jewellery segment, which in turn is pumping more eye-catching designs into the market which match both Indian and Western wear.

“Fashion jewellery is becoming a classy option for its charm and fine craftsmanship. Gone are those days when people wore jewellery, that too fine jewellery, only during weddings and festivals. Now jewellery is enthusiastically accepted by people belonging to all strata of the society. The fashion jewellery market has so much to offer in terms of metals, variety, colour and design. The trends in fashion jewellery have surprises, twists and turns. Ready to wear, versatile and light jewellery is trending in the Indian fashion jewellery scene,” updated Leshna Shah, founder and creative director, Aurelle.

Fashion jewellery therefore, seems to be the way to ramp up one’s appearance and do so without breaking one’s pocket. If the past few years are any indication of the changing preferences of consumers, the future of fashion jewellery is bright and sparkling. “People need a change every time they are out for parties or to attend family functions, which make fashion jewellery a perfect choice for them. This is a big booster for fashion jewellery and this industry, which was primarily focused on export market, should encourage development in local market also,” summed up Radhika Jain.

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