Brides today are decision makers who have no qualms about disrupting traditions and even the minutest of preparation needs their nod of approval. After all, changes today are the benchmark for future generations to follow. When it comes to jewellery, brides are increasingly demanding customisations to suit their preferences and personality. Little wonder that the jewellery industry finds itself confronting a drastic shift in bridal design sensibilities – from the flashy and heavy jewellery sets to more elegant and customised pieces that enhance the personality of the bride. In a session on ‘Bridal trends’ at The Retail Jeweller India Forum 2018, brand representatives from Azva, Forevermark, Rio Tinto Diamonds and Platinum Guild International, shared their recent market experiences with illustrations of how they have been leveraging these trends.

India – a diverse market

The unique and vast Indian market is where it all begins, felt Vipin Sharma, CEO, Azva. He elaborated, “Two Google searches on Indian and American brides shows us how varied the jewellery preferences are in both markets. There is a certain unanimity in the attire of American brides and their most popular choice of jewellery, a diamond. On the contrary, regions, cultures and tastes are uniquely different in India.” In support, he referred to a map of India and its states, each of whose population equals to the population of many smaller countries across the globe. As far as regional influence on bridal jewellery designs go, Sharma felt that brides today are surer of what they want. “They are trying to express their individuality without rejecting family traditions and values. Hence, their jewellery demands are peppered with a mix of traditional as well as contemporary gold jewellery that stand out effortlessly.”

Thought shift influencing buying choices

Jewellery and Indian marriages most definitely work in tandem, opined Vikram Merchant, Director-India representative office, Rio Tinto Diamonds, but there has been a remarkable shift of perception over the years. “Earlier, bridal jewellery was seen as an investment and brides used them infrequently, storing them in lockers. Since jewellery was handed down generations, they were quite elaborate too. Brides today are educated professionals with a knowhow of their financial investments and security markets. Her changing social milieu makes her buy jewellery which she can flaunt frequently rather than make investments,” said Merchant.

The diamond effect

It’s this shift of preference that makes diamond popular with young brides, felt Merchant. “Uncut diamonds have an understated elegance, are affordable and can be paired with Indian and Western wear. As more and more brides today identify themselves with dynamic diamond jewellery that can be worn as statement pieces, diamond retailers should take cue and boost the trust factor with third-party certifications on their diamonds.” Taking off from where Merchant left, Santosh Sawant Key accounts manager (independents) Forevermark India, highlighted the changing preferences of modern Indian brides. This was reiterated by a video screening of one of their new collection advertisements from 2015, where a young lady tells her mother that it’s time she starts buying jewellery for herself. “Forevermark has introduced jewellery pieces that reflect today’s designs and sentiments,” added Sawant, as he referred to videos of some of their latest bridal collections.

The allure of platinum

The shift in bridal jewellery trends has also seen a growing interest in platinum jewellery, a metal that is far beyond just a precious jewellery segment, said Kamna Chowdhury, Director, Consumer Insights and Marketing, Platinum Guild International. “Brides want to move beyond traditional beliefs and rejoice the many firsts in their lives – be it their wedding, first anniversary or first Valentine’s Day, to mention a few. To enhance the platinum experience, we named our products differently. Our engagement rings are known as Platinum Bond since they bind not just a couple but two families through marriage,” she explained. Chowdhury hinted at the growing focus on a look rather than on a set and felt that platinum fits the bill with its flexibility and use of motifs, thus staying at par with popular trends and individual sentiments. Changing times and trends call for a shift in advertisement tactics too. “A smart way of promoting jewellery is through bloggers, social media influencers and artists who can create a buzz around the jewellery,” she concluded.