Diamonds today are for all. Bindu Gopal Rao tracks the changes in consumer perceptions, revealing trends that have contributed to the increased usage of these stones.
Say the word diamond and you can see a woman’s eyes light up immediately. The sparkle and lustre of the most-loved jewellery item is something that is nonpareil. And yes, quiz most girls and pat comes the clichéd answer – diamonds are a girl’s best friend! However, an influx of jewellers into the market in the recent past has meant that accessibility to diamonds has also gone up and the need has shifted from occasion wear to everyday wear.
Beyond the 4Cs
The fundamental rule of diamond buying would earlier be centred on the 4Cs – colour, cut, clarity and carat. But today, these are well-informed and savvy clients that look at aspects like the beauty of the stone. Indian jewellery lovers are now buying larger diamonds as well as the smaller ones. “Versatility and wearability are the key factors defining their purchase. Diamond jewellery is now being worn on a daily basis. Therefore, the preferences are changing towards more minimalistic and elegant choices,” says Ketan Chokshi, director, Narayan Jewellers.
A diamond is still something you would want to be held in a precious metal, so a gold setting is generally preferred. “There was some experimentation with titanium; but it is a hard metal and still needs a gold setting to hold the diamond. When gold prices were rocketing, palladium was used, but demand has since dwindled away. In fact, a few people have also tried to set them in materials like ceramics or wood but as they still need the gold to hold the diamond. So, gold still rules the roost,” says Costantino Papadimitriou, SVP, brand strategy and innovation at Forevermark, De Beers.
A recent study by De Beers titled the ‘Diamond Acquisition Study’ (DAS) conducted with the objective of exploring and understanding the diamond buying behaviour of the new Indian consumer has revealed interesting insights. Over 40,000 women across tiers 1, 2 and 3 cities of India were interviewed and research showed that amongst the elite, first preference was given to diamonds over yellow gold jewellery.
Although it is believed that purchase happens primarily for bridal jewellery, the DAS study showed that there is no seasonality in buying diamonds and that women wore them as an everyday style statement. “The choice of jewellery is becoming more functional and jewellery is something that the women would want to wear at all times rather than keep in the vault. Hence, the patterns are also adapting to this trend. The designs are also becoming modern, while retaining a touch of tradition and can be best described as Indian with a twist,” opines Costantino.
A lot has changed as far as wearing diamonds is concerned. “We see our consumers going for wearability – a pair of solitaires or a big pair of earrings is fast
becoming a hot favourite and a lot of people would like to own it as it can be worn along with a lot of outfits. Jewellery shopping is not just restricted to weddings and grand occasions; it has now spread to shopping for jewellery as an accessory which can be worn for regular events and outings as well,” agrees Ashraf Motiwala, partner, AS Motiwala.
Vintage-inspired pieces are making a comeback, and India, with its rich heritage, is becoming a huge source of inspiration as designers are leveraging on tradition. “It is important and necessary to remember where you come from. Likewise, nature continues to remain a source of inspiration and floral designs are making a big splash. Every woman likes flowers. Naturally, the union between diamonds and flowers make the perfect connection with love,” says Costantino.
Diamond hairpieces are doing well abroad, while brooches are going in and out of fashion. As far as men are concerned, diamond cufflinks are popular. In fact, men are spending a lot on maintaining their beards, and jewellery for beards (yes, you read that right) is also something that is fast catching up.
Coloured diamonds are another new trend, but happen to be expensive. While yellow diamonds are more common, diamonds also come in shades of red (the rarest), dark green, blue, orange and pink. Of course, coloured diamonds are unique simply because they are uncommon and even people who work with diamonds admit they are not easy to find.
So, the next time you head out to buy a diamond, remember to pick what suits you and what will be an extension of who you are. After all, a diamond is forever.