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An affordable alternative

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A wide range of costume jewellery is available.
A wide range of costume jewellery is available.

Kannal Achuthan

Costume jewellery is both a trendy and pocket-friendly option

The high cost of gold and silver has spawned a big market for costume jewellery, especially among younger women.

Cosmetics, gift stores and fairs have stocked the latest in costume jewellery to meet the surging demand this Deepavali. While gold still holds its allure, costume jewellery’s affordability encourages women to buy it to match their new clothes for festive occasions.

Jewellery designer Sunita Sharma has her own line of fashion jewellery called ‘Nayani.’

She designs lockets in ornate styles with Korean pearls and stones from Australia that look quite original but are cheaper.

“Women between 35 – 40 years like to wear these lockets with their gold chains. The set now resembles real gold,” she said. Recently, Ms. Sharma combined ruby-like stones with a genuine set of pearls to design a ‘kundan’ jewellery piece for a customer.

Style quotient

But costume or fashion jewellery does not come cheap when it looks “almost gold.” The ones that come with a one-year guarantee are often gold-plated, which hikes the cost.

When not plated with gold, gilt jewellery can look gaudy.

This is why some customers prefer to go in for handcrafted junk jewellery.

V.R. Suresh, proprietor of Vandayar Traders, exports bead and wood jewellery but also supplies to retail stores in India and puts up stalls in exhibitions.

He prices a pair of ear-rings between Rs. 30 – Rs. 50 based on their intricacy; necklaces cost Rs. 110. College students love to sport the colourful, pocket-friendly jewellery.

Higher costs

But even the materials used to make junk jewellery are getting costlier. Mr. Suresh said that he found it difficult to keep the costs low, especially after the hike in fuel prices. “Beads that cost me Rs. 420 per kg about a year ago now costs Rs. 680,” he said.

For those who think that bead and wood jewellery is too bohemian for their taste, paper jewellery in traditional designs fit the bill.

Y. Satya Kumar of Maya Paper Jewellery has produced ear-ring and necklace sets that are priced about Rs. 400.

S. Radhika, a schoolteacher who bought two sets of paper jewellery, said that her school-going daughters considered the jewellery very trendy.

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