METRO PLUS

Where the West meets East

Modicare's new Bella Passione line by Italian designer Antonio Rossa uses cubic zirconia for its international look

When Italian jewellery designer Antonio Rosso was asked to create a new range for Modicare, he was a bit nervous. He wasn't familiar with the Indian market, but agreed to make a range that would tread the delicate line between East and West, incorporating an international flavour while still appealing to the Indian market. His first designs met with much modification as some people loved his work and some hated it, but in the process Rosso grew familiar with Indian sensibilities. Following research in which he was assisted by Modicare, a quick dekko into Indian trends and incorporating critics' feedback, Bella Passione, a range of 18 K gold jewellery determined by two central design styles, is out. This collection which is "a little classical and not a breakthrough or anything shocking" is a broad based jewellery range not targeted at any particular age group or type of woman. Instead Antonio has striven to find a common balance between Western and Indian tastes and preferences.

The jewellery is not very heavy or ornate, instead it uses zirconia to achieve a dressy yet minimalist look. Most pieces are defined by a central stone and an entire palette of gems radiate their colours from the sleek jewellery.

Where the West meets East

Antonio Rosso is a third generation jeweller; the grandson of an Italian goldsmith. "He was a crazy man," laughs Antonio about his grandfather. "He opened a jewellery store in the middle of World War 2; he was a goldsmith." But the business did well enough for his son to join it and by the third generation, Antonio's children grew up learning all about jewellery. "One Christmas season when I was very little, I was in our shop when some customers came in and they were being shown a ring by my mum. I exclaimed, `Why is it so much money?' and had to be hurriedly quieted by my mum — I wouldn't have imagined I'd be let into the shop after that."

But Antonio is now an acclaimed jeweller, conversant in prevailing international trends. He points out that fashion trends in the West favour three current moods: using wood, yellow metal and revised Victorian jewellery. Jewellery designers work on two levels; one at the level of the global market where big designers who can't afford to present in one country alone design for global consumers. The second level is the one more focussed on a single, local market.

RIGHT BLEND The jewellery is not very heavy or ornate

RIGHT BLEND The jewellery is not very heavy or ornate  

United States is the biggest market for jewellery, says Antonio, and China shows huge potential. Surprisingly "Europeans are hard to design for," he muses. "They are very rich people, very spoilt and are used to everything, so it's hard to ascertain their taste."

The range Antonio has designed for Modicare has two lines: a single stone which is a mix between Indian and European and has a prominent stone. The second is the "classic touch" which is classical European and which Antonio calls "princess jewellery". He uses cubic zirconia in his range which includes rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces and has pieces for men as well. The price range is between Rs. 990 and Rs. 3,000. Modicare markets directly, call 25320439-41 at 83, M.G. Road for details.

H.G.

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