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Saturday, Aug 10, 2002

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Chennai still a challenge for fashion jewellery making

Nina Varghese

An artisan at work at the Jaipur Gems workshop in Chennai


BREAKING into a tradition-bound and price-conscious market, Jaipur Gems has in the past two years carved out a niche for itself in Chennai.

The store in Chennai is the second and only other branch of the Mumbai store. The brands of the company are being consolidated under the Jaipur Gems brands, according to Mr Mithun Sacheti, Director, Jaipur Gems.

With Jaipur Gems comes a swish of Mumbai's fashion scene and its penchant for fashionable jewellery. Jaipur Gems recently launched the Magique collection in Chennai. These gemstones imported from Switzerland are set in 18-carat gold with yellow, white, blackened and antique finish. The collection is manufactured in Mumbai and Chennai.

Mr Sacheti said that the decision to have a branch in Chennai was taken to tap the high potential market. He added that the people hailing from the North and living in the South were his customers, but the challenge lay in drawing the South Indian customers.

The differences between the two most important gold and jewellery markets in the country were many, said Mr Sacheti. In Chennai, he said, a greater number of men continued to accompany women on jewellery shopping which indicated that a larger proportion of men still made decisions on money spent on jewellery. Chennai was also the only market which advertises `no making charges and no wastage', he said.

Most of the publicity for Jaipur Gems had been by word of mouth, Mr Sacheti said. Catering to the high-end customer, he said design and quality played an important part in the brand's make-up.

In Chennai, Jaipur Gems has introduced the Jadau (kundan) collection, exclusive designs in the kundan tradition. The handcrafted jewellery is made of 23-carat gold in which the uncut precious stones are held in place by gold bands and set in intricate patterns to form the front of the ornament. On the reverse side, there are rich designs of engraving with colours.

Mr Sacheti, himself a designer and product of the Gemmological Institute of America, said a lot value addition was done to the jewellery design which made them stand out. Being a manufacturer retailer, he said helped ensure quality at all times.

In Chennai the store opened with an in-store promotion. Recently, Jaipur Gems had a fashion show. While agreeing that a fashion show was not exactly what was required to promote jewellery, Mr Sacheti pointed out that Chennai still being an "immature market", a fashion show was required to attract the decision makers.

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