AN AFFAIR OF A LIFETIME

It's a craze, it's a passion, it's an obsession. Jewellery as always lured women. Make your wedding a dream come true with those pieces of jewellery that your have desired the most. Pervin Khajotia tells you how to pull out all the stops while choosing jewellery for one of the most treasured moments of your life.

BRIDES SPECIALS

How much should your spend on your bridal set? How many sets are too many? What are the current trends - the styles, the metals, the stones? Will it be diamonds - it is surprising what this little piece of carbon can do for a woman! Or is it the everlasting lure of the yellow metal? It truly is a difficult choice to make.

Wedding jewellery is a special collection of the most evocative and emotional pieces of jewellery that a woman will treasure all her life Choosing bridal jewellery is an unforgettable moment. Here, we hope to help you make the right choice, get the right prices and live up to the spirit of the new millennium.

Go window shopping: See the pieces being displayed in the shop windows and get some idea of the designs that are trendy, available as well as the price that might fit your budget.

Look for a reputed jeweller: Ask your friends and family for the name of a reputed jeweller, or go and talk to several jewellers. Don't be afraid to ask questions and take your time looking at the right piece of jewellery. Decide on a jeweller whom you can trust and rely.

Determine your price range: It always helps to fix the budget in advance. Always insist on a buy-back guarantee from the jewellery store.

Co-ordinate the jeweller: See to it that the jewellery you buy does not clash in any way with the wedding dresses that you plan to wear. So, if you are already through with your clothes, keep the patterns and colours of your outfits in mind while choosing jewellery. Or you can use the design on the jewellery as motifs and patterns on your bridal dress.

Get your insurance: Once you are done with buying all the you want, get your jewellery insured. The jeweller from whom you buy your jewellery can also give advice on insurance.

THE LURE OF GOLD AND TRADITION

For the who are lured by gold, they must know that other than the standard, traditional yellow, both white gold and the more up market pink gold are in. High polish in close competition with dull, matter or sand-blast textures.

Thewa: Traditional gold jewellery like Thewa, which used gold over glass, is a god choice for weddings. Fuse it with Scandinavian scroll patterns and the French `fleur-de-lis' and it remains traditional yet trendy.
A bridal set could could cost Rs. 30,000 upwards. "I have my clients coming back for every colour in glass available," says Roopa Vohra, the woman who single-handedly has turned this dying 400 years old Moghul art into a world phenomenon. Each piece is hand-crafted, and there is a minimal repetition of designs.

Minakari: The finest minakari work is done on pure gold, which 1 lends itself to intricate designing.
The minakar or the enameller uses fine translucent enamel of different colours, depending on the requirement, to fill design. Your can set precious stones on minakari sets additionally.
These days many jewellers give designs that combine both kundan and minakari work. Traditional kundan ornaments have a mellow, opaque appearance and are made in gold and crystal.
You can also use these traditional Indian techniques for trendy and unconventional designs. Traditional Indian designs like Pachikam and South Indian temple designs are as popular even today.

THE ETERNAL DIAMOND

Diamonds, believe it or not, are affordable and are available in 14,000 different categories. So there is always a diamond for every budget. A diamond is a sound long-term investment. Besides, which bride does not want diamonds with her wedding jeweller? But how do you actually go about buying a diamond?

The Dos and Don'ts of buying Diamond.
Be aware of what you are buying. Two diamonds of the same size may vary widely in quality. And if a price looks too good to be true, it probably is! To become an educated customer, it is necessary to understand the four Cs: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat Weight. Don't be afraid to ask questions and take your time looking at the right piece of diamond jewellery.

Cut: It is the way the facets or flat surfaces are angled: a better cut offers more brilliance. The modern `brilliant' cut, which is the most widely used cut in the world, has 57 facets. `Brilliant' cut diamonds come in a variety of shapes, including round (which is the most popular, princess, oval, pear, marquise and heart.

Colour: Colourless diamonds and fancies are the rarest and most valuable. Carat: It refers to the weight of the diamond. Larger stone are more rare. 1.50 carat for a bridal set is the most ideal diamond weight.

Clarity: The fewer the natural marks or `inclusions' the better is the diamond. For the first time, diamond jewellery retailers are offering brides in India special diamond sets - `Vivaha' - specially designed for the wedding day.

These sets are available at all diamond jewellery retail outlets in India and come in different price ranges - a set comprising a diamond ring, necklace, bangle and earrings is available from Rs 75,000 onwards.

The Mangalsutra, a very significant part of bridal jewellery, has metamorphosed. The original concept was that of a black row of beads to ward off the veil eye. Today, the Mangalsutra has made a comeback as a must have fashion accessory for every bride. While pendants have changed in shape from the traditional designs to more contemporary versions with diamonds and precious stones, the basic concept of the 2 piece remains the same.

FOR SOMETHING UNIQUE

If you want bridal sets custom-designed, here are some valuable tips on styling and current trends by some of India's leading designers.
Poonam Soni feels that simplicity is the key word today. "There have been evident changes in bridal jewellery. The bride of yesteryears was bedecked form head to foot, but now designs are within personality limits."
Neeta Bhosle, who caters to the, more traditional clientele, feels, "Flat diamonds, bikaneri and minakari are in. White gold is certainly doing the rounds." In her designs, she aims to bring freshness into traditional styles, using the same motifs but in different forms.
Neelam Kothari's haute, upmarket jewellery line may cost Rs. 4,00,000 onwards for a bridal set. "A new look that is moving a lot abroad is black metal - oxidised white gold. Rose-cut diamonds have become popular once again", says Neelam.

As you can see the choices in bride jewellery are mind boggling. We hope that by now, we have narrower them down for your. A woman romance with these mythical bridal jewels never dims. The lure lasts for lifetime.

SOLA SHRINGAR

What does sola shringar actually mean? What does it include? It is the 16 aids to beauty that traditionally were adorned by most Hindu brides:

Rakhri - worn on the parting of the hair.
Tika - worn on the forehead
Balon ka haar - flowers for the hair
Jhumka - earning
Nath - nose ring
Haar - necklace
Mangalsutra - wedding chain
Kanthi - choker
Angoothi - ring
Hathphool - bracelet with ornament for palm and rings connected with chains.
Kada - bracelet
Bazuband - arm band
Kardhani - waist belt
Pahzeb - anklet
Ghungroo - ankle bells
Bichhwa - toe ring

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between 24K and 18K gold?
In the karat system, the purest from of gold is expressed as 24K, referred to as 1000 fineness. When there is a combination of metals wit gold (alloying), it affects greatly its colour, temper and hardness. That is how we have white gold, green gold, pink gold, etc., wherein normally he alloys used are silver, copper and zinc in certain proportions to get the desired result.
The number of karats signifies the purity and fineness of gold. 18K 3 gold signifies a mixture of a base metals like copper, silver, since with gold in which the gold content is 18 parts of 24, meaning 75 per cent. It is also denoted as 750 fineness. Hence, if you have two identically designed rings in 18K gold and 22K gold, the one in 22K will definitely be heavier and more expensive than the one in 18K. This is imply gravity of 22K gold is more than that of 18K gold.

How does the international pricing system work?
The international gold rates that appear in the newspapers are based on the troy ounce system of measurement. One troy ounce is equivalent to 31.1035 gms, So what is quoted is $350 per troy ounce, which means that the per gram price of gold will be: 350 divided by 31.1035 divided by 24 multiplied by 18 multiplied by approximate dollar rate. This equal Rs. 362-90/gm is the case of 18K piece of jewellery.

What are the factors that come into play when you consider the price of a piece of jewellery?
The cost of the gold Sales Tax (two per cent) Labour Cost Packaging Expenses for jeweller bag and box. The cost of hosting the customer in an ambience befitting the industry. While your local jeweller may charge less, the bigger and more reliable brands do not compromise on the above mentioned factors that form a part of the in-built cost.

How come the colour of gold changes at the joints in some pieces of jewellery?
In the case of handmade jewellery where the practice has been to join the different parts of the jewellery using solders, we see tarnishing especially in a lot of old jewellery. However, this is changing greatly with the advent of improvised solders that are available which eliminate such colour difference at the joins. This occurrence is not there in many of the branded jewellery, where the jewellery is one piece and manufactured by the process of casting.

What do I do if my ring is looking old and shabby?
A lot of jewellers offer to have your jewellers polished and cleaned for your at no extra cost. But remember that this process may result in a very minute loss of gold during polishing, though the loss is negligible. Alternatively, you could just buy a polishing cloth or chamois skin piece and keep polishing your jewellery yourself. This is not as effective as a polishing motor but it is the next best alternative.

How can I tell whether my gold is the karatage that I have paid for?
The `karatmeter' introduced by one of the popular brands tells you for certain as to the gold karatage of a particular piece. This, however, does not work for chains and bracelets or any piece of jewellery involving joints. The Fire Assay is the most reliable option, but it requires a part of the piece to be melted for inspection.

 

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