Thanks to their fashion week showcases and subsequent celebrity-fuelled fame, conceptual jewellery brands like Eina Ahluwalia, Outhouse by Kaabia and Sasha Grewal, Valliyan by Nitya Arora and Mrinalini Chandra among others have gained a considerable fan following in recent years. While accessory aficionados would have had to scour multi-designer boutiques in Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata earlier — retail spaces where clothes inevitably take centrestage and jewellery is generally allotted a few measly counters — they now have the option of stepping into Varun Raheja’s store Minerali. Everything can be found in the same 700-square foot space.
Located on Linking Road, the store’s modest façade belies the bling that lies in wait inside. The interior may not be too imaginative or dramatic, but the stark white décor manages to contain the gold rush. By far, Minerali’s strongest suit is the fact that it houses 13 different jewellery labels, varying from cult favourites and red carpet regulars to emerging designers aiming to make a mark. Here, you’ll find Ahluwalia’s famed Kirpan neckpiece nestled with her Love Respect Protect necklace, Chandra’s Singhasan pendants gleaming next to Valliyan’s statement Rococo midi rings and Outhouse’s tribal-meets-neo designs alongside Rara Avis’ luxe leather pieces.
Other brands adding to the bling factor range from known labels such as Zariin, Bansri, Vasundhara and Pretty Stoned to newbie names like Raya, Made by M, Tad and Micare.
Priced between Rs 2,000 and Rs 30,000, the varied selection on offer is part of Raheja’s well thought-out strategy. With over eight years of experience with Aquamarine, a family-owned silver jewellery brand, Raheja’s endeavour with Minerali is to draw in both, the connoisseur as well as the explorer. “The idea is to introduce consumers to the concept of buying designer silver and semi-precious jewellery. All these labels have been hand-picked because they have very unique styles. So, there’s something for everyone, from the trendy and funky to indo-western fusion,” says Raheja, who says he merely wants the store to be a conduit between the designers and their end buyers.
Interestingly, each designer gets a separate alcove, giving the effect of a store-in-store retail layout. A clever ruse, given that the baubles on display run the gamut of contemporary fashion jewellery’s most popular names and ego issues can be easily brushed aside. “I’ve given them each a section, requiring them to directly represent themselves. So, they’ll automatically want their latest collections and bestsellers on display. That puts pressure on them and eases it off me,” says Raheja.
With a sizeable section of the store dedicated to silverware and corporate gifting articles, Raheja has made sure that the family business is well represented too. But the candle-holders and Ganesha statuettes aside, what we like most about Minerali is the fact that an emerging generation of conceptual jewellers now has a retail space dedicated to its designs, where they’re not playing a supporting role or understudy to some apparel star. Shine on, we say.