All That Glitters Is (White) Gold

Jewellery designers and connoisseurs today are mesmerised by the aura of a striking alloy which is gaining immense weightage as the chief element for engagement rings, wedding bands, cocktail rings and cuffs. Invented in the 19th Century by alloying yellow gold with palladium, white gold is perceived as a stylish, bright, shiny and contemporary metal to craft out exquisite pieces of jewellery. It first became commercially available 104 years ago in Pforzheim in Germany, and gathered steam in the 1920s as an affordable substitute for platinum, before plateauing out with the rise of its parent, yellow gold. RITZ explores how white gold is now working back its lustre into jewellery boutiques and showrooms in the South, and into the hearts and minds of aesthetes.  

White gold or platinum is a question that vexes many an amateur eye. But the discerning eye carrying attention to detail is quick to point out the differences between the two. White gold is lightweight, available in abundance, is easy to resize, repair and polish. And most importantly, is much more affordable than platinum. The alloy, which is fashioned out by leveraging silver, nickel, palladium or zinc to bleach yellow gold can beautifully offset a range of coloured gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires. And superbly complement the sparkle of diamonds. With India being one of the largest consumers of gold, having consumed 848.9 tonnes in 2015 (estimates by the World Gold Council), the potential for white gold, is tremendous. Both for jewellers and buyers.

With the festive season on in full swing, get to know what globally renowned jewellery brands down South are doing to promote this white metal in a market traditionally shimmering with heavy yellow gold jewellery.

Kirtilals

This 85-year-old heritage brand which started by selling diamonds in Coimbatore, today has a presence in the far corners of the globe, from Botswana to Antwerp, and across principal centres in South India. The classy brand is a household name in resplendent diamond jewellery and is now beautifully capturing the essence of white gold. Kirtilals has introduced avant-garde collections comprising earrings, rings, pendants, chokers, bangles, neck chains and necklaces designed with white gold. Targeted at the contemporary woman to help express her personality and highlight her femininity, Kirtilals Glow and Go collection is for the woman always on the go. The Regale collection is inspired by Indian flora and fauna and adds oomph and richness in style with its shimmering finesse. The Ambrosia collection meanwhile is an admiration of nature and its beauty with motifs inspired by flowers.

kirtilals

“We also designed a new bridal collection using a combination of yellow and white gold consisting of necklaces with matching earrings and this was well received by our patrons.  However in South India, consumers still prefer traditional yellow gold for wedding and festive jewellery. In the North, people are open to purchase dual tone jewellery which emphasises on the details of the design,” says Seema Mehta, Director – Creative, Kirtilals. Going ahead, Kirtilals is looking at creating classic designs, which look elegant in white gold and crafting products with a contemporary touch such as necklace sets, pendants and rings.

Address: Neeladri Plaza, No.4, Rajaram Mohan Roy Road, near Richmond Circle, Bengaluru.

Contact: +91 80 22103311

C Krishniah Chetty Jewellers

South India’s oldest jeweller, C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers is the ultimate luxury jewellery brand in the heart of Bengalureans. The brand is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that white gold is channelised optimally to create the most splendid designs in jewellery. They recently launched a stunning white gold necklace designed in art-deco style featuring sugarloaf sapphires and rose-cut diamonds, and a white gold cuff bracelet with sugarloaf tanzanites, offset by a luminous backdrop of mother-of-pearl and brilliant cut diamonds, amongst other impressive pieces.   “White gold is very popular. Although it may appear as not being so popular,” says Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director, and Director C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers.  “Above 25 – 40% of our diamond designs are made specifically in white gold. That’s a lot by any measure. We take great effort to create designs for this soft beautiful metal. Ironically, consumers don’t even realise it is white! Our designs are such that they are made specifically for white gold,” says the veteran jeweller.

c-krishniah-chetty

So what is it that makes a consumer go in for white gold, above other metals? “Design, design and design. Nothing else matters to those who browse our glass cases. Still, yes… there are consumers who are fixed on a colour of the precious metal. But that’s more to do with the home, the other jewellery ensembles they possess or plain being fixated.” Hayagriv says the design element is noticed, not the colour of the metal. “Just like a fine expensive car, where we don’t see if it’s metal or fibre or polycarbonate…!”

Address: 3A, The Touchstone, Main Guard Cross Road, Off Cubbon Road, Bengaluru.

Contact: +91 80 4000 1869

C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers also has showrooms at Commercial Street, Malleswaram, Jayanagar and at the BIAL airport

Kalyan Jewellers

Intricate designs and opulence pronounce the making of a Kalyan piece of jewellery. Renowned for their spectacular settings of gold, diamonds and coloured gemstones, the brand’s Chairman and Managing Director, TS Kalyanaraman feels white gold complements white diamonds when compared to yellow gold. Families who are looking to buy diamond jewellery often prefer white gold.”

mr-ts-kalyanraman-chairman-and-md-kalyan-jewellers

Kalyan has diamond jewellery that is made using white gold or coated with white gold. “We have Apoorva, which is a collection of uncut diamonds with a white gold coating made for special occasions. For the bridal segment, we have an exclusive collection of rings made in white gold called Bliss. White gold is also used in Glo, our dancing diamond sets. We also have a white gold collection for men consisting of bracelets, chains, rings and kadas,” says Kalyanaraman. He feels that many consumers prefer white gold since it is durable, scratch-resistant, affordable, “making it a good alternative to platinum.  It is also a matter of choice. Some feel that white gold complements their skin tone more than yellow gold. Others prefer it because it is more subtle than yellow or pink gold.” With a footprint that stretches across over 10 Indian states, and much of Kuwait, UAE and Qatar, Kalyan is certainly that luxury brand which has scaled exponentially, ever since its first store in Thrissur in 1993.

Address: No 17, Dickenson Road, Bengaluru.

Contact: +91 80 25550533

Forevermark

Renowned globally for their magnificent, responsibly-sourced, hand-selected and natural diamonds, Forevermark has utmost recall value in consumer minds for premium diamond jewellery. They work with all hues of gold to design ornate jewels centred around diamonds. “But when we add white gold to a yellow gold or rose gold piece, the beauty of the diamond and the entire design is enhanced,” says Sachin Jain, President, Forevermark India, adding that white gold jewellery is the perfect alternative for those who want the luxury of gold with a cool silvery tone. “Nowadays, white gold engagement rings have become increasingly popular because white gold being a cool tone metal, works beautifully with a Forevermark Diamond or any gem colour and enhances the beauty of the ring. White gold is quite durable, keeping in mind that its hardness also depends on the material’s purity.”

mr-sachin-jain-president-forevermark-india

The trend of diamond engagement rings in white gold is seeing a lot of demand, and Forevermark has crafted a variety of ring designs which are a mix of classic and contemporary. “Also, in the Indian market, bangles, earrings, necklaces and nose pins are seeing a growing trend for white gold. We have created special designs in white gold as it truly compliments a beautiful and rare Forevermark diamond,” says Jain.

forevermark

The brand collaborated with designer Bibhu Mohapatra for the Forevermark Artemis collection of bracelets, pendants, rings and earrings; where a Forevermark diamond is at the heart of every jewel set in different shades of gold, including white.

Abaran Timeless Jewellery

“White gold is very popular for designing wedding bands, cocktail rings and cuffs. And now the trend of using white gold for necklaces is gradually picking up,” states Pratap Kamath, Managing Director of the jewellery brand Abaran, and grandson of Burde Sadananda Kamath, who established Udupi’s foremost jewellery store. He feels that since buying patterns and mindsets of modern-day consumers have transformed, the timing is great for white gold to sparkle.

abaran

“However in bridal jewellery, yellow gold is still the most preferred. This festive season we saw less than 5% demand for white gold. We generally craft them based on consumer preferences and global trends. Peacock chandelier earrings are something we have recently crafted using white gold.” Abaran has also introduced diamond studded cocktail rings and panther diamond studded cocktail rings in white gold.  “Diamonds studded in white gold are most popular.” Kamath believes white gold is trendy; it reflects individuality and hence is becoming one of the most preferred metals. “There is nonetheless no price difference as such between white and yellow gold jewellery. White gold is essentially 75% Gold i.e. 18k gold. The colour difference is because of the 25% alloys used. White Gold has zinc, nickel and palladium whereas yellow gold has copper and silver as alloys. Therefore price is the same.”

Address: 192, West of Chord Road, Mahalakshmi Layout, opposite ISKCON Temple, Bengaluru.

Contact: +91 80 23598600

Abaran’s other showroom is located near Garuda Mall in Bengaluru.

The Ladies Who Love It

Sanjjanaa Galrani – Actress

“I have a big fetish for jewellery and I love wearing it on a day to day basis. Be it white gold, yellow gold or diamonds. I feel white gold has that contemporary touch with some sort of a Victorian English feel. It is younger, fresher and vibrant as compared to yellow gold, which is more traditional. I have a large collection of watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings that have white gold as a key element.”

Sangeeta Jung – Hyderabadi Royal and conservationist

“White gold has been around since ancient times and it’s now making a comeback big-time. It carries an old-world charm and looks especially exquisite when set against beautiful coloured gemstones such as emerald and sapphires.  I have inherited jewellery from my family carrying an element of white gold. Yes, I like white gold and I own it. If I’m looking for something with diamonds, or more so with emeralds and rubies, I would look for pieces crafted from white gold.”