The brainchild of VARUN RAHEJA, Minerali houses some of the most popular semi-precious designer jewellery brands in the country. From Vasundhara Mantri’s traditional baubles to Valliyan’s edgy designs, from Eina Ahluwalia’s daring creations to the gem-studded Outhouse jewellery and Mrinalini Chandra’s quirky aesthetics – Minerali has something for every woman. Launched in October 2014 in Mumbai, the brand has found instant success with the city’s jewellery lovers. ALIYA LADHABHOY caught up with Varun to get behind the scenes of Mumbai’s first multi-designer jewellery store.
Varun Raheja has always rooted for silver and semi-precious jewellery. Having successfully built a jewellery chain Aquamarine into a pit-stop for traditional and trendy semi-precious and silver jewellery, his latest venture, Minerali, a multidesigner jewellery store goes one step further by bringing together 15 creative jewellery designers under one roof. The store’s launch has been timed perfectly to coincide with the onset of the wedding and party season, and has already attracted a large number of women to this store.
Varun comes from a family of jewellers who have been manufacturing and exporting silver jewellery for over three decades. Aquamarine, their retail venture, was initially launched to cater to foreigners in 2002, but the family soon realised that Indians were warming up to silver jewellery.
“At Aquamarine, I was involved in building the brand and over the years, it reached a stage where I needed to go to the next level. I realised that a lot of talented designers are working with new forms in semi-precious jewellery. That’s when I decided to open a multi-designer store dedicated to this segment,” informs Varun.
Currently stocking 15 brands like Valliyan, Eina Ahluwalia, Outhouse, Mrinalini Chandra, Vasundhara Mantri, Zariin, Rara Avis, Raya, Bansri, Pretty Stoned, Made by M, TAD, Micare, Pippa + Bella and Riddhika Jesrani Jewelry, Varun hopes to add a few international brands to his store in the next two months.
Each of the designers is allocated a separate space within the store. The jewellery ranges from R2,000 to R30,000. The store also has a silver home décor section and offers options for corporate and occasion gifting.
With so many jewellery designers turning to semi-precious jewellery, selecting the designers and the pieces was a tough task, but luckily Varun banked on his prior experience. “Being a part of the jewellery industry, I picked up designs keeping in mind that they need to be sold at the end of the day,” says Varun.
keeping in mind that they need to be sold at the end of the day,” says Varun. “Based on my experience at Aquamarine, I’d noticed that women would buy designer jewellery online and would then ask us to tweak it because the pieces would be too heavy or needed minor adjustments,” he adds. “Minerali bridges the gap between online and physical stores. Women can browse through the jewellery online before trying it on at the store and then making their purchase. We also collaborate with designers to get the jewellery tweaked or customised for our patrons. Also, it is very easy for a client to view jewellery by all the designers under one roof rather than visiting several boutique stores or shopping online.”
Varun points out that today’s women want to look different for every occasion and turn to gold-plated jewellery for their fashion-fix. “Women are more experimental with fashion jewellery and the price ticket is much less as compared to gold,” says Varun. Another factor that has worked in their favour is destination weddings. “People prefer not to carry gold and diamond jewellery while travelling
“Being a part of the jewellery industry, I picked up designs keeping in mind that they need to be sold at the end of the day.”
“People prefer not to carry gold and diamond jewellery while travelling as it is a hassle to look after it.”
as it is a hassle to look after it.”
The store’s launch in Mumbai is only the first on the list and Varun has several plans up his sleeve including working on a men’s range. “I would love to work on a men’s range and I have been
brainstorming about the possibilities. There is a growing market for men’s jewellery but it is not being catered to. I am looking at designing a range of brooches, belts and cufflinks for men in the
near future,” Varun remarks. Branching out to other metro cities as well as launching an online store is also on the cards.
When asked to list five top-selling brands, Varun quickly lists Outhouse, Eina Ahluwalia, Vasundhara, Valliyan and Mrinalini Chandra, which is no surprise since they have a huge fan-following.
So what’s trending? “With the ongoing wedding and party season, traditional as well as edgy pieces are doing extremely well,” Varun concludes.