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India's stressed millennials buying talismans, charms

Feelings of uncertainty are pushing more people to invest in jewellery related to spirituality and astrology

Rushika Kothari, co-founder of jewellery brand Talisman, believes millennials are buying jewellery not just based on sun signs but also because they 'emit good energy'.
Rushika Kothari, co-founder of jewellery brand Talisman, believes millennials are buying jewellery not just based on sun signs but also because they 'emit good energy'. (Courtesy Talisman)

Jewellery designer Riddhika Jesrani can't stop smiling. She's still getting orders for a zodiac signs-based collection she launched four years ago.

Featuring brass earrings and necklaces, which can be customised depending on the sun sign, the collection gets picked up almost as soon as it is dropped. At present, about 25% of the jewellery pieces are marked "sold out" on her website.

Also read: Why millennials are looking for answers in the stars

“When you personalise something, people really gravitate towards it. It makes them feel more special. And zodiacs are great that way,” she says, adding the uncertainty of the present times is making people find comfort in products that bring "good vibes".

In a world where astrology has a large following, zodiac signs have long been a source of inspiration for jewellery, with many retailers and brands like Tiffany's and Tanishq launching a line or two based on it. They come with the promise of offering comfort in the most difficult times. Small wonder then, their demand has increased in the past two years.

In 2020, London-based shopping app Lyst reported that searches including "zodiac sign" or "birth sign" had collectively risen 56% year-on-year.

Mamta Gupta, sales director of jewellery label Zariin, sifted through similar data before the label started a zodiac line in November. It included golden block chain necklaces with black medallions, bearing symbols of sun signs. Over 9,500 of the pieces have been sold since the launch, making it the label’s highest-selling collection. “Zodiacs in that sense are like wearing a part of your identity. It speaks a little about who you are,” says Gupta. “We didn't even have to spend a lot on marketing. It had its own organic traction.”

“This goes beyond zodiacs,” point out Rushika Kothari, co-founder of jewellery brand Talisman. She has observed that her customers, aged 25-35, also have an affinity for charms, with motifs ranging from animals and flowers to chakras, birthstones and the evil eye.

The pieces are associated with symbolic power, and can be easily attached to chains or bracelets. Such "symbol bracelets" have contributed to a monthly 15% increment in the brand’s sales volume since January last year. Interestingly, they are regarded as the little black dress of contemporary jewellery due to their appeal and versatility. “You can stack up as many charms as you want. Mix and match them, and do a combination of your choice,” she says.

Kothari believes millennials are not necessarily buying them because of faith in astrology. They just feel the pieces emit “good energy. It's all about empowering themselves. When they wear a piece, they want it to make them feel confident,” she says.

Aavriti Jain, founder of jewellery and apparel store Dhora, concurs. Her online sales grew 30-40% during the pandemic, with much of the clients being millennials and post-millennials. For her own part, the 30-year-old wears a ring that belonged to her late grandfather when times are tough. It reminds her of the encouraging things he used to say. She believes her generation buys jewellery not just for its visual appeal, but for the story it tells and the meaning it creates. Her designs are inspired by the trees, sun, moon and “anything that is bigger than us and makes us realise that we are insignificant.”

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