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The natural re-emergence of semi-precious gemstones

  • A flurry on uncommon semi-precious stones such as pyrites and tektites are regaining popularity in their textured and rugged forms
  • Their vivid colours and asymmetric shapes are what attract consumers to their beauty

Semi-precious gemstone jewellery from Eurumme’s ‘Terra’ collection.
Semi-precious gemstone jewellery from Eurumme’s ‘Terra’ collection.

Marilyn Monroe may have sung Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend in the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but the hypothesis is being questioned by the popularity of semi-precious stones. Quartz, amethyst and turquoise are some of the more common ones that have become popular over the last decade or so, but have you heard of citrines, pyrites, tektites or even rough boulder opal? These lesser-known stones are left unpolished, with their jagged textures and indented edges offering an earthy and organic aesthetic. “It’s all about embracing one’s flaws and looking towards nature in its raw and wild forms," says Eishita Puri, founder of Mumbai-based jewellery label Eurumme.

In the past, Puri has worked with precious metals such as gold, even using it to plate upcycled cardboard. However, for her Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, Terra, she has worked with semi-precious stones. The stones have been carved roughly to resemble natural elements such as water and soil. “Clear-cut and polished jewellery has been popular for some time, but such textured ones make for a good, refreshing change, especially among younger consumers. They add an effortless sense of drama," says Puri.

Such jewellery isn’t as much of a new trend as it is a re-emergence. One of the first few brands to introduce it was Delhi-based Zariin. Founded in 2010 by sisters Mamta and Vidhi Gupta, the brand has been crafting jewellery with semi-precious stones, especially in ways that “work around the stones’ basic texture", says Mamta. “Around the time when we founded the brand, jewellery was usually associated with a form of femininity that was polished and pretty—which had been passed down from generation to generation. While that was an initial challenge for the product and its aesthetic, it has gradually changed now, where young consumers—between their 20s and 40s—don’t want their gemstones to be symmetric. They like these imperfections," says Mamta. Moreover, such jewellery can be worn every day and is versatile.

Isharya ‘Fool’s Gold’ collection
Isharya ‘Fool’s Gold’ collection

The grainy-textured stones are also appreciated for the rich and vivid colours that are uncommon in their finer and flawless counterparts, such as diamonds. They range from being uniformly shaded to having layers of ombre hues: citrines and topaz in yellows, amethysts in violets and pale green, pyrites in a sheen of gold, labradorite in a metallic bluish-green. Mumbai-based brand Isharya has been using stones such as agates, amazonite and lazuli in its collections. Isharya’s marketing manager, Nisha Khiani, says: “The varied colours are what makes them so striking, especially the way they shine in natural light. While the trend of matching one’s clothes to accessories used to be huge in India, millennial consumers don’t think like that any more. They want to break out of the mould and experiment with different colours and textures."

All the three brands source their gemstones from Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Khiani says if you want these stones to retain their sparkle, you should treat them like you would your other jewellery: Do not spray perfume, deodorant or hairspray when wearing them.

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