Biggest presents in the smallest packages

Updated: Dec 22, 2019, 09:02 IST | Shweta Shiware | Mumbai

Want to gift jewellery this Christmas? Don't buy anything until you read this

Outhouse's Amber Noir Choker
Outhouse's Amber Noir Choker

"Don't gift cheap jewellery," would be the best advice that Eina Ahluwalia can share, as we begin discussion on the rules of gifting trinkets this Christmas. "Everyone has so much of everything, so why not gift them something custom-made?"

Before you think up a piece of jewellery for your partner, spouse, close family, friend, a favourite colleague or the boss, check it twice alongside a reasonable budget. "It's important to factor in affordability, and the meaning behind a particular piece," suggests Kaabia Grewal of Outhouse, a label she co-founded with sister Sasha.

Eina's cufflinks and wreath of honour necklace
Eina's cufflinks and wreath of honour necklace

Ahluwalia takes personalised rather seriously, and is invested in custom-made trinkets—name necklaces, charm bracelets and monogram cufflinks. She offers these in sterling silver, gold-plated silver, rose gold-plated silver and pure gold, and makes them available via her e-shop.

The initials of children monogrammed on their father's cuff links are thoughtfully chic as they are sentimental, and so is the wreath of honour necklace for your mother. And how about the word BAE or BFF engraved in a pendant for your best friend, rather than the heart that dangled around the necks of '90s kids?

Eina's cufflinks and wreath of honour necklace

If you veer towards cheeky nostalgia or a slice of sunshine, you are in for a treat. Siolim's resident fashion designer, Saviojon Fernandes, has launched limited-edition neck-pieces for the festive season. "I source everything myself, and I'm inclined towards buying pieces that sing to me," he says. His DIY-focused, bespoke necklets use traditional silversmith techniques, and come with chain lengths you can alter.

Visually defined by curious antique materials like old coins, cawri shells, glass beads and Wedgewood medallions picked up from the snaky lanes of Chor Bazaar and Portobello Market in London, Fernandes weaves these one-of-a-kind finds into wonderfully imperfect baubles.

Eina's cufflinks and wreath of honour necklace

"Baubles make the best gifts. I found a bunch of Wedgewood plates during my recent visit to Portobello Market, and I turned turn them into neck-pieces, ever so lightly reminiscent of the time-worn Goan-Portuguese cameo neckpieces, using Jasper beads and pearls," he says about the fusion jewellery that's up for taking at Sacha's Shop in Panjim.

When in doubt, avoid earrings and rings
From drops to studs, hoops and statement earrings, a variety of styles are available. "I believe earrings are personal, and if you do plan to gift them, make sure you know the receiver's personality and preference," warns Grewal.

Saviojon's old coins and beads necklace
Saviojon's old coins and beads necklace

The sight of a ring box comes with the promise of sweet wedding bells, and so dear gents and ladies, if you're buying for your girlfriend without intending to propose, think again. Rings are also commonly considered the trickiest pieces to gift. "Sizing is an issue. Adjustable options are not always the best for rings, but work well for bangles," says Ahluwalia.

Granny-chic comes and goes, pearls are forever
Grewal recommends teardrop pearl earrings for your mother, sister-in-law, or best friend. "When you're stuck between options of too big or too partyish, choose classic pearls studded in necklets, chokers, a brooch, earrings or hand-cuff bracelets in theatrical Art Deco or geometric shapes." Her label offers pearls in all sizes, shapes, colours, accessible to browse or buy through their website.

Saviojon's old coins and beads necklace

Think everyday essentials over occasion wear, advises Ahluwalia. "I feel, generally, our choice of jewellery is moving towards minimalism, and away from statement pieces. Basic daywear jewellery like small stud earrings with baroque pearl drops, or a simple chain strung in pearls has almost become a totem for the woman who works."

Kaabia and Sasha Grewal
Kaabia and Sasha Grewal

Next up, type of metal
The most popular metal is yellow gold, silver and rose gold. "Tints of gold compliment the Indian skin," says Ahluwalia.

Saviojon Fernandes
Saviojon Fernandes

If real gold is out of reach, metallic jewellery is also desirable and in trend, adds Grewal. "Chokers, pendants or earrings in metallic shades look stunning with a white tee and jeans."

Eina Ahluwalia
Eina Ahluwalia

All I want for Christmas is...

Designers are crossing their fingers and toes, with a personal wish list

Kunal Rawal

Kunal Rawal
I prefer stuff that gets me in the festive mood. It's one time of the year when I crave hampers. Bring it on with cookies and ice-cream hampers. Great, if they are healthy, but better if they are not. I'm quite materialistic. I love fashion gifts, but I'm not snooty about brands. Anything vintage works. Sunglasses, watches, sneakers are preferred. Because Mumbai doesn't offer me a chilly Christmas, I will crank up the AC, enjoy an eggnog, and get started on my new PlayStation 4.

Anjali Patel Mehta

Anjali Patel Mehta
I've bought a couple of sarees from Péro [by Aneeth Arora], and handmade shoes from Amethyst in Chennai. I had undergone surgery a couple of months ago, so personally, I wish for my good health. It will be great if I stayed out of hospitals for a while. That experience taught me to be content, so I'd like to do focused, less-is-more work mantra. But then again, a brand new set of golf clubs is always welcome.

Payal Singhal

Payal Singhal
I left New York nine years ago, but I have been obsessing over a white Christmas. I've been craving more space, and a
reason to do up a new place, so my fancy wish list features acquiring a new apartment in Mumbai. On a spiritual and personal level, I wish to work smarter, not harder, in the coming year.

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