Necessity is the mother of invention. And sheer desperation, the big daddy of innovation. In these days of selfies and groupies, high fashion and being seen at the right places, it is mandatory that women, and men too, wear the trendiest jewellery for social gatherings. But with the yellow metal touching Rs 25,050 for 10 grams, even a simple one-piece jewellery can touch a good Rs 1 lakh. Add to it the danger of burglary and chain snatching, and the very idea of splurging on gold is no more attractive. But then, keeping this in mind, a few innovative firms have connected the dots to make sure women can wear attractive jewellery for weddings, social gatherings etc and at the same time, not have to shell out lakhs to flaunt that one piece of jewellery. They have introduced ‘rental jewellery’ concept to Indian women.
Jewellery designer and stylist Taruna Biyani’s online business rentjewels.com allows one to rent replica jewellery in contemporary designs. Biyani feels that this concept allows users to flaunt jewellery without having to purchase the piece. One needs to register (free), check out the designs on the brides and models, read up the details and supply an address where the jewellery needs to be delivered. One can pay through credit or debit card, or opt for cash on delivery. Rentjewels.com offer free home delivery and return services across 84 cities in India. After the registration, one is taken to tarunabiyani.com where the order is processed. The FAQs answer most of the doubts raised by the customers. However, in this case, the jewellery that you receive is a replica, and not real jewellery.
Eves24 is another portal which enables users to rent jewellery, but on a slightly different mode. Here, one must take membership (currently four levels: Rs 1 lakh, Rs 2 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh) which covers the safety deposit of the jewellery piece. Depending on the level of membership, one can order a piece of jewellery, use it and return it.
The portal works on the concept that expensive jewellery is worn occasionally, sometimes just once every two years. It is often parked in lockers most of the time, earning negligible returns but limiting one’s choices to wear new designs.
Eves24 Jewel Library services enables a smarter investment. One can save on money and earn a better return on the said amount, while getting an opportunity to wear a different jewellery design at each occasion.
Eves24’s helpline revealed that membership levels represents the transaction limit. “It is the maximum amount of jewellery that you would take from our jewel library or the total amount of outstanding EMIs that you would avail, at a particular point in time, during the annual membership period. This is similar to a credit card limit,” said the Eves24 executive explaining how the library works. Eves24 offers authentic jewellery to customers, and hence the need for a security deposit from them.
Ranjeeta Kulkarni, an export-import executive with Jewels for You, a firm in Mumbai, says that her work involves attending parties and showcasing new jewels to people. “I attend at least three parties related to work every week. It would be tough for me to sport 12 or 14 pieces a month. That’s when I found these portals. They are easy to use and hassle free. I think this service serves well for socialites, models and upcoming stars who need to look fabulous, but still cannot afford to spend so much on jewellery.”
Prajwala Rao, who undertakes public relations for the Telugu film industry, said that her works involves introducing newcomers to producers and she asks her clients to use jewellery rental services for parties, award functions, audio launches, etc. “When a new movie releases, there are a host of programmes planned and the press is invited. So I ask the stars to use these services to dress up well as they will be seen in photographs and videos in the media as part of the promotions. Also, with the fashion police pointing out how XYZ star has worn the same jewellery and outfit for so many occasions, it makes sense to rent it for a few hours, return and be done with it. I wish we also had an outfit rental service too,” she quips.
However, there are purists who scoff at the idea of rental jewellery. Says Niranjan Rao, a personal financial consultant with Let Money Grow, a firm in Bengaluru, “Gold jewellery is a sound investment. Regardless of how the economy is faring, gold always is a fetching investment. During weddings, we give gold as even after 25 years, it will give them [the couple] instant cash when sold. To encourage buying of gold, our elders also started the concept of encouraging women to social gatherings as that was a good way of creating one’s economic identity. So the attempt should be to save and invest in gold and as an extension, wear it for parties. Doing away with the idea of gold and only flaunting jewellery for the sake of fashion is not a smart one.”
Is it a good time to start accumulating gold at current price? Rakesh Shinde, AVP, Institutional Research, Bonanza Portfolio, a stock broking firm, says “I don’t expect gold to start performing in the coming year. Worldwide developed economies are now stabilized and some economies like the US have started growing at a decent pace. So, according to me, equities will remain in flavour in the years to come. Overall, commodities are down and trapped in over supply with limited demand, I think it will take time [for gold] to come back on track.”
Madhavi Siddamshetty, a Hyderabad-based financial consultant, gold lover and a socialite, seems to have some good advice covering all the doubts about this concept. “As a financial consultant, I would suggest that every person should own gold worth Rs 3 to 5 lakh for all practical purposes. One can raise money instantly by pledging it in a gold shop or in a bank. It is prudent to have some amount of gold. However, investing all your money in gold, especially wearable kind (jewellery), is a bad idea. On the contrary, buying solid gold like biscuits is a better idea. Regarding rental jewellery, it is not a good idea if you there is a big day in your life and you neither want to miss out on wearing something unique at the same time not make a hole in your pocket.” She thinks that rental jewellery will certainly catch up. Technology – online payments, sharing of photographs and designs through emails and What’sApp etc ensures quick and fast service.
Conclusion: The verdict is that renting your jewellery is a good idea provided you use these services (after duly checking their credentials, especially if you are pledging over Rs 1 lakh for membership) sparingly, while continuing to make invests in gold. That way, you can save up and attend the parties looking fabulous too.