Precious Silver ~ Dhanya Balasubramanian

My earliest memory of silver is from tagging along with my mom and aunts to a family jeweler in Madras. They would shop in the gold section and almost always go downstairs to the basement to get some silver. It was a spiral staircase that went down to the semi-basement level and the ride was such a joy. It felt like a treasure hunt to go there and stand amongst all the beaming white light reflecting off all the newly minted and polished silverware.

Whenever mom bought silver, it would come wrapped in this cute pink paper and that added to the mystery of the metal. It was more delicate and needed to be stored well, needing much more care than gold. Mom would’ve neatly wrapped all her silver in those pink sheets and something about the act of unwrapping added to the mystery of the metal.

One of the seven metals of antiquity which were used in pre-historic times, Silver was used in making coins, jewelry and cutlery for a long time due to its strength being comparable to gold and copper. All you have to do is get down the silver antiques rabbit hole on the innerwebs to learn about the prominence of this metal in history. Royalty embraced silver for all sorts of needs. When you rampage old mansions, like I do, whichever part of the world I am visiting, silver is the most common metal that you’d find. Its prevalence was always high and to this day it reigns as an item worthy of possession.

An antique diamond necklace set in silver, with 18K gold plating

Queen Victoria is said to have commissioned her jeweler to curate some exceptional fine silver jewelry set with precious stones. There are many examples of royalty treating silver as the go to metal to secure their precious diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. It wasn’t until early 1900s that platinum started taking the place of silver as the white metal to embed these precious stones since the experts found a way to melt platinum and iridium together.

Even after platinum took over some of silver’s glamour, it continued to reign as a metal supreme for many cultures and societies. Silver is a mark of understated glamour, of earth’s purity, and of a raw elegance coming from none other. Its health benefits and ease of reacting to toxins in the environment have given it a critical place in the history of jewelry. Historically, across cultures Indians have worn silver as arm amulets, anklets and toe-rings to compliment the other precious jewelry. Cultures with tribal roots have embraced a more extensive use of silver as the main metal for all their jewelry.

As an extension of this thorough history in today’s context, I often see strong women sporting silver. Call me a dreamer, but it often seems to mark her independence and strength in taste. Show me a woman in silver and I can show you a woman who created her freedom to make her own choices. It must have something to do with the royal and tribal connections of the metal, where poor gold is oft too mainstream.

Silver is largely a practical choice too. The earth possesses 17.5 parts of silver for every part of gold. The price of gold today as I write, is 100 times that of silver. As investment into my jewelry, I often look to gathering uniqueness in curation from silver. Its elegance is unmatched when compared to the other options in the market while pandering to my needs to have something raw and precious. As a strong proponent of buying and using materials from the earth and already on this earth – I can’t think of a more versatile option for jewelry curation.

Probably an 18th century Indian girl decked out in jewelry – notice the mathapati, saatlada; arm amulets and anklets, such glory such richness; Source unknown via Pinterest

And Silver is increasingly available in both traditional & relevant designs today. Leading jewelry brands are embracing the metal and creating a unique market. Gone are the Victorian times when silver always tarnished within hours of exposure to the air. Today’s technology has enabled leading brands to create highly minute and intricate designs. Being more affordable as a base metal, brands are using silver to embed precious stones and make cutting edge jewelry. Somewhat of a throwback to the Victorian ages, eh? Somehow only more elegant, more versatile and more unique.

Knowing the needs of the young independent working woman, brands have also started creating gold plated silver jewelry that looks absolutely stunning. Generally, I like to keep my metals separate. I enjoy silver in its birth color, and I enjoy gold in its birth color. And yet, this rather new combination of gold-plated silver jewelry has me coming back for more all the time.

Vintage Gujarati Todo Hollow Anklet; Source Maria Dolores Fernandez via Pinterest

One such brands that I found and interacted with is Aniha. Built by fourth-generation jewelers in South India, the brand carries the heritage of DM Thangamaligai, in business since 1955. Experts in the art of jewelry making with mastery in gold, silver, and diamond jewellery, today, the family is venturing to curate an extensive collection of silver for today’s woman. Channeling their expertise in metallurgy and combining it with the most modern techniques in jewelry making, the brand is launching a line of exclusive silver and gold-plated silver jewelry under the name Aniha. I learnt about the context of this market and why this jewelry is potentially worth our time & resources. With the Aniha team, I sampled some of their best pieces and I must say I am mighty impressed by the thought that goes into the quality of their community & make.

Today Aniha has mastered the technology of preventing tarnish through the gold-plated layer – to the untrained eye this jewelry might as well be gold. They are able to give a guaranteed return value on this jewelry deeming it an investment worth making in order to acquire some precious jewelry. The affordability gives the customer a chance to own a wide range of jewelry as opposed to traditional gold, all while remaining pure and sustainable.

This new option is exciting, affordable and logical. No, I don’t mean to say that you will stop buying gold now that this option exists. I mean to say that you will be able to compliment your treasure chest with a wide variety of precious sustainable options compared to going with fake, plastic products that are poorly made. A sign of the modern young woman is not only her independence but also her ability to care. For those around her and for her environment. In that choice, she transforms into a silver wearing woman; the one who marches forth, unafraid.

Precious Silver from Aniha by Divasmantra
Precious Silver from Aniha by Divasmantra

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dhanya Balasubramanian is a strategic marketing head with 7+ years of international experience in the cross-section of commercial retail success and digital brand marketing in the fashion and food industry. She has seen traditional companies thru e-commerce revolution in Asia & US.

Her area of expertise  has much to do with  – Fashion Retail, Consumer Goods, Digital marketing, Omni-channel, Store operations, Product strategy, CRM, Loyalty etc. She is the founder of Papreeka Tales – a heartfelt curation of conscious fashion brands. You can find more about Dhanya and her work here – https://www.instagram.com/pap.reeka/

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