Handing heirlooms down from mother to daughter is not an uncommon practice in India. But even if your grandmother didn't have an enviable collection of baubles, you can now score some haute vintage jewellery with this new enterprise. Viange, a concept started by Mehek Agarwal, offers those who missed out on the golden years of Chanel and Dior costume jewellery- making, a chance to catch up.
"My sister and I stumbled upon the idea in London, where we met a dealer who specialises in the sale of vintage designer ornaments from the ’40s to the ’90s," says Mehek. She sources her pieces from all over Europe, the UK and US, along with a wide network of dealers. “We know the pieces are authentic because they are all signed by the brands, and many of them are even dated,” Mehek insists, though she admits that they don’t have any other proof of authenticity.
Ask if the pieces needed restoration, and she explains, "Designer costume jewellery became popular in the ’30s, when gold became expensive. So all these brands started making gold-plated pieces that looked almost identical to the real deal. And they've lasted. I don’t even need to polish the pieces."
Counting Dior, Chanel and Givenchy as her most popular picks, Mehek also stocks items from Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Swarovski, starting at Rs 4,000 onwards.
She reveals, "Chanel ornaments are the hardest to find, so they're most expensive. And people dont mind buying these previously owned pieces because they know they're all one-of-a-kind, and not available in stores."