NEW DELHI — More than seven years after quickly entering India on its own in 2014 when single-brand retail was first allowed, Bulgari has taken another major step with the introduction of a mangalsutra specifically for the local market.
The choice of a mangalsutra taps into a deep-rooted tradition in the country as well as one of its fastest-growing sectors: the $50 billion wedding market.
Considered a sacred neck piece worn by a bride, and worn for the rest of her married years, the mangalsutra has emotional and symbolic significance for Indian women.
The launch coincides closely with the choice last month of Priyanka Chopra Jonas as a brand ambassador; she wove together the mangalsutra introduction and the idea of modernity at a digital media launch on Thursday.
“As modern women today, we are a contradiction of how we’ve been raised versus how we want to be,” she said, referring to her own fight as a feminist, and to be the best version of herself, which required an amalgamation of traditions. “I would rather take that power back — instead of saying that smashing patriarchy requires me to get rid of everything that I have been raised with. I would rather be like it is my choice, and I would like to buy my beautiful mangalsutra with the money I make, and that’s me smashing the patriarchy.”
Mauro Di Roberto, managing director of the jewelry business Unit at Bulgari, endorsed the point.
“My feeling is that it represents the modernity, and the woman who has the ambition of being contemporary,” he said, adding that the idea that the jewel was not necessarily a gift but could be chosen by the woman, together with a partner or even purchased by the woman herself was part of its modernity.
“If we analyze the jewel, the inspiration comes from the ancient Roman coins and you will see it in the five discs of the Bulgari logo inspired by the ancient coin. Along with that signature of the brand, what is important is the black beads that connect Bulgari with the Indian tradition and the Indian culture. Our bond with India has been extremely strong for many reasons,” he said, pointing out that the brand has sourced precious stones from India for more than 40 years.
“It is such a contemporary cool piece that you can wear it with Indian clothes, and you can wear it with western clothes. You can make it your own or dress it up with other pieces and hold on to your traditions,” Chopra Jonas noted of the piece, which is made of 18-karat yellow gold adorned with round black onyx and diamonds and priced at 349,000 rupees, or $4,780, retailing only in India.