After announcing Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas as their new brand ambassador, Bvlgari has now launched a mangalsutra to make inroads into the lucrative Indian market. Here are our thoughts on this polemical topic
By: Niyoshi Shah
Posted on: September 2, 2021
Not since the 1970s has feminism been so mainstream, nor so fashionable. High jewellery brand Bvlgari commemorates their egalitarian philosophy by launching their first ever India inspired and exclusive jewellery statement piece with their global brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas – the ‘Bulgari Bulgari Mangalsutra’. This undramatized and chic neckpiece is designed to reflect the modern Indian woman’s taste and lifestyle.
Set in 18ct yellow gold, and adorned with round black onyx inserts and pave diamonds, the Bulgari Bulgari Mangalsutra reinterprets a traditional and sacred ornament to a contemporary and stylish jewel. This simple neckpiece, which is traditionally worn by married woman as a mark of their marital status, is deep rooted in culture. Bvlgari’s version, as per the brand, represents the cosmopolitan aspirations of a modern bride, while ensuring that the symbolism stays intact. For example, the auspicious black beads said to ward off evil have been included in the necklace. With its design philosophy inspired from ancient Roman coins, the neckpiece solidifies the design house’s relationship with India, a country where most of their gemstones originate.
"The [Bulgari] Mangalsutra signifies the contradiction in the world, how woman are raised and how they want to live. It can be worn with a T-shirt, jeans, dress or a saree."
Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Mauro Di Roberto, Managing Director - Jewelry Business Unit at Bvlgari, said, “Since we re-entered into India in 2014, we have been even more intrigued by the cultural traditions of India and the inherent role of jewelry. It took us several years to design our interpretation of the Mangalsutra for the modern Indian woman, for whom this piece is often one of the most important pieces of jewelry she wears. While working hard to maintain its traditional appeal, we have worked closely with our team in India and Priyanka Chopra Jonas to ensure that it resonates with the lifestyles of the modern bride today- that she can wear from morning to night, every day and everywhere, pairing it with ease with Indian as well as western wear.”
Cultivating desirability at opposite ends of the price spectrum is a strategy adapted by many of today's most successful jewellery brands. But Bulgari has cleverly done so by honouring tradition and creating a mangalsutra that celebrates independence, power and unconventionality. “A beautiful contradiction” is what Mrs. Jonas calls it.
“The [Bulgari] Mangalsutra signifies the contradiction in the world, how woman are raised and how they want to live. It can be worn with a T-shirt, jeans, dress or a saree. A signifier of her independence, it is essentially a jewellery piece that is chosen by the woman and not gifted to her,” explains the Indian actress.
The traditional Indian mangalsutra, indeed, is usually difficult to pair with gowns, dresses or jeans. The mangalsutra’s significance has also transformed over the many eras. From an obligatory accessory worn by Indian women, to a stifling symbol shunned by advocates of women empowerment, today the mangalsutra has become more of a fashionable item.
A little more intricacy in design, characteristic of the high jewellery brand, would have been welcome. Even then, this mangalsutra does pave the way for more modern interpretations of the conventionally designed necklace.
Fashion has historically been used as a vehicle for soft power, cultural advocacy and communication of identity. Bulgari’s muses — audacious and fearless women – mirror the designs of the brand. As the definition of feminism develops to include the concept of ‘choice’, the Bulgari Mangalsutra breaks new grounds in terms of versatility and transformability, designed to be worn in a variety of different ways. A little more intricacy in design, characteristic of the high jewellery brand, would have been welcome. Even then, this mangalsutra does pave the way for more modern interpretations of the conventionally designed necklace.
The India exclusive Mangalsutra will be available at Bulgari’s New Delhi boutique and on Bulgari.com.