Tiffany & Co debuts in India with a Delhi outpost. Will it impact the American jewellery brand’s exclusivity or increase its fan base?
Luxury gifting would have never gained the momentum it has without a very important invention — the calendar. Because a gift is an expression of a sentiment, it can be expressed anytime. But throwing a calendar into the mix roils things up, making the desire even more heightened as said date approaches.
What makes this game even more exciting is that in most couples (or thruples), there is one who never forgets dates and the other who can’t ever remember them. That is when you say, “Thank God for Tiffany & Co.”
Does distance matter?
Gifting, I tell you, is one of the most dangerous of mating dances of the human species; there is so much that can go wrong. From the ‘wrong size or colour’ type of errors to the more grievous faux pas — like the time I was gifted a comb for my follicle-y-challenged pate — the odds are not in the favour of the gift-er.
Think of Tiffany then as a luxury concierge service which is set up somewhere at the crossroads of this conundrum. Why? Because (a) you can never go wrong with a brand that commands such retro-chic cred, (b) the goods are expensive, and (c) come with a week’s notice in case of exchanges. Reliance Brands Ltd certainly knows a thing or two about wise investments — it already has partnerships with names such as Brooks Brothers and Ermenegildo Zegna, and is planning to bring down Balenciaga next — and getting this brand to India will only add more brilliance, pun intended.
But will yet another luxury gifting possibility be enough for the kitty parties of Delhi? Or will the ‘covet value’ of the brand stand to fall now, considering how the ribbon-wrapped blue box can be purchased locally, without wasting unnecessary carbon miles to show just how precious it was to them? Is a Tiffany bought locally as special as one bought on Old Bond Street? We promise our sweethearts the moon, so surely distance has a role to play in the magnitude of the gift. Only time will tell, but at least for now, special occasions just got a bit dearer for the average suitor.
Singular and solitaire
I recently sauntered into their swanky new outpost in that Delhi pin code where, if the IT department set up shop, the targets would be sitting ducks. The store looked like any other Tiffany store in the world; plug and play luxury if that can exist. The iconic robin egg blue, along with lashings of silver, dominate the 2,600 sq ft space, with walls sporting eye-catching monochrome photos of the New York skyline. It was so neatly nestled at The Chanakya mall, sat amidst other brands of similar stature, one could just imagine them as the popular kids at school group. Being bought out by LVMH hasn’t changed anything about its ethos or visual language (not so far, at least, and I hope it stays that way).
The staff was scant but observant, discreet yet affably charming, but, most importantly, while they did have a touch of that Tiffany snoot, it still came with a grounded cognisance of the cost-conscious Indian buyer. If it was just about buying silver or platinum, I am sure the family jewellers do a nifty job of it. But here, where a brand is commanding eye-watering figures for the labour and design as much as for the raw material, the sales folk need to be niftier to go about their pitch.
Mind you, I don’t think anyone in any Tiffany store has ever had to sell a Tiffany solitaire; they just sell themselves. The brand has possibly had a hand in setting up more couples than St Valentine did. Those rings sit there on their pretty pedestals, high and solitary, in their nearly invisible abode, not lonely, just more in a class of their own. Sure, your local jeweller can do a similar setting, but that’s like arguing that even a Tata nano can have climate control.
In the end, after having browsed through bracelets, necklaces, rings, cuff links and other accoutrements — a mix of new designs and classics, from collections including Tiffany T, Atlas and Key — I, too, walked out with a tiny box, something that neither the lady would have refused nor my credit card would have declined.
Some of the jewellery starts around ₹10,000, but you will need good eyesight to find it if it were to fall to the floor. Speaking of which, the store is on the ground floor of The Chanakya and will be much easier to find.