A new lab-grown diamond jewelry brand, Indira, launched Thursday with a focus on accessibly priced silver and vermeil-plated styles designed for daily wear.
The direct-to-consumer brand was cofounded by company CEO Mohit Mehta, who has family roots in Mumbai’s diamond trade, and jewelry designer Carolina Cordón-Bouzán, founder of demi-fine jewelry brand Montserrat.
Mehta, who’s based in New York City, says he began formulating Indira’s business model of producing low-priced, demi-fine diamond jewelry while helping other brand founders clarify their ethos and mission.
“Last year I was working with other brands, and I started to identify this space and opportunity,” he says. “I was talking a lot about natural-mined diamonds compared to lab-grown diamonds, and about how lab-grown diamonds could become [a product] of a more sustainable process, and sell for a cheaper price point…. I started thinking about how to do this with a company.”
Indira isn’t yet a zero-carbon company, but Mehta says crossing that threshold for sustainability is a main goal moving forward: “The potential of introducing renewable energy into the process in the future…we can offset the carbon.”
More immediate for the cofounder was the realization that most lab-grown diamond jewelry companies are focusing on big-wow center stones. He saw the opportunity to flip that model, and focus on pavé and small stones—and silver instead of 14k gold—to keep prices low.
Mehta, who began his career on the natural diamond side of the business, says there’s work to be done in educating consumers about lab-grown diamonds. He asserts that the proliferation of lab-grown diamonds “has posed an existential threat to the natural diamond industry.”
He credits Lightbox, diamond miner De Beers’ lab-grown diamond jewelry line, with “helping to normalize the product,” and says he’s glad that the initial negativity in the industry toward lab-grown diamond producers has subsided to a large degree. He notes, “I don’t see lab-grown or mined being an absolute. Both live on.”
Focusing on low-key, wearable diamond jewelry, Indira mines similar style territory as direct-to-consumer brands Aurate and Vrai. But because jewels are demi-fine, prices are rock bottom. A single-diamond vermeil-plated necklace sells for $300, and a pair of chain-drop diamond earrings goes for $300.
Still, Mehta says the brand is focused on creating heirloom-quality jewelry: “The idea of jewelry being passed on from generation to generation—it’s not just an Indian thing. We see it across cultures. One of the things we want to do is use that idea of [inheriting jewelry] into the designs we create. So we’re looking at styles that cycle through jewelry design again and again.”
Cordón-Bouzán has been with the company only four and a half months, but Mehta says they work well together—with Mehta bringing data-backed findings about the market to the designer to interpret.
The company is currently working on a collection that “takes some inspiration from Indian jewelry and simplifies it to bring back [aesthetically] to U.S. culture,” Mehta says.
Top: Models in Indira’s first campaign (all photos courtesy of Indira)
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