Diamonds can be a girl’s best friend, but what if you don’t want to splash around? More and more women are choosing to go the demi-fine route, buying pieces that bridge the gap between cheap costume jewelry and expensive fancy adornments.

After all, what’s good enough for Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex who once had access to the British Crown Jewels, is more than enough for the rest of us!

Walk in Punesemi-fine jewelry startup Palmonas, which offers a range of contemporary options for everyday wear and occasions. Crafted with a solid sterling silver or stainless steel core and a thick layer of 18k gold vermeil, the jewelry promises the “perfect blend of design, quality and luxury”.

The brand offers a range of jewelry options including necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and mangalsutras which are priced between Rs 800 and Rs 5,500 and sold with a one-year warranty .

Begin

The idea for the half-jewelry startup was born over a coffee.

Dr. Amol Patwari, an orthopedic surgeon, was chatting with his wife, Pallavi Mohadikar Patwari, after the operation and talking about the implants and surgical instruments he has been using regularly in the operating theater since 2012.

“I happened to tell him that they’ve been in ship shape for the last decade. And she said, ‘Wow! can’t we make jewelry out of this material? And that’s how Palmonas was born,” Amol tells YourStory.

The name Palmonas is an alphabet combination of the names of Amol, Pallavi and Anaya (the founder, his wife and their daughter).

Starting with an initial investment of half a million dollars, Palmonas made its first batch of 30 models and launched them on its D2C website on March 8, 2022. They were “all sold out within 48 hours”.

“That’s when we ramped up production. We are now growing by 150% month on month and aim to end the year with revenue of Rs 30 crore,” says Amol.

Palmonas currently has 500 SKUs on their website and releases up to 150 SKUs every month. The average order value is Rs 2,500 and the majority of its customers come from metropolitan cities.

“Our latest launches – gold-plated mangalsutras and rakhis – have been highly praised by customers, influencers and celebrities,” says Amol.

Items are manufactured in a factory in Jaipur. The startup has a team of 21 people and works with 27 karigars to create designs in stainless steel, sterling silver and gold vermeil.

The startup has an offline store in Koregaon Park in Pune and plans to open 20 franchise stores this fiscal year.

Amol and Pallavi previously launched online saree brand Karagiri, which was acquired by unicorn brand aggregator Mensa Brands in August 2021. After sarees, they decided to move on to another wardrobe staple. : jewelry.

USP

Amol says the USP of the D2C brand is semi-fine jewelry.

Demi-fine – a category first popularized by luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter – is the term used to describe jewelry made using precious metals and techniques such as vermeil plating (a thick gold plating on a solid base). It differs from fast fashion costume jewelry, which is made with an unspecified mixture of metals, plated with a thin layer of gold or silver, and is prone to discoloration.

“Palmonas sits between pure gold jewelry, which is expensive, and imitation jewelry, which tarnishes after a few uses,” explains the founder. “The designs are international and the prices are affordable. We want our customers to wear our jewelry every day.

Palmonas built the brand aesthetic with global tastes and choices in mind. It launched its international operations last week and has shipped 200 orders to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

“Top quality, international minimalist designs and prompt service are the three pillars of our brand,” says Amol.

The competition and the way forward

According to a market study by Fortune Business Insights, the global jewelry market size is expected to grow tremendously to reach $266.53 billion, growing at a CAGR of 3.7% between 2020 and 2027.

And while the jewelry market is down 18% from 2019-20, Euromonitor says global demi-fine brands like Missoma, Catbird, Monica Vinader and Maria Black saw double-digit growth.

Amol says its main competitors are fine jewelry players like Caratlane, Shaya and Bluestone, and sterling silver jewelry brands like Giva. “Our point of differentiation is that we use a variety of base metals, without limiting the scope of jewelry. In addition, our jewelry comes with a one-year warranty.

On Independence Day, Palmonas launched an 18k gold plated Indian flag pin and “got a great response”. “Even the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, wears our pin,” says Amol.

Amol believes that the demi-fine jewelry category is still in its infancy in India and has huge potential. Palmonas, which claims first-mover advantage, was shipping 10,000 orders per month within five months of its launch.

“We have shipped about 32,000 orders so far,” says Amol. He adds that the return rate for Palmonas jewelry is less than 1% and the repurchase rate is 40%.

Amol says following trends is a big challenge. “You have to be vigilant and think ahead to launch the right product at the right time,” he says.

Palmonas’ next growth plan is “aggressive international expansion.” “We launched a dedicated international store to create a personalized experience for our global customer base,” says Amol.

“Pallavi accompanies us on this journey. We have no planned exit strategy for Palmonas but we want to build a Rs 1,000 crore brand within the next three years,” he adds.