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26.03.2018

At first glint, Azotiique isn’t unlike a Sia-type jewellery store in Santacruz Market: a jumble of gems, gaudy in an eyeful and lacking proper organisation.

That is, until you’re in the capable hands of owner Varun Raheja. His eyes, blue as lapis lazulis, twinkle at the thought of showing you a hairpin built like a Moulin Rouge dancer or a classic strand of pearls that she might wear after her stage show. Azotiique, a small little store, new in Khar, shelters several jewellery designers that do and don’t have stores of their own.

Your walk through will begin with Isharya’s Bombay Art Deco inspired rings and reflective mirror necklaces that hover and shine above an army of Valliyan’s shoulder duster earrings, all standing at attention as Varun does the rounds. They’re made up of silk tassels and available in an array of primary colours. Chunkier choices can be found in Valliyan’s blooming orchid earrings or on the next shelf where Delhi-based Outhouse does a feather and pearl brooch that clearly missed a Downton Abbey casting call; and gets Papilio motifs to flutter on metal collars that look like armour. No need for a battle cry yet. Save it for when you enter the lurid bridal section.

Cuff Call

But not yet, because you’re still peering at dainty jewellery designer x Swarovski collaborations in blue velvet trays, like Maithali Kabre’s pixel tops, elegant champagne rose danglers and vintage baroque studs. Meanwhile, another M, Miss Mrinalini Chandra, does bigger design things that aren’t our style - you’ll know when you see gold necklaces with chairs hanging off them, and others hung with ghosts. Boo!

Further along, a small, stray edit of Eina Ahluwalia and Suhani Pittie’s jewellery don’t do justice to what the designers are otherwise capable of; shop their online stores for better options. JJ Vallaya’s Assamese style gold earrings and necklaces, Varun points out, are good to carry to destination weddings. He’s full of such tips and tricks, and two minutes into your browse, he’ll know your aesthetic.

La Vie En Rouge

You’ve been walking straight so far, and then the store turns to the left and for the worse. Here in the “bridal section”, labels like Purab Paschim do too much. But Varun is quick to pick up on our fear of being blinded and guides us immediately to a corner by the door, where we make our favourite discovery for the day: Nine Vice. Led by NIFT graduate Anvita, the label crafts vintage-style jewellery that can be best described as cool-ugly. These are inspired by Lady Rouge, and details like “the swish of her skirt, her graceful kick in the air, and the glamour of her headdress” can be seen in the Cancan bun pin, brooch and bracelet. She also does smaller, simpler crystal hair clips that we can’t wait to debut this weekend.

“I knew you’d like these,” Varun says, those lapis lazulis smiling down at us again. How much to set those in a pair of tops, please?

Getting there: Shop no. 1, Lotia Palace, plot no.373, opp.Louis Philippe, Linking Road, Khar (W), jewellery ranges from Rs 1,500 to Rs 20,000.

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