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In Traditional Indian Wedding, the Bride, a Maryland Jeweler, Shines Spotlight on Jewels

Jain Jewelry Network works with suppliers to find perfect jewels for each outfit.

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In Traditional Indian Wedding, the Bride, a Maryland Jeweler, Shines Spotlight on Jewels
Anu Jain and Pratik Patel blended Indian and American traditions when it came to symbolic jewelry worn during their wedding and afterward.

IT’S EASY FOR the colorful outfits to steal the show at an Indian wedding, but jewelry should make just as emphatic a statement on the big day, says Anu Jain, a second-generation jeweler, who wed Pratik Patel in September in a Hindu ceremony at a mountain resort in Chittenden, VT.

Jain Jewelry Network, which has retail locations in Lanham, MD and Clinton, MD, sponsored the jewelry for the couple. Jain, CEO of the family company, worked with her supplier network to find the perfect jewelry ensemble for each of the outfits she wore to six separate wedding events.

While jewelry is important in any wedding, there are definite style differences between a typical American wedding and an Indian extravaganza.

“For an American wedding, you like to tone the jewelry down if you’re wearing a white dress, but with us, if you’re going simple, you’re not doing it right,” Jain says. “Jewelry is so, so, so important. It’s just as important as the outfits we wore. The jewelry has to be just as loud, if not louder.”

In 2019, Anu and Pratik matched on the dating app Happn in a chai coffee shop in New York City, where each of them was visiting friends. Both bride and groom were born in the U.S.; their families are from India, but Anu’s family is Punjabi, and Pratik’s is Gujarati. The cultures overlap in many ways, but there are distinct differences, including in ceremonial dancing styles. “We had an Indian priestess who was able to merge both of our cultures seamlessly, and she was able to explain why we were doing each step,” Jain says.

While the Indian traditions are important to the couple, they also wanted to adopt American jewelry traditions associated with weddings, including an engagement ring, wedding bands and a Rolex watch as a wedding gift for the groom. Bridesmaids’ gifts were diamond pendants on a gold chain. Every guest received handmade earrings as a party favor.

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When it was time to find that perfect engagement ring, Patel worked with his future mother-in-law and father-in-law to create a 4-carat diamond ring with a radiant cut center stone. Patel also worked with Jain’s family to create her mangalsutra, a beaded necklace that a bride traditionally wears every day after her marriage. The groom ties it around her neck during the ceremony. Jain’s beaded black moti mangalsutra features a radiant cut diamond pendant that matches her engagement ring as well as a pair of earrings. Jain used her expertise to design an intricate yellow gold men’s band for Pratik.

Happn, the platform where the couple’s paths first crossed, sponsored their photo booth, chai cart, and event signage.

The importance of the jewelry was evident everywhere. “There are so many different ways to show the passion for jewelry during any wedding. Even in American weddings, everyone is wearing jewelry. With Indians, maybe it’s 100 times that.”

Still, there are sales opportunities for any wedding, if jewelers are proactive.

“Jewelers need to be not so passive and take charge. Say, ‘Let me know your aesthetic. We want this jewelry to tie a whole outfit together. Jewelry can make or break any event any day, but especially your wedding!’

“There are so many ways that jewelers can upsell brides and grooms. If a woman is getting an engagement ring, there is no way they should NOT be getting the men’s band and the matching band from that jeweler. Follow up!”

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Anu’s parents founded Jain in 1987 at an outdoor flea market, where too much live inventory created a security risk. As demand grew, loyal customers began selling it for them. That brand ambassador business model continues today, with a core of 50 customers turned sales entrepreneurs who now place orders from CZ and sterling silver sample kits. “Being able to utilize our customers who have a passion for jewelry is so simple, honestly,” says Jain, who leads that commissioned sales force and also strategizes on company growth.

PHOTO GALLERY (13 IMAGES)

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