Imagine this. Ear studs made from automotive brass, necklaces made from scrap construction equipment, and rings carved from old musical instruments.
This is what the Gurgaon-based brand musical instruments and other industrial products. The metal then receives a “second life” by being treated and reused in designer jewelry.is creating a range of traditional and contemporary jewelry made from recycled brass, with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint of jewelry. The brand sources brass from scrap yards, automobiles, construction equipment,
Vivek Ramabhadran, who founded Aulerth in 2021, believes luxury is not about embracing excess, but about being thoughtful and environmentally conscious. He thinks consumers no longer see fashion as something that makes them look good on their own. Increasingly, they are also looking at where it comes from, the processes behind its making, and the footprint it leaves behind.
Aulerth makes designer jewelry from brass spotted in automobiles and scrap yards.
According to Vivek, gold has an extremely destructive footprint in its mining process. According to an internal company study, “90% of jewelry in India is made from gold. Over 20,000 kg of toxic cyanide and mercury waste is generated for just one ring. Over 150 million tons of Carbon emissions are produced globally.Gold mining also generates other unquantifiable destruction such as deforestation and habitat destruction, leading to ecological imbalances.
Vivek thinks brass is a more durable wardrobe choice than gold. “Unlike gold, which is mined primarily for jewelry, brass is mined for large-scale industrial purposes. Using this material in its recycled form for jewelry generates a smaller mining footprint. Brass has the ability to be recycled a number of times, without losing its chemical and physical properties. Recycling brass is also a less energy-intensive process compared to other metals, and therefore produces a minimal carbon footprint,” he says .
Besides reused brass, Aulerth also uses unmined artificial stones. “The artificial stones used provide the quality and feel of quarried stones to the greatest extent possible without compromising the integrity of the design,” says Vivek.
Each piece of jewelry on Aulerth’s website contains information about the amount of toxic waste and avoidable carbon emissions that mining the gold for that piece would otherwise have caused.
The brand is also using recycled paper and cardboard in its packaging and exploring more green options.
Aulerth jewelry by designer Suneet Varma
One of the ways to have less impact on the environment is to buy less and use everything you own for a long time. This is where the durability of a product comes into play.
According to Vivek, Aulerth’s products are built to last and benefit from lifetime restoration and maintenance. Aulerth uses 22kt gold plating on its jewelry, with a thickness that is 4 times the industry standard, to ensure longevity, he says. “We are trying to use recycled gold in the plating. However, getting 100% traceability is very difficult. We are partially but not totally there.
The brand has partnered with top Indian designers – Suneet Varma, JJ Valaya, Shivan and Narresh and Tribe Amrapal – to create designer jewelry.
Vivek says Aulerth’s jewelry is high-end, couture-inspired, and consciously crafted. He also says that each piece was “meticulously designed and crafted over 8-10 months.”
The brand, according to its founder, has “distinct design signatures”. Vivek says, “JJ Valaya’s designs depict the nuances of the Art Deco era. In the creations of Suneet Varma, one can observe influences from Mughal art and architecture. While Tribe Amrapali’s collection represents a mix of rich colors juxtaposed with traditional Indian designs, in Shivan and Narresh’s collection bold, chic and classic black and gold come into the picture.
Rent and trade
Customers can not only buy Aulerth’s jewelry, but they can also rent it.
Aulerth offers its customers an option called “Aulerth Loop” for a period of three weeks or more. The fees start from Rs 3,000 and go up to Rs 15,000 except for a token deposit; special editions cost between 30,000 and 40,000 rupees. The Loop feature also allows customers to purchase the coin if they wish.
The brand also allows customers to exchange their jewelry 12 months after purchase, for another design, for a certain amount. Aulerth then returns the exchanged product and finds a new home for it.
These features reinforce the brand’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by extending the life cycle of each piece of jewelry, Vivek explains.
Aulterth jewelry is priced at Rs 10,000 to Rs 1,00,000; some special edition sets are more expensive. The company sells its jewelry through its website, walk-in and drop-in workshops, selected events and exhibitions. Aulerth ships all over India and worldwide too.
In the future, the company plans to launch its own network of retail stores. She also wants to partner with more designers to create a “design house”.
Aulerth has clients from Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, USA, Dubai and Singapore. About 50% of its sales come from NRIs in international locations. The company claims to have served a few hundred customers so far. About 10-12% of its customers have used the Loop feature.
The startup raised a $1.1m seed round in 2021, led by M-Ventures (a Singaporean start-up venture capital firm), the family office of Indian designer Tarun Tahiliani, a network of investors angels who are former and current partners of McKinsey, and the LV Angel Fund.