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JEWELLERY

9

GLITTERS & SPARKLES

|

anklets called

nupuras

. The women of

Rajouri district in Jammu fancy a silver

cap or crown known as

chaunk phool

,

worn on the head under the veil, the

tika worn on the forehead, the nose ring

called

balu

and a fine gold filigree wrist

ornament called

band

or

kada

.

Halqaband

, a traditionally tight choker

which is studded with rubies, emeralds,

semi-precious stones and even mirrors is

usually made of silver, gold or brass and

has interlocking sections joined together

with thread. The

dejihor

that hangs from

the upper portion of the ear is worn

by every Pandit woman as a symbol of

marriage.

Gunus

, a thick bangle of solid

gold and silver with a snake or lion head

at either end is popular to this day.

Himachal Pradesh, too is famous for

fine jewellery crafted from gold and

silver. Places like Kullu, Chamba, Kangra

and Mandi are known for their expertise

in the art of enameling. Artisans from

Kangra, once a Rajput kingdom, were

known for their exquisite skills in crafting

silver ornaments. The pahari women (a

sect of people hailing from the state), are

fond of coin jewellery as well as designs

fashioned from

kaanch

(glass) beads.

Delhi being the seat of the Mughal

empire for centuries, greatly influenced

the crafts and traditions of jewellery

design in northern and western India,

especially Rajasthan.

Royal designs

It is said that the popular Meenakari

technique was invented in Iran and

brought by the Mughals to India and

its neighbouring countries. Raja Sawai

Man Singh from Amer, a connoisseur

of the arts, invited skilled Meenakari

artists from Lahore to his kingdom,

who taught their skills to local

jewellery

makers.

Finding

patronage in Rajasthan, Indian

gold jewellery designs using

Meenakari

art

spread

to Punjab, Delhi and

Lucknow during the

Mughal era.

Meenakari

designs

are based on gold

engravings inspired by

nature such as flowers,

fish, birds, paisleys and

leaves. The groove left

after engraving is filled

with coloured enamel

dust. The brightly coloured

enamel dust is then fused

with the metal by firing each

groove individually, allowing

the melted dust to coat the groove

precisely. However, the most coveted

form of jewellery from the regal state of

Rajasthan is probably

jadau

.

Worn by the Mughal royalty, it only

used pure gold and precious stones,

most commonly uncut diamonds. The

gemstones are inserted into a molten

gold base and the back occasionally uses

Meenakari enameling. It was brought

down by the Mughals when they migrated

to India and flourished in the cities of

Bikaner and Jaipur. The handicraft was

later picked up by jewellery makers in

Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Polkis

are uncut diamonds that are

obtained from mines and do not undergo

any further processing for enhancement.

Polkis

lend

jadau

Indian gold jewellery

designs an innate glossy shine. Polki

jewellery is usually very expensive,

being a combination of pure gold and

unrefined diamonds.

Silver works too

Gujarat boasts the famously delicate

pachchikam

jewellery that makes use

of silver as the base metal instead of

gold. Silver is extremely malleable and

closely resembles another precious metal,

platinum. The main raw materials for

pachchikam

jewellery includes the base

material, silver along with uncut glass

and semi precious stones. The main

colours used in

pachchikam

jewellery are

white, blue, red and green stones, and

white rice pearls.

The states of Orissa and Andhra

Pradesh in the east and south respectively,

specialise in filigree or

telkari

jewellery

meaning wire work jewellery. In this style

delicate threads of gold or silver are fused

together and bent creatively to create

intricate lacework resembling designs.

The designs are generally repeated in

patterns. Soldering is used to fuse the

patterns together.

This style also happens to be one of the

oldest techniques of jewellerymaking that

experts trace back to the Mesopotamian

civilisation. It is believed that the

Greek settlers brought this jewellery

to India, especially the north-eastern

regions. Today, Cuttack is the main

hub for

telkari

jewellery. For filigree

work in silver, Andhra Pradesh is also a

popular centre.

South of India is where you will

find the mystically breathtaking

temple jewellery. Much like the

name suggests, this exquisite

temple jewellery was used to

adorn the idols of gods and

goddesses and comprised

bangles,

earrings,

necklaces, waist belts,

nose rings and anklets.

Originating in the

12th century during

the reign of the Chola

dynasty in south India,

temple jewellery also

makes use of precious

stones called kemp stones.

Sometimes the pieces are

further adorned using uncut

rubies and diamonds, emeralds,

pearls, sapphires and other

precious stones.

RAD I CA L D E S I GN

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