The Indian sub-continent has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery making, going as far back in time as the Indus Valley civilization, perhaps further. Five thousand years and more of Unique in style, whether in pure gold or studded with the richest of gems, the world fantasises about owning a piece of exotic Indian jewellery.
The bond between Indians and jewellery is not only timeless, it is boundless, as well. Shringar, a ritual indulged in from time immemorial is when every Indian woman adorns herself with jewellery to enhance her beauty and feminine charms. This innate love for jewellery resulted in the Maharajas of India accumulating a veritable storehouse of some of the richest and finest jewels and gems in the world. Commissioning works of pure fantasy, they challenged the ingenuity and craftsmen of some of India’s finest master jewelers.
Fond of gold and adornment, Indians have come up with jewellery for every part of their body. From earrings, nose rings, bangles and bracelets, toe rings, necklaces, chokers, armlets, kamarbands, hair ornaments, anklets and more, Indian jewellery is pain-stakingly hand-crafted, which is why can be worth a King’s ransom.
And, while there may be unity in India’s diversity, the jewellery from each region of India is indelibly stamped with its own unique identity. While, Northern and Southern Indian jewellery is made from the purest of gold metal, Rajasthan delights in silver, precious stones, shells and mirror work. Likewise, Kashmiris are fond of silver ornaments set with semi-precious Firozas, while their sapphire jewellery is without peer.
However, not all Rajasthani jewellery is made of silver, gold jewellery studded with precious or semi-precious gemstones known as Minakari is also popular in this stronghold of the Rajputs, together with Kundan ‘Theva’ works. The State of Bengal is known for its Navaratna jewellery i.e. nine gems such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, corals, pearls, sapphires, garnets and topaz set in gold are supposed to ward off the evil.
Made from 22-karat gold set with precious stones, the jewellery from South India is incomparable, while Hyderabad is renowned for its pearl jewellery. Pearls of different hues that range from the purest of whites to pink to yellow to pale grey and dark grey.
Famous the world over, many of the rich and famous from both the East and the West, flaunt their Indian jewellery, exquisite in its workmanship and made from the purest of gold and finest of gems! Indian jewellery at its best!