Saturday, March 8, 2008

Indian Jewellery & Ornaments

¤ Indian Tradition of Gifting Jewellery

Ornaments & Jewellery In India, a woman is traditionally gifted jewellery at the time of her wedding. The jewellery is from both her parents and her in-laws. The logic is simple. Apart from the obvious purpose of ornamentation, the jewellery is her safeguard against the proverbial rainy day. Bereft of an income of her own, she can trade in her jewellery as and when the need arises.

But this is not to say that the Indian woman does not like her ornaments well-crafted. Every market in India has its own share of gold and silversmiths. While gold jewellery is pretty much a favourite with the rich and the affluent, village belles swear by silver.


¤ Gems

Gems Many palmists and astrologers tell you precisely the clarity and carat required to ward off the evil eye or reverse a spell of ill-luck. Some of the good buys here are emeralds, sapphires, rubies, garnets, amethysts, corals and turquoise. The craft of cutting and polishing stones to achieve the most gleaming facets has been honed to perfection by the artisans of Jaipur and Calcutta.


¤ Gold

Gold- The women of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra are great sticklers for gold. This shiny metal is considered auspicious, not to mention a status symbol. Even the humblest bride down south has some gold in her trousseau.

Handcrafted gold jewellery is still very much the norm though machine-made trinkets are fast catching on. The major difference between the jewellery of north and south India is in the detail, delicacy and motifs. While north Indians think small is beautiful, south Indians certainly believe otherwise.


¤ Kundan

Kundan:- Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur are famous for the age-old technique of setting gems in gold called Kundan. It is the Mughal-inspired art of setting precious stones like diamonds, emeralds and rubies in gold and silver. Gems are bedded in a surround of gold leaf rather than secured by a rim or claw.


¤ Meenakari

Meenakari Enameling or meenakari was originally meant to protect gold, which in its pure state is so soft and malleable that it can easily wear away. However, the technique soon came to be used for all sorts of objet d’arts. Now before you ask, enameling is a champleve technique, which in simple English means that a recess is hollowed out in the surface of gold or silver to take in a mineral. For example, cobalt oxide, which gives a blue color, is then fired into the depression so as to leave a thin line separating the segments of color. The patterns are usually floral and colored in red, green and blue and can be seen on small jewellery and kumkum boxes.


¤ Silver Jewellery

Silver The various kinds of adornments in silver are: tikka or the spherical pendant for the forehead; dangling earrings called jhumkas; hansli or the choker; nath or the nose ring which may be attached with a chain to the adjacent jhumka; a girdle or taqri for the waist; a series of bracelets called kadas; payals or anklets with tiny bells on them; and finally the chakti or toe rings of the married women. Also men of Rajasthan commonly wear chokers, earrings and bracelets too.
The designs are a lovely blend of Hindu and Islamic styles, as are the karigars (craftsmen) who may be Hindu or Muslim. Silver jewellery with ornate tribal designs is a big hit too. A relatively new addition to the repertoire is silver studded with semi-precious stones. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal and Ladakh are the most happening centers of silver jewellery.


¤ Threads, Beads & Cowries

Threads, Beads & CowriesThe intricate and artistic twisting of thread is itself seen as an embellishment by the tribal communities of India. They often weave cotton thread into a broad band as a textured or patterned base, then loop through buttons, beads, metallic droplets or whatever catches their fancy. Beads, shells, cowries and feathers are simple but amazingly creative means to adorn the body beautiful. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and the northeastern states of Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram top the list of makers of such jewellery.


¤ Bangles

Bangles add grace to the feminin beauty. Indian has an ample treasure of exquisite,colorful bangles, that does not match anything. Shellac Bangles Brightly colored lac bangles are a gay and inexpensive buy in Delhi and Rajasthan. In the pink city of Jaipur, lac trinkets are a common sight in every bazaar. Check out the dazzling bangles, often studded with glass gems, spirals of base-metal wire amid a wavy striping of other colors.

Anklets

AnkletsIndian Names: Payal, Pajeb

Anklets are traditional Indian jewelry that is worn around the ankle. They are popularly known as "Payal" or "Pajeb" and are worn by kids as well as young and old women. The Indian anklets are very famous over the world and are reputed for their beautiful carvings, embellishments, and countless styles. Traditionally, anklets used to be worn by unmarried girls in India. An anklet usually has small bells that make a very sweet noise while walking thus drawing attention to the wearer's feet.

This kind of jewellery is found in a variety of styles. Anklets are made in gold as well as silver. The styling can be done according to the buyer's choice i.e. custom made or also what is hot in the market. One can find chunky anklets, exquisitely designed anklets, anklets inlaid with precious stones and gems, beaded anklets, etc. The variety in anklets is so vast that one can find just about any design and carving that is both appealing and beautiful.

There are essentially two kinds of Anklets: Flexible and Inflexible. The former are made by tying links in a chain, attached by hooks to toe rings and are worn by a bride in a marriage. Sometimes, minute bells are attached on the outer edges of the anklets that make a tinkling sound when a person walks. The latter, are created from shaping flat sheets of metal and do not require as much skills as is required in the flexible ones.

In the contemporary tines, anklets made of sterling silver, gold, beads, semi-precious and precious stones are very popular all over the world. Youngsters these days wear anklets on just one foot in the name of fashion! A typical anklet is usually 2 - 3 inches larger than the size of your ankle so as to make it comfortable for the wearer. Embellishments, beads, bells, etc. are attached in such a way that they fall just below the ankle bone.

Anklets can be chosen to match your outfits also. For a traditional look in an auspicious occasion, gold or gold plated anklets are the best bet. For a modern yet ethnic look, go in for thin silver or oxidized anklets. These can be inlaid with colorless stones or semi-precious stones matching your attire. Anklets are also excellent gift items and its vast variety will surely make it a delight to choose from.

Armlet Jewelry

Armlet JewelryIndian Names: Baju Bandh

Armlets are traditional forms of jewelry that have become very trendy these days. In ancient times, armlets were worn by both men as well as women with the sole aim of looking beautiful. The armlets were made of crude metal in shapes of creepers, snakes, and crocodiles. They were used as jewellery in not just India but there are proofs to show that armlets were used by the tribes of Native America also. Popularly known as "Baju Bandh" in India, these ornaments are available in many different designs and styles.

Armlets were worn in different forms in India. Towards the south, we find that armlets were designed in a very different way and were used for occasions such as weddings and events like traditional dances. These days they are not quite used in the traditional style but have been modernized according to changing trends. Towards the north, armlets were worn as a symbol of marriage and were designed in a very sleek manner.

These days, armlets are not quite used traditionally but have become a very popular fashion accessory. Used mainly by women, armlets are available in different designs and styles to cater to the ever increasing demands. One can find armlets in materials like oxidized metal, silver, gold, ceramic, ivory, etc. Though not very conventional in design these days, it still looks ethnic when teamed with traditional clothes on auspicious occasions and gives a very different look to the whole attire.

Bangles

BanglesIndian Names: Chudi, Kangan

Known as a universal fashion accessory, Bangles are worn by women of any age group irrespective of race, caste, religion, etc. Bangles are considered to be traditional jewelry in India and are known as "Chudi". Typically, a bangle is worn in the arms and it adorns the area between the elbow and the wrist. Bangles are made of many different materials. Gold and silver are the most popular choices for making this jewelry. Other popular choices for making a bangle are glass, ceramic, lac, oxidized metal, plastic, wood, ivory, etc.

Since ancient times, bangles have been an integral part of the Indian jewellery set. Bangles go with every occasion and sometimes, it is inauspicious to attend a cultural event with bare hands. Bangles can be worn in groups, different colors or even singly. A thick bangle that is worn as a single piece is known as a "Kangan". Usually, a Kangan is made in gold or silver while thin bangles are made out of glass. The glass bangles can be worn in groups and in different colors that can be matched with your attire. A Kangan looks ethnic as well as elegant when worn with just about any dress.

The bangle has evolved from a mere adorning piece of ornament to an important social symbol since ancient times. During the Pre-Vedic period, the bangle was merely used for adorning oneself. With the arrival of Vedas and other holy scriptures, the bangle was raised to the level of an important symbol of marriage and wedlock. A newly wed woman and a bride to be never leave their hands bare and wear either red glass bangles or a pair of gold bangles.

With fashion and style taking the center stage these days, the trend of wearing bangles has gone through a sea change. Though the tradition of wearing bangles still remains as strong as oak, the contemporary times have changed the very look of a bangle. These days we get bangles made of wood, platinum, shell, beads, etc. with decorative motifs like leaves, flowers, stars, etc. Some bangles have little chains dangling from them and some designs given them a very royal look. With plenty of designs, colors and styles to choose from, what could you possibly leave!

Bracelets

BraceletsOne of the most versatile forms of jewelry is undoubtedly the bracelet. Worn by both men and women, bracelets add grace and charm to any outfit. They make a bold fashion statement and also look traditional with ethnic outfits. Available in a variety of designs, bracelets can be worn for any occasion or even for daily wear. This is a kind of jewelry that can be gifted to a loved one without really bothering about the correct size.

The bracelet has gone through a lot of change and has acquired an entirely new facet. Indian bracelets have a huge market in other countries and they are very popular due to the exquisite carvings and delicate designs. Not only are they available in different makes, they can be altered to a size that would be just perfect for you. A bracelet can uplift the beauty and grace of any outfit by giving it a very chic appearance. There is a huge variety to choose from in bracelets and you will surely find the one that will suit your taste and personality.

The designs and styles of bracelets have been molded according to the craftsmen who belong to different states. Some states specialize in making plain bracelets with a simple look while some specialize in carvings and designs. In some places, bracelets are inlaid with very small stones that lend it a very sparkling look. The new generation jewelry designers have given the bracelet a complete make over. The latest designs include chunky beaded bracelets, thick metallic bracelets, charm bracelets, etc. Platinum bracelets with links made of yellow gold are very popular.

Earrings

EarringsOne of the most common forms of fashion jewelry that is worn by both men and women are earrings. These ornaments have been worn by mostly women since ancient times. When civilization started all over the world, the concept of self adornment caught and people used animal bones and wood as jewellery. Large golden loops were made fashionable by the Egyptians, who were more or less decked up in gold. Earrings inlaid with stones and gems were made popular by the Romans. Indian earrings transformed from large dangling ones to medium and small sized earrings that were worn as studs.

Casual, smart, formal or funky; earrings come in many different varieties. They can transform your look almost magically. Plain studs can go along with a formal look; small hanging earrings can be teamed with a casual look; loops can become a fashion statement and big chandelier earrings can make you look like a Goddess. Carved and intricate designs can be kept for traditional occasions. Gold earrings in beautiful designs and styles are usually kept for traditional occasions. Small gold studs can be worn on a daily basis.

Ear rings are the best bet if you want to make heads turn at a social event or even a family get-together. Wear those danglers in a metallic sheen and grab attention all the way! You can team up your attire with solitaire earrings (if your pocket allows) that go along very well with just about any occasion. These days, even men are crazy about earrings and one can often spot men wearing a small stud in one ear and sometimes both. Earrings come in a variety of metals and materials like platinum, copper, wood, beads, oxidized metal, etc.

Filigree Jewelry

Filigree JewelryIndian Names: Tarkashi

Indian filigree jewelry is a very unique style of jewelry. Antique filigree work was done many centuries back in India and was popularly known as "Tarkashi". The filigree jewelry is mainly done on silver. There is a lot of technicality and precision involved in filigree work. It requires a great amount of patience and an eye for minute details. Filigree craftsmen are specially trained for this kind of work on jewelry. Filigree work was done in many parts of the world like Egypt, Spain, Cyprus, Italy, etc.

Filigree work is done on pure silver and has many technical stages. First, pure silver is made into very fine wires by passing it through a wire drawing machine. Before technology came into scene, this was done by hammering silver on an anvil made of iron or steel. After this, the two thinnest wires are heated and wound around a rotating wheel machine known as "Charkha" and are flattened again to make it as a single wire. This wire is then bent in different ways to give it many different forms and shapes.

Different parts and shapes are made and are then joined together to make one piece of jewelry or Tarkashi item. Filigree is used in not just jewelry but also for making decorative pieces like boxes, trays, bowls, spoons, vases with flowers, purses, showpieces, plates, tumblers, etc. The filigree jewelry is popular in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh in India. The filigree work in India is highly inspired from the one that was done in Greece in ancient times and has maintained and modified that style beautifully.

Finger Rings

Finger RingsIndian Names: Angoothi

Finger rings have always remained a favorite when it comes to selecting jewelry. Whether as a fashion accessory or traditional jewellery, finger rings have always fascinated both men and women alike. Known as "Angoothi" in India, these finger rings are available in a huge variety of designs and styles. The finger rings have always been an important part of the Indian tradition and still retain their importance and position.

Centuries ago, rings were used for adorning oneself and were made of crude metal or wood. With time, finger rings were refined and were given a better look. Today, you get rings in just about any material and numerous designs. The most popular choice of material for finger rings is gold, silver and platinum. Apart from that, these days you shall find rings in plastic, brass, iron, aluminum, stainless steel, etc. Finger rings also come with inlaid stones that add an extra sparkle to this piece of jewelry.

These days, youngsters prefer finger rings in other versatile materials like plastic, aluminum, brass or oxidized metals. They are adorned with bright motifs, stones and funky designs. Rings can make a bold fashion statement with those floral motifs and sparkling stones that are arranged in a cluster to make a unique design. Some finger rings also have fragile and tiny pendants that are hung loosely. Engagement and wedding rings are either plain metal or have a solitaire mechanically fixed on them. Though simple, they look very elegant on the wearer.

Engraved Jewelry

Engraved JewelryIndian Names: Jadau work, Jadtar

The traditional art of the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the engraved jewelry is a very unique jewellery style. Also known by the names of "Jadau" and "Jadtar", this form of jewelry was introduced in India by the Mughals. The craftsmen of India picked up this art and made it popular and famous. Today, it is a thriving industry which attracts buyers from all over the world. Engraved jewellery is considered to be a traditional jewelry of India and is used in many traditional and auspicious occasions like marriages and festival celebrations.

The Jadau jewelry is basically jewelry in which precious and semi precious stones, gems, crystals and beads are embedded. The jewelry on which the stones and gems are to be set is melted a bit. When the gold becomes pliable, the stones are set on it with great precision and artistry. After that, it is allowed to cool down and the stones, gems, etc. get fixed on it without any adhesive or carvings. These days, Jadau is done on not just jewelry but also jewelry boxes and delicate showpieces.

Kundan Jewelry

Kundan JewelryKundan jewelry is a traditional jewelry that is exclusive to India. Available in different colors and designs, Indian Kundan jewellery is fast catching up as one of the trendiest ornaments. The gold used in making Kundan jewelry is of a very refined quality. The process by which precious stones, gems and beads are set on the gold ornament is also called Kundan by the craftsmen. Making this jewelry requires lot of skill and a fine eye for details.

Kundan jewelry is not set on solid gold. The central part of this jewelry is made of lac, which is a kind of solidified tree resin. The hollow jewelry pieces that are joined to make the Kundan jewellery are bored with holes where precious stones and gems are inserted. Since the lac is visible through the holes, very highly refined gold is poured in order to cover up those holes. The stones are then set or rather pushed into the cool but pliant gold. When the gold finally hardens, the stones get embedded in it.

Kundan jewelry has caught up with urban India recently though it was worn since ancient times. It was very much in vogue in the state of Rajasthan during the empire of the Rajputs when the rich kings used to prefer such jewelry that was inlaid with precious gems and stones. Exquisite Kundan jewelry was in high demand in the royal household and intricate carvings were the most sought after designs. Today, they have become more affordable and are considered to be one of the trendiest fashion symbols. Many young girls buy Kundan Jewelry sets for auspicious occasions since they look grand with ethnic Indian clothes.

Mangalsutra

MangalsutraA very integral part of the Indian weddings, particularly Hindu marriages, Mangalsutra is a jewelry that symbolizes a married woman. Tying of the Mangalsutra by the groom is the most important ritual in a marriage and is known as "Mangalya Dharanam". It symbolizes an unbroken bond of understanding, love and sacrifices in their life as husband and wife. The Mangal Sutra is never taken off by the woman after marriage until the death of the husband.

Mangalsutra is basically made up of two words - Mangal which means sacred and Sutra which means a thread/cord. The Mangalsutra is known by different names in different regions of India. In south of India, it is known as Thaali, Maangalyam, etc. It is essentially a thick yellow thread in which gold "Mangalya" is strung. In some castes in south India, three knots are tied to secure the Mangal sutra during the marriage. The first knot is tied by the groom and the rest two are tied by his sisters.

It is considered that the concept of tying the Mangalsutra originated in the south and then was followed in the north as well. In the north the Mangalsutra is made of a thread in which small black beads are strung along with the "Mangalya". The black beads are supposed to protect the newly weds from evil and unfavorable influences. Else, the Mangal sutra is made of a gold string or chain with the gold Mangalya. These days, the most popular design is a long black beaded chain with a diamond pendant as the Mangalya! The Mangalsutra is still the undisputed symbol of holy matrimony and shall remain so in India.

Meenakari

Meenakari JewelryMeenakari jewelry is a very famous form of jewelry in India. Preferred by numerous Indian families as traditional jewelry, Meenakari is very different from other types of jewelry. The art of Meena work came to India with the arrival of the Mughals. During the 16th century, the Maharaja of Rajasthan, Raja Man Singh introduced the Meenakari jewellery to Rajasthan. Due to its rapid increase in popularity, Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan became the hub of Meena work jewelry.

Meenakari is essentially enameling or decorating the metallic surface of jewelry with colors. Considered to be one of the most technical forms of jewelry, the art of doing Meena work requires perseverance and an eye for detail. Enameling was basically done on gold, but these days it is being done on metals like silver and copper. Meenakari involves a long procedure in which the first step involves fixing the jewelry on which Meenakari is to be done, on a stick of lac. Engravings are done on the jewelry which forms shallow depressions in which color is filled.

The enamel dust of a particular required color is then poured into those engravings and is heated in high temperature. The heat melts the color to an extent that it gets disseminated uniformly within the engravings. This process is repeated until all colors are set in the desired position. The colors are filled in accordance to their resistance to heat. White is the most heat resistant and is applied first and the last color or least heat resistant is the red color. After the jewelry piece cools down, it is polished with agate for luster. In India, the most famous centers for Meenakari are Jaipur, Delhi, Banaras and Udaipur.

Necklace

NecklaceIndian Names: Haar

One of the most elegant pieces of jewelry is the necklace. Available in a variety of designs and styles, the Indian necklace is a must have in one's trousseau. The Indian necklace has a lot of traditional and sentimental value attached to it. Sometimes necklaces that have been worn by different generations of a family are preserved by each generation to hand over to the next one. The necklace is a jewelry that adorns the slender neck of a woman thus emphasizing on the delicacy and beauty of the woman.

A stunning necklace that has a brilliant cut or design can draw attention towards you even in a crown. Simple and thin necklace chains are ideal for daily wear and add grace to even simple outfits. The necklaces are usually made of gold or silver, though these days, beaded necklaces are also very much in vogue. Usually a simple thin chin necklace is worn with a pendant to make it look graceful. These pendants can either be gemstones, solid gold or silver shapes like stars, moon, heart, etc. or even alphabet pendants.

Types of Necklace Chain

Choker: A choker is a basically a necklace that is set very close to the neck, resembling a dog collar. Some of the most popular choices for chokers are gold, silver or strings of pearls.

Pearl Necklace: A must have in every woman's wardrobe is a pearl necklace. Be it a long necklace, short necklace or graduated pearl necklace, an elegant necklace of pearls should be there to match any outfit.

Diamond Necklace: An elegant diamond necklace will not only adorn your slender neck but also add charm and grace to your appearance. So what if it burns a little hole in your pocket! You are getting a lifetime friend and a hefty investment that can be used in times of financial crisis.

Nose Rings

Nose RingIndian Names: Nath, Nathni, Koka, Laung

Nose rings are another form of jewelry that is quite popular in Indian tradition. Though they are popular here, their origin was in the Middle East. In India, the trend of wearing nose rings as jewellery came with the arrival of the Mughals. Nose rings and nose pins are popularly known as "Nath" in India and are also known by other names such as Nathni, Koka and Laung. In some customs and traditions, it is necessary for a girl to get her nose pierced.

During the Mughal rule, nose rings were designed as very tiny floral patterns. There was a small flower with a very thin stem which was kept in place by a firm screw inside the nostril. Sometimes, these tiny pieces of ornaments were decorated with precious stones, pendants, thin chains, etc. that looked beautiful. In today's world, nose rings are worn by young girls as a fashion statement. Though the traditional importance of a nose has not been lost, it has been making waves in contemporary trends as well.

Indian nose pins are usually a small circular ball fitted to a thin pole that is screwed from inside the nostril. Sometimes, the ball is replaced by a small stone like a diamond or a ruby or any other small gem; sometimes a flat disc replaces the ball. They are available in many different varieties and styles and can also be matched with different clothes. Some nose rings are very big in size and may sometimes come in the way of eating! Such nose rings are used in very few parts of rural India. These nose rings are supported by thin chains whose one end is attached to the nose rings while the other end is attached to the hair above the ears. Nose rings and nose pins sure add grace and beauty to a woman's face and also accentuate the nose.

Pendants

PendantsAn elegant yet simple piece of jewelry is definitely the pendant. Also gaining momentum as a fashion jewellery and accessory, pendants can be worn with a simple thin chain, a necklace or even earrings and watches. Indian pendants come in a variety of styles and designs. Since India believes in spirituality, you will find a lot of such pendants that are worn due to spiritual reasons. Zodiac sign pendants, numerology pendants, Rudraksh pendants, birthstone pendants, etc. are a hot favorite among Indians.

Pendants have been used as jewelry since a long time. Even in tribal cultures and ancient times, one finds that crude pendants like unique looking stones, bones, were used as adornment by both men and women. As time passed by, they were refined and gemstones with exquisite carvings were used as pendants. With the advent of various religious beliefs, pendants that advocated those beliefs came into vogue like the symbol of Om, the symbol of Surya, the Cross of Christians, the Swastika, etc. These days these symbols are still in vogue and have gained importance in urban cities as well as rural areas.

A pendant can be the perfect gift to someone who is close to you. You can order a name pendant wherein the name of the person is carved in gold or silver and is made as a small pendant. You can give a simple pendant like a cute star or heart shape in gold, silver or platinum. Pendants are also available as gemstones and semi precious stones. Giving someone a solitaire pendant will surely brighten up that person's day! Pendants that are inlaid with very small stones look ravishing and are the best choice for a chain that is short and rests at the base of the throat.

5 comments:

Indian jewellery store online said...

With all the gorgeous designs and styles of Indian jewellery, who would not want it as a gift? It's a good thing that these are now available through online shopping.

Rajni said...

Hi,

Indian jewelery is considered the fabulous way to blend gorgeous style. Gold designs are constantly changing like all other designs. In addition traditional Indian designs are being popular. Thanks a lot...

Indian jewelry

Thangamayil said...

Hi all,
Have a wonderful day.
Jewellery Online

Traditional Jewellery of India said...

I am really impressed by the work you did in this article. It’s great enough to pull my attention and in reading this article for once to understand that your pen is really mightier than the sword.

Traditional Rajasthani Jewellery said...

Jewellery for women in Rajasthan plays a vital role in their lifestyle. Rajasthani Jadau Jewellery have always formed a great combination. Tradition of admiring oneself with jewellery is 5000 years old in India. If you are looking for Rajasthani jadau jewellery, Ananya Arts is the right choice for you. For more details call us: 9873261820 and visit our website http://www.ananyaarts.com