A History of Indian Jewelry

A History of Indian Jewelry

History of Indian jewellery is as old as the history of the country itself. Around 5000 years ago, the desire to adorn themselves aroused in people, leading to the origin of jewellery. Since then, Indian women and jewellery have gone hand in hand. There cannot be a woman in India, who does not adorn herself with minimum jewellery. In fact, jewellery is considered as security and prestige of women in the country. The attraction for jewellery has been great in India that it is no more a craft than an art.

Indian jewellery is unique in its design and workmanship. In all kinds of traditional dance forms, jewellery has been a significant part. Be it Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi or Kathak, all have given importance to jewellery in presenting the artist. The sheer number of items forming the jewellery of an Indian woman is numerous, ranging from earrings and necklaces to pieces for adorning the hair, hip, feet, and feet. Jewellery made with emeralds, diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and other precious and semi-precious stones have been in practice for long.

Jewelry as an Integral Part of Fashion

Throughout its history until about the mid-twentieth century, when jewelry experienced a radical change, it had been dependent on the fashions of the day, with the exception of finger rings. Varying necklines, sleeve lengths, hemlines, and fabrics determined the type of jewelry worn, while the choice of materials and symbolism determined its function and usage. The creativity of the goldsmith is boundless, as are the types and styles of wearable objects for the body.

If not passed on as a family heirloom or given for the person’s afterlife and found in excavations of burials, many types of jewels that are known to have existed have not survived. Jewelry made of precious materials, regardless of century or culture, have been destined to be dismantled, the gemstones reused and the metals such as silver and gold melted down for bullion, either to become a financial resource or to be remodelled in a new fashion. Jewels with enamel have withstood this destiny, as it was too complicated and costly to remove the enamel, whereas golden chains with a considerable weight in metal were the first to be melted down.

History & culture of India for a long time went through many changes and with that jewels too changed.

Ancient/Early Age: Jewels were made by seeds, feathers, leaves, berries, fruits, flowers, animal bones, claws and teeth.

1500 BC: Jewellary making started in 1500 B.C. by the people of Indus Valley Civilization. They created & wore jewels made of beads. They were shaped like doughnuts and painted black.

2100 BC: jewels were created of metals like gold, silver, copper & ivory. They were ear rings, necklaces and bangles.

Gupta Period: this period was fashioned with gold Jewellary which was worn by both men & women. New delicacy of jewel was introduced as, golden wires twisted & combined with pearls. The jwellary which were worn during this time were:

o Kundala, circular shaped ear rings.

o Sutra, gold chain with precious stones in the center.

o Vijayantra, a necklace made of pearls, rubies, blue stones& diamonds.

o Niksha , coin necklace.

o Angada& Keyura, Upper arm ornament & keyura was coiled like snake.

o Bangles

o Crowns, were worn by men and women of the nobility.

Vijaynagar, 1438: Jewels were combined with pearls & precious stones.

1503: Rubies and diamonds were used in shoes.

Mughal Period: The mughal era shows the relation of time & religion with the Jewellary. Hindu& Islamic fusion art was seen in the jewels making . The jewels which were in fashion that time were added:

o Karanphul, ear flower.

o Nath: worn in nose.

Rajput’s Era: In this era, minakari, kundankari, thewa Jewellary was popular

Current trend: Currently people are diverting form metallic Jewellary to towards mostly fashionable artificial Jewellary which matches their dress colors and events . In real jewels diamond & platinum are in demand.Traditionally, Indian jewellery has been made of heavy and voluminous gold pieces, but recently jewellery made of silver, platinum and other metals has become quite popular among people. The popularity of jewellery made of stone, encrusted on metal, has grown more recently.

the following are some types of jewelry you will find popular throughout India at the moment.

BIRDAL JEWELRY

Maangtika

It is worn on the forehead by the bride. This is a reason why most of the bridal hair styles bear centre parting. This is done in order to accommodate the maangtika. This can be in different shapes and studded with different precious and semi precious stones. It usually consists of a string a with a centre piece attached to one end. In varied cultures, the form of the maangtika varies. It is even seen as a crown in some regions.

Necklace

Necklace is the most eye catchy piece of jewellery, worn by the bride. It comes along with matching earrings and nose piece. Moreover, attention is paid that it complements the colour of your attire and neck line. A choker is deemed perfect for such an occasion, coupled with a long necklace.

Earrings

The earrings usually match the necklace. You can choose between varieties like long heavy earrings or short loops, from antique ear rings to small studs, depending upon your wedding outfit’s colour and design.

Nose Ring

This is another essential jewellery item to be worn by the bride. It is also chosen keeping in mind the colour and design of the ear rings. The traditional nose piece is known as ‘Nath’, which consists of a studded nose ring with a long chain hooked up in the hair. In case the nose is not pierced, there are nose studs available, which can be temporarily worn by the bride for the ceremony.

Bangles

Bangles are the symbol of the nuptial rituals. As a result, the bride wears both gold as well as glass bangles on her wedding day. The glass bangles are mostly of the colour of the wedding dress. However, the gold bangles are the ones gifted by the mother in law.

Rings

Rings are also vital to the embellishment of the bride. Usually the bride wears a Hath phool on her hands. This consists of five rings for all the fingers, connected with a central piece, further connected with a bracelet, to be worn in the hand.

Waist Band

Waist band is worn on the waist, over the saree or the lehenga. This is a heavy jewellery piece, which is quite traditional in look and design. This also serves as a support for the wedding dress and helps to keep in place. An artistic waist band can really add up to the grandeur of your wedding ensemble.

Anklets and Toe Rings

The bride also wears anklets and toe rings in her feet. These are usually made of silver as gold is not worn in the feet. They are available in intricate designs, decorated with works of meenakari, kundan and beads.

Antique Jewellery

The jewellery which is not in mainstream production and of which the mode of production is no longer popular is known by the name of ‘Antique Jewellery.’ This kind of jewellery has dull and rough look, combined with an old world charm, and this serves as the major USP of such jewellery. It takes you back to yore, by its unfinished and dull looks. The jewellery pieces in antique jewellery usually belong to a particular period of history, when its popularity was at its peak.

Fashion Jewellery

Fashion jewellery is also called costume jewellery, mainly for the reason that it is not made of precious metals and stones, rather lighter and cheaper material are used. Fashion jewellery is trend-conscious and keeps on changing as per changing needs. For those who are open to experimentation with new and unusual designs, shapes and colours, costume jewellery offers plethora of choices. Rather than using precious ingredients, like gold, silver, platinum and white gold, fashion jewellery designers use cheap products, like jute, leather, peppier mache, bakelite plastic, wood, bone, stone, oxidized metal, horn, lac, terracotta, etc.

Spiral bangles and rings Glass beads, strung on nylon Chunky tribal jewellery Surgical steel jewellery Ornaments with symbols and messages Charm jewellery, such as mood rings, charm bracelets and others. Tattoo jewellery Chandelier earrings Sterling silver jewellery, studded with artificial stones Abstract jewellery Body piercing jewellery

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