India is a land of vividness – various cultures, religions, inheritance and jewellery arts types. For Indians jewellery is not just a piece of metal for adoration but each piece worn by the women has its own significance culturally and socially. India is a multi-linguistic and multi – religious country. Here, jewellery is not only considered auspicious but is also worshipped and is seen to serve a purpose of insurance. It has been traditionally linked to wealth, power, and status. In a country like ours, jewellery is not just preserved for any one occasion but is worn in many occasion like marriages, festivals and so on – and women only love to adorn with its different styles, looks and types. For women’s true love lies in the different jewellery she possesses and with the vast assortment of jewellery from India, one can easily be rest assured of a lot of varieties to be worn for each festival of the year. The types of jewellery and designs are also different and unique in its own. They are versatile in their types and designs and vary from state to state.

Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh

Jewellery pieces of Rajasthan have a regal feel to it. The Rajasthani jewellery art reflects the age-old customs and traditional wear, also the creativity and the innovative aesthetic sense of the Indian Jewellers and craftsmen. The kundan and meenakari art work are the finest product of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the land of kings. With a glorious history of Rajputs, it has been endowed with invincible forts, magnificent palaces and a rich cultural heritage. The hostile desert environment coupled with continuous warfare, created strong incentives among the people for investing in gold and jewels. This jewellery art of embedding precious jewels and metals into the surface of objects is known as Kundan – Jadau work and was introduced by the Mughals. In this technique, hyper purified gold leaf foil was inserted between the walls and precious and semiprecious stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and tourmalines. The silver or gold foil placed below the stones enabled greater reflection of light through the stone, thus increasing its intensity and brilliance.

Thewa Jewellery from Rajasthan
Thewa Jewellery from Rajasthan
Gemstone Jewellery from Rajasthan
Gemstone Jewellery from Rajasthan
Gemstone Jewellery from Rajasthan
Gemstone Jewellery from Rajasthan

Another form of surface decoration was Meenakari, the fusion of coloured materials such as cobalt oxide for blue and copper oxide for green onto the surface of metals to suggest precious stone inlay work, and was brought to Jaipur on Raja man Singh’s behest. Apart from Kundan, Rajasthan also has Polki jewellery is made up of unfurnished natural diamonds. That is an uncut diamond- mined from Earth in natural way without any enhancement and lab creation.

Polki Jewellery from Rajasthan
Polki Jewellery from Rajasthan
Polki Jewellery from Rajasthan
Polki Jewellery from Rajasthan

While stones are cut, polished, and then set as finished, three-dimensional objects in metal, jewellery artisans start with enamel powders, apply them in a more painterly fashion to metal, and then apply heat, which gives the enamel its polished look as well as fixing it in place on the metal. Most jewellery makers buy finished stones to use, but like inlay artists who cut the stone to fit perfectly with the metal, enamelists create their own enamel work that must fit their metalwork, too. Some of it can be astonishingly intricate and carefully controlled by the artist, as cloisonné can be, that best known of traditional enameling techniques.

Enamel Jewellery from Rajasthan
Enamel Jewellery from Rajasthan

Gujarat and Maharashtra

Of the many forms of jewellery made in Gujarat, agate, silver and bead jewellery are among the most common. Ornaments such as ear rings, nose rings, bangles and necklaces are locally made and sold all over the State. Silver jewellery is made from silver bars which are locally purchased which are first converted into sheets and wires and then into bangles, nose pins, ear rings, anklets and other ornaments.

Silver Jewellery from Gujarat
Silver Jewellery from Gujarat

The main centres of silver work are Anjar, Bhuj, and Mundra in Kutch district while Porbandar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar and Ahmedabad also have a tradition of silversmiths who are capable of crafting beautiful silver jewellery. Jewellery is still crafted in styles that have existed for centuries. The age old tradition of designing jewellery with help of zari, beads and lac is still prevalent today and the ornaments are worn by the tribal and rural womenfolk of this region.

Also, most of the Maharashtrian jewelleries are derived from the legacies of Maratha and Peshwa dynasties. Kolhapur is famous for its special type of necklace called Kolhapur saaj. This jewellery is very much special for Maharashtrian women. Har and malas, mohanmal, bormal, chaplahar, kolhapurisaaj, pohehar and putlihar are the jewelleries that are made in Kolhapur. These names are derived from the peculiar shapes of the jewelleries. Thushi, a choker with closely bound tiny gold beads, is very popular in Kolhapur. Patlya (two broad bangles), Bangdya (four simple bangles) and Tode (two finely carved thick bangles) are hand wear ornaments for the women of Maharashtra. Chinchpeti (choker), Tanmani (short necklace) and Nath (nose ring) are the ornaments making with a combination of pearls and red and white stones.

Plain Gold Jewellery from Maharashtra
Plain Gold Jewellery from Maharashtra
Plain Gold Jewellery from Maharashtra
Plain Gold Jewellery from Maharashtra

Another jewellery art called bajuband (the amulet) is also a favorite. Flower-shaped earrings are very popular amongst Maharastrian women. Every ornament made in the traditional style has a local name. Gathla and Putalimal are the gold coins strung together to form a necklace. Toda is a bulky bracelet. Sari is a real work of art where the two wires are twisted together with a spiral design at each end. It is worn quite tightly around the neck. Circular rings connected together forms chandraharas. Beads are often used in the Maharashtrian jewellery. Artists make beautiful strings out of moulded beads which are called mohanmal.


West Bengal and Chennai

Gold is one of the most prominent metals used for carving jewellery art items of West Bengal. Weddings and other occasions are the best places where you can see a huge array of Bengali jewellery of latest as well as antique designs. This is because Bengalis believe that prosperity and happiness thrive in gold. Bengali brides wear a lot of gold jewellery designs especially during the marriage ceremony and continue to wear some of them all through their lives like “Sankha”, “Pola” and “Noa”.

Intricate Handwork Jewellery from West Bengal
Intricate Handwork Jewellery from West Bengal

While not all the jewellery art items in the Bengali culture are made from gold, majority jewels feature gold in them. There are others that are made from ivory, silver and other lesser known metals for jewellery.

The city of temples; Chennai, has a lot of offer in terms of their culture, attire and their ornaments. The jewelleries pieces are a personification of the city’s life itself. It is a replica of its people and their faith. Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is known for its Temple Jewellery – the detailed working in its earrings, kamarbands or the waist chain, and their neckpieces are something to be awed for.

Temple Jewellery
Temple Jewellery

Drawing inspiration from the southern styles of jewellery is the state of Chhatrapati Shivaji – Maharashtra. The jewellery art type here in Maharashtra, is very simple and yet has a very exotic feel to it. The Nath, chokers, are made of plain gold but with detailed designing for each and every piece of it.


About The Author – Prernaa Makhariaa, Founder, StylePrer.
Prernaa Makhariaa
StylePrer is a blog library with an eclectic blend of experiences from the world of jewellery and watches. Prernaa has been a Jewellery Designer by profession and has taken formal training from GIA, GII and SNDT.

StylePrer : http://www.styleprer.com/

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