The art of personal adornment is something which is also mentioned in Human prehistory. A primitive man used a lot of things like bones, stones, beads, flowers and carved wood to decorate his body.
Indian Jewellery plays a major role in the country’s cultural and aesthetic history as it’s as old as Indian Civilization itself. Spanning a legacy of more than 5000 years, the range of jewellery in the country is very wide that can be seen on the sculptures at Amaravati, Sanchi, Bharhut and also on the paintings of Ajanta.
With time, the materials used for the ornaments changed to copper, semi-precious stones and then gold, pearls, beads and what not.
During the Indus Valley Civilization (5000 years ago), India was the largest exporter of beads in the world and it was the powerhouse of diamonds.
Diamond drills were invented and the craftsmen also used semi-precious materials like turquoise, faience, feldspar, carnelian and agate to enhance the beauty of jewelleries.
Being the sole supplier of gemstones for more than 2000 years, India has been exporting Sapphires and Golconda diamonds from Kashmir and pearls were coveted from the Gulf of minar.
Indian rulers stated jewels as the symbol of prestige, power, prosperity and protection from evil eyes whereas for Indian women, jewellery was and is still treated as a social and economic security.
The list of the range of traditional jewellery in India is very long that includes :
- Filigree work is done on silver
- Requires a lot of technicalities
- Indian History of Filigree work goes back to early centuries
- Symbol of Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth)
- Security against any financial crisis
- Personalised Jewellery
- Total freedom to customer about changing the specifics
- Not in the mainstream production
- Has dull and rough look
- 5000 years old form of jewellery in India
- Famous art of jewellery during Indus Valley Civilization
- Superior metals with excellent quality is used
- Mainly Silver, Platinum and Gold is used
- In India, a major chunk of jewellery is made by independent craftsmen.
- High Skilled craftsmanship brought by Mughals
- Also called engraved jewellery
- Popular in Rajasthan and Gujarat
- Made from the tusk of elephant
- In Gujarat, brides wear Ivory Bangles during the marriage ceremony.
- During Mughal period, Kundan work was very famous in Rajasthan and Delhi.
- Later on, Rajasthan become a hub of kundankari
- Also known as lacquer jewellery
- Speciality in bangles
- Originated in Rajasthan
- Precious Stones set and then enameled in gold
- Introduced by Raja Mansingh of Amer
- Originated in Gujarat and Kutch, centuries ago
- Has again become popular in India
- Nine auspicious stones used in a single ornament.
- Has an astrological significance
- Used to adorn the idols of God and Goddesses
- Mainly seen on the statues in the temples
- Quite popular among Indian women.
- Mainly used for rings, chains, bracelets necklaces, nose rings, toe rings, earrings and heavy kadas
- Worn according to the person ‘s astrological charts
- Gemstones are very popular among Indian citizens.
- Made of wood, bone, shells, clay, and crude metal, by tribals
- Holds a distinct rustic charm
- Also called costume jewellery
- Trend conscious
- Made up of lighter and cheaper material
- Keeps on changing as per changing needs
The famous traditional ornaments are namely:
- Sarpech (Traditional Rajasthan Head jewellery)
- Kada ( bracelets)
- Vanki (arm ornament)
- Linga Padakka Muthu Malai ( Necklace from Tamil Nadu)
- Nath (Nose-ring)
- Oddiyanam/ Kamarbandh (Waist Ornament)
- Jhumka (Ear Ornament)
- Jadanagam ( Hair Ornament)
- Hathphool ( Hand Ornament)
- Pahzeb ( Traditional Indian Anklet )
- Maangtika (Head Ornament)
- Mangalsutra and Thali ( Collar neck piece or longer neck piece for married women)
- Kangan (Bangles)