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Golconda diamonds, sapphires from Kashmir and pearls from the Gulf of Mannar were coveted and drew merchants across land and sea to India.
For the rulers, jewels were a statement of power, prosperity and prestige. But for Indian women, jewellery was, and is, in many parts considered a social and economic security, the value of which will almost always appreciate, never depreciate.
Ornaments excavated from Indus Valley Civilisation sites Photo Source At that time, India was the largest manufacturer and exporter of beads to the world. India was also home to the diamond and invented the diamond drill, which was then taught to the Romans. The craftsmen of the Indus Valley Civilisation used semi-precious material like carnelian, agate, turquoise, faience, steatite and feldspar, fashioning them into tubular or barrel shapes, decorating them with carvings, bands, dots and patterns, or setting them minutely with gold.
Going by the jewellery they made and wore, the ancient people of the Indus Valley Civilisation were an extremely sophisticated lot with a finely developed aesthetic sense, backed by intricate engineering skills. Take for instance the necklace excavated from Mohenjodaro now on display at the jewellery gallery of the National Museum in Delhi. The necklace, dating back nearly 5, years, is lined with pendants of banded agate and jade beads suspended by a thick gold wire that passes through a perfectly drilled hole in each bead.
The sheet gold forehead ornament, for instance, is of a shape that you will find women still wearing in different parts of India. The Rajasthani borla is a close approximation, as is the ornament that Didarganj Yakshi, one of the finest examples of ancient Indian sculpture, wears prominently in the middle of her forehead. Yet despite the relative simplicity of these early pieces, Indian jewellery was about to become much more complex in its style and workmanship.
In the 2, years after the decline of Mohenjodaro, the Indian craftsman had polished his skills immensely. Temple jewellery Photo Source Initially, these intricate pieces were crafted solely with the purpose of adorning the idol. However, with the passage of time, dancers who regaled audiences at the temple with their renditions of devotional pieces began to wear imitations of the jewellery style adopted for the idols.
Along with the spread of Bharatnatyam, temple jewellery became an accessible style and soon made its way into the world of trousseau and heirloom pieces.
Temple jewellery is generally large and chunky, with figures of various gods and goddesses in gold fused to or forming the pendant on pearl string necklaces. This supernatural potency ascribed to jewelry is exemplified by the navaratna, an amulet or necklace set with nine types of precious stones, which together symbolize the nine gods of the Hindu universe.
A navaratna necklace Photo Source The advent of Mughal rule further embellished the world of Indian jewellery.
The fusion of Indian and Central Asian styles and patterns resulted in a great outburst of ornamentation, elegant and exquisite, and of a lush extravagance never seen before.
Although traces of enamelling in jewellery the reverse side of each jewel is covered with intricate enamel work have been found at the ancient town of Taxila, this technique reached its zenith only under the Mughals. In fact, Mughal patronage provided the platform for the development of existing traditions in jewellery making, as well as the creation of innovative techniques. This intricate pendant was created in the late 16th century for the Mughals.
The kundan method of setting stones in pure gold was also perfected by artisans in the Mughal period.
Here, the gold used for jewellery was fused at room temperature. Another technique that was developed by the Mughals was the inlaying of stones with gold. Precious metals with hammered relief decoration and enamelling, the incrustation of jade with patterns, with stem-work of gold and leaves and flowers in stones, were techniques that produced a treasure of designs. The Mughals loved spectacular pieces such as this rigid collar-necklaces which is studded with gems and is designed to cascade down the neck.
Photo Source The repetitive colour palette of green, red and white in Mughal designs corresponds to the intensive use of emeralds, rubies and diamonds. Izak, a string advice dating older man being, revived, his barking spell blushing vulnerable.
The Fascinating History of India's Jewels and Jewellery
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Maharajas, Myths and Mysteries: The Fascinating History of India’s Jewels and Jewellery
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