Indian Jewellery is known to be distinctive, recognisable at a single glance. This comes from the fact that the jewellery making techniques and designs are interwoven with the country’s rich history. Each significant era brought with it numerous new innovations in metalworking and visual artistry originating from various cultures and geographies. Let’s take a walk through the most popular ones through the ages:
Kundan Jewellery is the technique used to embed precious and semi- precious stones in metal Jewellery, especially gold. This style originated in Rajasthan during the Mughal rule and has since then been adopted and perfected by jewellery artisans all over the Country. It is a tedious and delicate process where fine sheets of metal are used as the base, with smaller sheets being bent into resin-filled cup-like shapes to house the gems.
Meenakari is the enamelling process by which colour is imparted to certain areas of the ornament by pouring liquid enamel into ridge-like gaps in the metal. Many times both Kundan and Meenakari work are seen on the same ornaments. The enamelling is most often done on the reverse side of the ornament to give the front an intricate and detailed finish. Jaipur is considered the hub of Meenakari jewellery that witnessed a peak during Raja Man Singh’s rule.
Jadau also has its origins in Rajasthan. It is the hand-working technique that involves skilled craftsmen engraving intricate patterns and motifs into pure gold metal. Since ancient times, Jadau karigars insist on working with only 23 karat gold and above. The reason being only pure gold has the property of being malleable to allow shaping it into intricate patterns.
Polki Jewellery makes use of the rustic and raw finish of uncut unpolished diamonds. The Polki style was brought into India by the Mughal rulers and saw it’s rise during Akbar’s rule.
The name symbolizes the 9 most precious gems and the style of Indian jewellery is considered to be the most auspicious of all. This style features the 9 precious gems of the Hindus together in intricate arrangements – diamond, ruby, emerald, coral, pearl, yellow sapphire, blue sapphire, hessonite and cat's eye. Each of these gems is considered to possess a particular cosmic power, and the wearer is bestowed with their collective powers.