Many millennia ago, the fabled “Samudra Manthan” had yielded the divine nectar of immortality for the Gods and Demi-gods of Indian mythology. What very few of us know is that the massive “Manthan” had also churned out 14 precious ratnas (or gems), which were arguably the ancestors of India’s rich heritage of gems and jewellery as we know it today.
Down the ages, nothing has quite matched up to the charm of jewels for men and women around the world. From boho neckpieces to chic bracelets, signature bridal pieces and effervescent festive trends, they can make every look come alive. And while it is true that a diamond is a woman’s best friend, the traditional handmade craftsmanship that creates unique pieces from the plethora of beads, metals and stones, make Indian jewellery an even greater choice. So let’s look a bit further than our grandma’s priceless possessions and unveil the world of exquisite handcrafted Indian jewels.
A 5000-year-old form of handcrafted jewellery, Indian beadwork can trace its origins as far back as the Indus Valley Civilization. It has come a long way since then, with artisans today creating spectacular handcrafted pieces through fresh colours, textures and imagination with their inherited indigenous ‘Karigari’. The fused glass beads of Banaras and the carved silver beads of Karnal are show-stealers that add charisma to nearly every ensemble.
Enamelled jewellery (Meenakari)
When it comes to exquisite inlaid jewellery in elegant colours, look no further than the traditional Meenakari work. This intricate and ancient Persian craft of enamelling metals, especially gold, has transcended geographies. It was first brought to India by the Mughals during the 16th century and set its roots in India, thanks to Ajmer’s Raja Mansingh. Each handmade jewellery piece is painstakingly designed by a Chithera, before being engraved by a Sonar or Kalamkar and finally fused with beautiful hues by a highly skilled Meenakar. The regal neckpieces, jhumkas and bangles crafted with the traditional techniques of 'ek rang khula' (single colour enamelling) and 'panchrangi' (five coloured enamelling) add a boho-chic vibe to any festive wardrobe.
If there is one gem that has allured all with its timeless glamour and sophistication, it is a fresh sea pearl. It is believed that the undying love the Nizams of Hyderabad had for pearls, earned the city its sobriquet of the “City of Pearls”. Did you know that the traditional craftsmanship of pearl jewellery also comes from Hyderabad? For generations, artisan families have been creating delicate art with precious pearls. Know that each white pearl you own has a beautiful legacy behind it.
If you’ve grown up with enchanting stories of princes and princesses, look no further than Polki jewellery. When the Mughals came to India, they brought this magic technique with them . Uncut diamonds are moulded in their natural shape to restore their lustre and rustic feel, making every cut rare in its own right. Each handcrafted Polki is delicately crafted with elaborate Jadau or Takkar techniques, setting each gemstone into 24-carat gold foil with master craftsmanship. Opt for an in-trend, colour coordinated Polki to dazzle this season!
Make a statement
Whether you are a minimalist or love to make a statement with your mother’s jewels during festivals, nothing can beats the joy of owning a beautiful handcrafted piece of Indian heritage. And while one had to rely on family jewellers in ages gone by, today your choicest baubles are a click away on Amazon India, sourced from a wide and authentic seller network that always assures exquisite craftsmanship, fair prices and seamless deliveries.