The Legacy Of Indian Jewellery

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    Apr 29, 2013
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The Legacy Of Indian Jewellery Photo by Ashish  Kaith

The origination of Indian jewellery can be traced back to the history of our nation. In the ancient times, Indian women felt the need to beautify themselves, thus leading to the creation of jewellery.  The inundation of precious stones and gems in the Indian land resulted in it being used in various forms of ornaments, to enhance one's beauty. The availability of these gems and metals was one of the reasons why foreigners were attracted to India. The reasons for owning jewellery now, and then has been different however. Earlier, it was to showcase their wealth, power and prestige in the society, whereas now, it is more of a symbol of having a secure financial investment.

What further adds to the charm and aura of Indian jewellery is that every part of the country has made its own contribution to the numerous styles of jewellery. For example, the delicate silver filigree work is well known in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, while jewellery with Meenakumari work, which consists of enamel in its jewels, is famous in Jaipur. Kundan jewellery made from precious and semi precious stones is widely used in Delhi. Another ancient type of jewellery, which originated from West Bengal is Navrattan, consisting of nine gemstones, namely ruby, sapphire, emerald, coral, turquoise, cat's eye, opal, pearl and diamond.

One of the lesser known types of jewellery is temple jewellery, which is widely used in Nagercoil, a city in the southern part of India. This type of jewellery has a massive fan following across the globe. It has obtained the name temple, as it was believed that Hindu Godesses and Gods adorned them, and were later worn by Devadasis and Maharanis. The stones used for this kind of jewellery are known as Kemp stones. Red and green, they are un-cut polished stones, which are utilised in making necklaces, pendants, earrings, nose rings, chokers etc.

Primarily, temple jewellery is used by Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancers. Since these dance forms and jewellery have originated around the same time, they go hand in hand. Though every corner of India boasts of its personal favourite type of jewellery, there is an increased curiosity amongst women to try different styles of ornaments for special occasions. Since the time of its invention, the art of jewellery making in India has improved, both in terms of designs and workmanship. Though the jewellery designs and styles are evolving constantly to suit the needs of the contemporary woman, there is no decrease in its elegance and charisma.


Ashish Kaith is a knowledgeable person, with the history of Indian jewellery always intriguing him, making him dwell further on the topic.

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