India has a legacy of 5,000 years, the jewelry of India is a striking expression of the country’s aesthetic and cultural history. The various type of jewels that have survived the different periods and parts of our country gives references in literature, narrative on gemology, myths, legends, and history providing evidence of a tradition without equivalent in the world.
The history of jewelry in India is vaster than the history of the country itself. For more than 2,000 years, India was the individual supplier of gemstones to the world. Sapphires from Kashmir, Golconda diamonds, and pearls from the Gulf of Mannar were coveted and drew merchants across land and seas to India. For rulers all over the world, jewelry was a statement of power, success, status, and prestige. Not only women but men also wear jewelry to show their power and statement and also to look more handsome and royal. For Indian women, jewelry was and is somewhere considered a part of social and economic security. The value of this will almost always appreciate and never depreciate.
The Story of Indian jewelry begins 5,000 years ago in the Indus Valley. Nothing can ever match up to the jewelry and artifacts of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus valley jewelry Harappa and Mohenjo Daro have worn by both men and women were intricate work rich and sophisticated. Beautifully worked gold and silver jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pendants, and earrings have been found at Harappan sites. A hoard of jewelry made of gold, silver, and semi-precious stones was found at the small village site of Allahdino The Harappans used silver to emboss conch shells and to make vessels. We can find the use of Lead for making plumb bobs and in copper casting. The point is to be noted that two metal objects found at Lothal which contain iron. It can be called as an iron object. What this suggests is that the Harappans may have had some familiarity with iron smelting. With the simplicity of these early pieces, Indian jewelry was about to become much more complex in its style and workmanship.
Medieval Indian jewelry in the Mughal era
Ancient to medieval Indian designs were gently modified to incorporate various geometrical, floral, and nature-inspired designs. The combination of moon curve earrings, and tree and fish designs detailing a bunch of pearls which eventually became a regular feature of Mughal jewelry. Mughal period provides a platform for the development of traditional jewelry-making as well as they create the innovative technique of jewelry making. Heavy stonework and elaborate enameling are two major features that differentiate Mughal era jewelry.
The easy availability of metals like gold and silver along with precious and semi-precious stones have added an extra luxury to the jewelry worn by the people of India. Ancient Indian used jewelry for showing royalty. The royal families used jewelry made of precious metals and gemstones as a part of their outfits. At that period jewelry was also used as currency. Which is also mentioned in ancient Indian epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
In India, Jewellery forms an essential part of our culture and its use is not limited to human use. Jewelry is something that we wear to express ourselves more and to give a tint of style along with the class and sophisticatedness. The outfit is incomplete without jewelry. Most of us like traditional jewelry which represents our ethnic culture. It is quite interesting how different culture of the same country represents a different type of jewelry. In a country like India, which is the home of ethnic varieties, there are several types of accessories that are assigned to certain regional groups and places.
Different states of India have different stories to tell. It varies the culture and emotions of people. Starting from the north side of the country Jammu and Kashmir Jewellery holds a unique and remarkable jewelry culture. Kashmiri earrings, choker necklaces everything has been Inspired by mountainous style. Several pieces of jewelry in this country are made based on their regional mountainous designs.
Rajasthani Jewellery is from the home of the royal Rajputs who present royalty in every form. It has premium styles of accessories. Very well-known jewelry in present days like Kundan, Polki, Thewa, and Meenakari are forms of jewelry that originated in the state of Rajasthan.
Sikh Jewellery is one of the most famous styles to wear now days starting from Chudha, Nath, Kamar bandh, Payal, Toe rings, Necklace, and Jhumka. These are some basic Punjabi pieces of jewelry. All these jewels are made with a variety of precious metals like Gold or Diamond.
Bengali Jewellery is a pride for all women. This jewelry always gives an extraordinary divine look. Even the simplest jewelry can give an ever-lasting impact. Bengali jewelry is mostly made of gold which portrayed the class of the wearer. Kaan Bala, Chik necklace, Gold Churi, Nath, half-cut bangle, and tikli all of these are simultaneously well known and worn among the Bengalis.
South Indian Temple jewelry is a signature of southern origin. It presents uniqueness and gives an empowering look to the wearer. Temple style necklaces, earrings, Kamar bands, maang-tika are designed with divine figures of Gods and Goddesses on gold and diamond.
The story of Indian jewelry and its legacy is incomplete without mentioning two of the most famous gems in the world- The Kohinoor and The Hope Diamond.
The Kohinoor a priceless diamond the size of a ping pong ball has been passed down by the greatest rulers of massive empires in India. And the Hope Diamond is the largest blue diamond in the world and one of the most spectacular gems in the world. It is also known as a cursed stone that can bring ill luck to the owner.
This is how the legacy of Indian jewelry has begun and it is still going on. The journey of Indian jewelry from ancient to medieval is really mind-blowing. A country with rich culture and heritage also represents a legacy like this that is never found and seen. These are what make the country stand out in the world.