Evolution of the Evergreen Jhumkis
There are certain pieces of Indian jewellery that will remain a popular choice across time. The jhumkas or jhumkis, as they are also known, have been part of a lady’s jewellery box from time immemorial. Right from the intricately designed earrings for the royal families of yore to the lighter and more colourful versions worn by little girls these days, the jhumkis have come a long way.
Almost every state in the country has their version of the jhumki and these are easily distinguishable from the design, and precious metals and stones used. Traditionally, gold jhumkis were made completely of gold and with intricate filigree work. The bells hanging from them would be single or multi-layered. The layers would be represented in a descending order size of bells. With a larger number of bells, the earrings would be supplemented with a designed ear chain and hair pin attachment to take the weight off the ears.
These earrings found their way into South India as a part of the Bharatanatyam attire. Single jhumki bells with red kemp stones and surrounded by pearls instead of gold bells make up this version. They are usually part of a set that comes with a similarly patterned ear chain and thick maang tikka. The stone embedded in these jhumkas are often encircled in gold for a more defined look.
In Gujarat, the evolution of the jhumkis saw them turn to silver. These are also of oxidized metal and are conical rather than circular in shape. They are paired with ghaghra-cholis of bright colours and have a way of making the wearer’s face look slim. Traditional craft forms of Meenakari and Kundan from Rajasthan and Jaipur also have their rendition of the jhumkis with minute designs being used on the earrings along with coloured enamel and precious metal.
Hyderabad, famous for its pearls use the jhumkis to highlight the most beautiful pearls that they have. From jhumkis with the traditional bells to those that look like streamers of gold and pearl, the designs are aplenty.
Today, with trendy jewellery becoming increasingly popular, the jhumki still continues to find a space. Blended along with western jewellery patterns, there are several jhumki designs that see them attached to large hoops. These earrings are also studded with crystals today, giving them a completely different character in a traditional design.
The design of jhumkis today have grown to include ear chains and extensions that may be pinned into the hair. Each of these designs is an evolution on a classic design that continues to find space no matter what the current fashion trends may be.