The many colours of Indian jewellery
Indian jewellery has a wonderful history of craftsmanship. The multiple cultures that make up our country have seen numerous jewellery forms being created, not just with precious stones but with enamel, lacquer and more. There exists several techniques that employs the intricate use of colour, without using precious stones.
The artists creating these pieces are gradually dwindling, making their work all the more precious. Here is a look at three of these jewellery styles that make for interesting collections today.
Jadau: Originating in Rajasthan, Jadau is a form of engraved jewellery that combines enamel and Meenakari work. It involves a group of craftsmen, each of whom have a specific task to complete in the making of a piece. While designing the piece is the work of the Chiterias, craftsman called Ghaarias create the holes meant for filling. The Meenakari work is does by a specialist enameller and finally the goldsmith does the final setting of gold.
Meenakari: This form is believed to have come down with the Persians, with the word ‘Minoo’ referring to heaven and also the colour azure in Persian. Gold is the base of this jewellery, which is then engraved with floral and animal patterns and filled in with enamel colours of blue, green, yellow and red. The craftsmen who create these pieces are known as Meenakars.
Thewa: This is a form of hand-crafted designer jewellery that makes use of 23-carat gold coloured sheets that are infused with multi-coloured glass to create intricate patterns. Originally from Rajasthan, this form of jewellery has a long making process. Intricate designs are engraved into sheets of gold that are slightly larger than the final piece. The designs are usually of birds, trees and animals in a delicate setting. Once created, these are filled in with multi-coloured broken glass to create the final look.
These three forms of jewellery have come down to us through the years and are still being made today. They often find a place in wedding trousseaus.