There is a lot of value attached to each and every jewelry piece worn by women. Knowing about the significance of Indian jewelry and its culture, and heritage, helps us to understand the symbolism behind every piece worn.
Dating back to the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, the origin of jewelry was simple – made from pebbles, animal skins, shells, strings and crystals or stones. Early man used these materials to adorn their bodies symbolizing recognition, power and a status of leadership.
It is during this time, in the period of the Indus Valley, metals were used to make jewelry. In the 16th century, Mughals brought about innovative techniques changing the aesthetic shapes and designs of pieces. Jewelry started developing as an art form using gems, stones and metals. It was only the most wealthy who could afford to wear jewelry embellished with gold and precious gems, and every piece of jewelry became associated with power, wealth and status.
From possessing fine pieces of jewelry to becoming a symbol of social status, jewelry held great power in it’s own right. Gold was considered to be blessed by the gods and slowly, seeped into every statue, every temple art and every household symbolizing power, great achievement and success.
India’s jewelry design is known for its history dating back to the Imperial era. It was the first to mine diamonds with mines located in Hyderabad. Diamonds, were used as gifts, as they represented prestige and security and not to forget, symbolism for immortality.
Jewelry design started changing in style as European influences took over India. It was in the 19th and 20th century that famous jewelry houses such as Cartier, Van Cleep & Arpels, Mellerio, Chaumet among others started designing for Indian Kings and Queens. Their designs were inspired from France. There was a fusion of design where Cartier used south Indian motifs of flowers in their designs.
Indian jewellery in its true sense is ornate in its design and workmanship. The designs are inspired by all kinds of traditional dance forms, nature, and symbols. The sheer number of items forming the jewelry of an Indian woman is numerous, ranging from earrings and necklaces to pieces for adorning
the hair, hip, feet, and feet.
It is over these years, Indian women and jewellery have gone hand in hand. It is now after so many decades, that we are witnessing a shift in preference from viewing jewellery as an investment to rather aesthetically appealing pieces of form and design.