The history of Traditional Jewellery of India goes back to 5000 years. The designs and motifs in traditional Indian jewellery are inspired by nature like floral patterns using lotus, rose, paisley or different types of leaves.
Bird motifs of peacock and parrot are also frequently used. Lion (simha) or elephant tusks motif are very popular in South Indian jewellery. Traditional Indian jewellery is crafted in different techniques using various materials like gold, silver, lac, beads, ivory, mirrors, crystal and precious and semi precious gems.
Most Popular Forms of Traditional Indian Jewellery
Kundan is the purest form of gold thus Kundan jewellery is most expensive among traditional Indian gold jewellery. Kundan is the highly refined form of 24 carat gold. Different types of precious and semiprecious gems are used in Kundan work.
Kundan work was introduced in India by the Moguls and it was during the regime of Moguls that the craftsmen of Kundan jewellery located themselves in Rajasthan. They enjoyed royal patronage and Kundan jewellery became the symbol of royalty.
Meenakari or enamelled jewellery is very colourful. It originated in Rajasthan and it is now popular all over the world. In Meenakari jewellery various types of gems are studded in gold and then it is enamelled with different colours like blue, red, green, white and yellow.
It requires a lot of skill. Generally the patterns of a peacock, paisley or flowers are chosen in Meenakari designs. Meenakari is usually done on the reverse side of Kundan jewellery. Thus it can be worn on both sides.
Jadau jewellery also known as engraved jewellery is popular in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. In this kind of jewellery different types of precious and semi precious gems like ruby, diamond, emerald, pearls, sapphire etc. are intricately embedded in melted gold to make ornaments.
Polki (an uncut form of diamond) is normally used as the central stone. Jadau work involves team work where each craftsman is assigned to perform a different task such as stone cutting, polishing, setting and finishing. Apart from making jewellery Jadau work is popularly done on jewellery boxes using mirrors and beads etc.
Lac or Lacquer jewellery originally belonged to the tribal community of Rajasthan. Now it is a rage all over the world. Lac jewellery needs an expertise to mould lac in different forms for making ornaments like Bangles, Earrings, Necklace, Bajuband, Maang tikka etc. Among all the ornaments lac bangles are most popular.
Bangles made with lac are considered auspicious for married women. It is mandatory for women of Rajasthan to wear lac bangles at all times. Lac jewellery comes in bright colours and it is decorated with different coloured beads and small mirrors that are cut round or in shape of a diamond.
Apart from the above mentioned forms there are various other forms of Traditional Indian Jewellery prevalent in the country. Like you have Antique jewellery, Temple jewellery, Tribal jewellery, Stone jewellery, Navratna jewellery and Filigree jewellery to name a few.