The history of Indian Jewelry: Part II

09 Feb / 16
The history of Indian Jewelry: Part II
The first of our two part series explored the evolution of Indian jewelry from the ancient to the medieval times. This part of the series will try and understand why we Indians are indeed jewel crazy! We asked several people about what jewelry means to them and their answers will help us figure out the economic, social, religious and cultural significance to us as a people. As family heirlooms: A few days ago I was walking down the streets of Chira Bazaar, Mumbai’s diamond district when I ran into this beautiful woman, who was wearing this really intricate set of earrings. I struck up a conversation with her about the stunning earrings. She smiled and replied that the unusual earrings were a family keepsake and originally belonged to her 'aaji' or grandmother, who in turn had bequeathed them to her. She said that sentimentality apart, the earrings were classy and sophisticated and went well with almost all her outfits which is why she kept on wearing them. For millennia, Indian families have considered jewelry as an auspicious gift, receiving and gifting jewelry were common practice and jewelry that went with a bride's trousseau became an indelible part of the history and commonwealth of the family she was marrying into. As a good investment: Meghana Mishra, a software engineer and newlywed had this to say, "My family has always believed that jewelry is a good investment. A single piece of jewelry has the potential to bail you out of trouble." She goes on to narrate the story of her grandfather who started a business by obtaining a loan against the family jewelry. Millions of people all over India, view jewelry as a viable, stable and depreciation resistant asset. Considering the fact that jewelry, just like land or gold appreciates steadily, it is easy to see why this holds true. With the world markets constantly flirting with recession, financial advisers in the west have also started advising clients to look at making investments in jewelry. As symbols of faith Jewelry and religion in India have a deep seated relationship. Temple towns like Tirupati, Somnath and others have great traditions of jewelry making and design. Often times, offerings of gold and diamonds were made to temples as a thanksgiving offering for favours received. Tiny lockets and pendants of Gods and Goddesses are commonplace and often fashioned from the metal that symbolized the God or Goddess. As a symbol of love Like the West, there is a growing section of Indian men and women who are now looking at Western patterns and the occasional gifting, like an eternity ring to supplement a diamond ring or wedding band they may already own. Says Disha Pathak, a stylist, “I have people coming to me with requests to design or find them rings that are more for embellishment or as a symbol of the way they feel about a person, rather than a wedding band. The ages of buyers is also getting younger, ample proof of the growing purchasing power of the youth. We would be delighted to hear from you. You may join in the conversation below in the comments section.
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