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Sunday, October 23, 2011
In the jewel making history of the nation, the Mughal Empire was considered the most important. Believed to possess divine powers, the Maharaja was central to the functioning of the state. Therefore, only he was believed worthy of wearing a lot of jewelry.
The most popular of jewelry forms worn by the Maharaja was the Navratna (meaning nine gems). This was an amulet made of nine precious stones. Diamond, pearl, ruby, sapphire, emerald, topaz, cat’s eye, coral, and red zircon are the nine gems.
The diamond, the most powerful of stones is cut in many number of ways. Diamonds had a lot of significance attached to them by Mughal Emperors. They even thought it to be their path to immortality and even had their names as well as titles inscribed on to it.
Turbans were adorned with these and even used in the making of rings, necklaces and amulets. European styles inspired from the Renaissance period were how the kings' rings were made. Thumb rings had a common pattern of a scrolling leaf on the inside.
This was a time when turban jewelry made a debut. The jewelry of Emperor Akbar was a mix of Iranian as well as European cultures. Kalghi or turban plumes made of gold threads and seen in Safavid paintings were created at that time.
Necklaces that the king wore were made of pearls, sometimes mixed with gold and other times with gold and even gemstones. When Jahangir came to power, using a heavy stone of pearl or ruby along with the plume came into fashion. The emperors of those times even had gold slippers to wear.
Several medieval accounts tell of the Kings of Tanjore who wore minimal clothing laced with jewels. The King of Maabar in fact, wore just a loin cloth that had a lining of emeralds, rubies as well as sapphires. He even had a necklace created out of 104 pearls and which came all the way to his waist.
Several styles have come about thanks to the amount of attention paid to jewelry among Indian royalty. The Mughals brought about the Meenakari and Kundan styles. Human head beads and funnel-like designs were some of the designs by the royalty among the Nagas.
The trousseau of women in Indian royalty had jewelry as an important component. These women came to their husband's palace with their jewelry stocked in massive jewelry cases made of lacquer, marble, onyx and more. Hand carvings, precious stones etc were used to enhance these jewelry boxes even further.
Up to now, jewelry has an important role in Indian cultures. It is essential to every auspicious occasion.
This article was written by Ruth D’Souza Prabhu of MarqART Gift Shop. Our jewelry boxes are original works of art, no two creations are the same. Each wood shown has its own unique wood grain pattern and color. MarqART comes from combining the words marquetry (wood inlay) + Art (a creation of beauty) an apt name for our products. A fine addition to your dressing table or as a gift. Please visit http://www.marqartgiftshop.com to browse & buy exotic jewelry boxes that will give you a lifetime of pleasure!