Who decided what to adorn

Each culture chooses to adorn different parts of the body.  Some are unique to India. Like these gold anklets decorated to the nth degree. The septum nose rings called bullukku, found in very few cultures. Jewels for different parts of the ear known as koppu or kunukku. We have [...]

Caste in Jewellery Making

Even though India is moving from a caste to a class-based society, caste is what artisan communities identify with. The deity from whom all karigars, artisans, achaaris, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, temple architects, weavers and creators claim descent. "See, Vishwakarma and his sons worked together on [...]

By |2019-09-30T19:20:14+05:30August 8th, 2019|Categories: Meaning, Tamilnadu|Tags: , , , , , , |14 Comments

Planets and Gems

"A jewel endowed with good characteristics brings good luck to the kings; the ones with bad luck, disaster.” So begins the magisterial Brihat Samhita, the 5th century text, written by Varahamihira in a chapter titled, Examination of Gems. Gems and Grihas are linked like brother and sister. According to the Jataka Parijata, a [...]

By |2019-09-27T00:13:47+05:30July 15th, 2019|Categories: Meaning, Overview|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

The Indian Aesthetic

These earrings, judging from their material worth, the excellence of craftsmanship, and the use of royal emblems (a winged lion and an elephant) as part of their design, were most probably made as royal commissions. In addition to clusters and rows of beads, each earring is decorated with [...]

Jewels and their Link to Tamil Literature

There are people in interior Tamilnadu who sing in sweet Tamil Of Sanga-thamizh literature, the Tolkaapiyam, Kurunthogai and Thirukkural. They quote the five great epics.  And in these lie the jewellery. Jivaka Cintamani (Fabulous Gem that gave jiva or life) Kundalakesi (Kundala refers to earrings) Valayapathi [...]

The Richest Region of Tamilnadu?

The creation myth of the Chettiars begins with a long arduous migration. Some say Naganadu (land of the snakes) but there is scant proof of that. What is known is that they were gem dealers in the rich coastal city of Poompuhar or Kaveripoompattinam. They had names such as Muthu and Vairam. Also [...]

Jewels as Amulets

Early humans used primarily flowers, seeds, branches and animal parts for ornaments. Later, through a magico-religious process, they discovered that these same ornaments could be used as amulets. This ancient Arabic proverb conjures up human caution.  Born of fear, we sought protection.  Amulets. The notion of the evil [...]

By |2019-09-27T16:23:05+05:30July 5th, 2019|Categories: Meaning, Overview|Tags: , , , , |13 Comments

Rooted in Festivals, Myth and Verse

Imagine if you are an ancient jewellery designer.  Like all creative folks, you take inspiration from nature– from things that surround you.  You live close to land and water so you draw from flowers, fruits, trees, birds, animals and sea animals. The question is: which flora or fauna do you pick? For all kinds [...]

Jewellery as Identity

What makes up your identity? Is it culture, tradition, and aesthetics? Or is it religion, faith, and rituals? Is it ideas and concepts? Or is it your habits, fitness levels and fashion? Most likely, it is all of the above. For many of us, how we dress and what we wear is part [...]

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