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 [...]

Welcome to Overview

Emeralds, like transparent leaves around the neck. Rubies flash fire on the ears. Sapphire like the deepest oceans drown us in their mystery. Pearls, like the milky moon cools the neck. Gold sparkles sunshine around our waist. Diamonds flash lightning wherever they touch. These exceptionally fine pieces of gold [...]

By |2019-09-30T19:29:03+05:30July 22nd, 2019|Categories: Overview, Welcome|Tags: , , , , |20 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 [...]

Makara Across Cultures

It first appears in a seal in the Indus Valley-- a fearsome sea creature that overturns ships going on ocean voyages. Every subsequent text, ranging from the Puranas to the Jatakas talk about the gruesome makara that kills voyaging sailors. No wonder early Indians developed a distaste for ocean crossings and forbade [...]

Snake Worship Through the Ages

Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala. These are the seven underground worlds occupied by the snake gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology. These are dreamy worlds, with swaying serpents who have gems on their heads, the light from which illumines their surroundings.  There is no pain, just [...]

Snakes and the Human Imagination

Serpent motifs permeate jewellery.  But the human obsession with serpents goes way back In Egypt, snakes symbolized royalty.  As far back as 2500 B.C., the burial mounds in Egypt had solid gold bracelets made using the snake motif.  When the Buddha was in a state of blissful enlightenment, the [...]

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

Jewels my Grandmother Wore

As you will see, the range of answers is staggering. Jewels are not merely gems and metal. They are carriers of memory, keepers of identity, and markers of life’s most cherished moments. Being a Rajasthani Baniya, my grandmother was adorned in a chaniya choli. Head covered. Tattooed around the [...]

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 [...]

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