The Makara Motif: why is it so important in jewellery?

The image on top is a vajra flaying knife from 15th century Tibet. The vajra comes out of the mouth of a makara.  An object of beauty for that darkest of purposes: to kill The cap of the pendant takes the form of [...]

The Wonder that is India

"The range of jewellery available in India in terms of materials used, designs and techniques of craftsmanship is unparalleled," says author and jewellery expert Usha Balakrishnan.  She gives examples. The Nagas make jewellery using beetle wings, feathers and bones. Bengalis use conch shells for their bangles. Andhra brides adorn their braids with the [...]

The Remarkable Indian Artisans

To create this stunning kavacha requires a flight of the imagination. You have to imagine this beautiful body and then sculpt it in that most elastic (and fragile) of materials: gold. Creativity requires many things, but imagination is key.  To connect disparate things, to see what others cannot see. [...]

Shobhaa De

Jewellery memories as a child?  What my beautiful mother possessed-- which was not very much! I now own and wear her simple mangalsutra, and the four gold bangles I was given when I turned 18. My father was a bureaucrat and retired as Additional Law Secretary, Government of India. [...]

Padmini Kumari

Jewellery!!! It’s never enough . I have never heard anyone saying in my family we have enough. They literally find excuses to buy more. Because it’s easily transferred from one generation to other and it is the most transformative thing we can wear. [...]

Gayatri Rangachari Shah

My father was a diplomat so I didn’t grow up in India.  Because we were overseas a lot, the culture of dressing up and being so adorned wasn't as grand as it is at home.  The way we bedeck ourselves with jewellery is at a different level from the rest of the world.  [...]

Madhu Natraj

What are your memories of jewellery growing up? My childhood memories are like a bouquet of sensory perceptions and jewellery features quite prominently in them.  I recall the sound of my mother’s gold and glass bangles clinking delicately, the gentle rustle of her silk ‘pallu’, as she opened the iron almirah that [...]

Objects of adornment

Behold these spectacular gold funerary sandals:  invented by the Egyptians for the afterlife.  They are used for that most casual of reasons: to beautify yourself, and for that most weighty of objectives: as an investment for the afterlife.  Jewels go back back in time to the dawn of civilization.  [...]

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 [...]

Jewels and Me father came to see my mother in the hospital delivery room. She handed him the baby and he pressed a gold bangle into her palm. “Ponn kodutha kai-kku pon kodukkaren,” he said with a shy grin. Ponn in Tamil means daughter.  Pon, without the end emphasis, also means gold.  My father, ever [...]

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