Gemstones are the soul of costume jewelry.Â They have been used since the ancient times, to beautify jewelry items. Their colour, lustre, cutting style and rarity, is what sets them apart from other mineral crystals and defines their value. Also, their extraordinary healing powers are not hidden from the world.
Photo Credit: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/books/jaipur-literature-festival-2015-cartoonist-mandy-ord-writer-annie-zaidi-revisit-salims-anarkali-give-her-superpowers-737249.html/
History of Gemstone Jewelry in India
Several pieces of stunningly carved handmade gemstone jewelry have been discovered in the remains of ancient civilisations, highlighting the fact that gemstone jewelry was popular even then. Also, several Indian scriptures like Mahabharata and Ramayana, document the mystical healing powers of gemstones and how they were adorned by kings and queens to increase their process.
Further, it is said that it was Indiaâ€™s rich gemmological reserves that fascinated the Mughals to set up their empire in India. In the Mughal era, the stone craftsmanship prospered in all parts of India. Many new forms of gemstones and semi-precious stones were used to create glorious jewelry pieces to compliment the royal familyâ€™s day to day attires. However it was during the Victorian empire patronage that India emerged as a trading hub of precious as well as semi-precious stones which were immaculately set in to create marvellous stone studded-jewelry items.
Even today India produces some of the finest gemstone studded jewels in the world.
Photo Credit: http://tribune.com.pk/story/650897/mughal-jewels-a-collectors-treasure/
Different Forms of Semi-Precious and Precious Gemstone Jewelry prevalent in India
There are several different ways in which semi-precious and precious gemstones are set by Indian jewel designers and crafters. Some of these art forms are as ancient as 5000 years, while on the other hand, some art forms are still under experimental stage.
1. Kundan Jewelry:
This form of Indian gemstone jewelry flourished under the royal patronage of Mughals and still is an integral part of any traditional wedding trousseau. In this art form, a gem is mounted with a pure gold foil to lend it a unique identity and to isolate it from the neighbouring gems. The city of Jaipur, Rajasthan, is very popular for its Kundan jewelry.
Photo Credit: http://www.clickindia.com/detail.php?id=128650482/
Modern adaptation: Enamelling with vivid colours has brought about several variations in Kundan art. Also, silver set Kundan jewelry is highly popular amongst youngsters in Rajasthan, Punjab and Bihar.
2. Jadau Jewelry:
Jadau jewelry is also known as â€śEngraved Jewelryâ€ť and is adorned on auspicious occasions like marriage or any other festivities. This unique artwork uses a number of semi-precious and precious stones, crystals and beads, which are embedded in a solid gold base. The indigenous skills of Indian craftsmen have made this form highly popular in the west as well.
Modern Adaptation: Nowadays, jadau art is complemented with some Meenakari or enamelling which lends the ornament a unique colour scheme. Also, a Polki or uncut diamond is chosen as a central stone to further add to the aesthetic value of the piece.
3. Lac Jewelry:
The versatility and vbeauty of Lac jewelry (Lacquer) has made it popular all over the world. Though the art was earlier confined to just Rajasthani tribes, today its market is huge. Lac ornaments like Timaniyan, Bajuband and Bangles form an indispensible part of several designer collections.
Photo Credit: http://www.indiaonline.in/About/culture/Indian-Jewelry.html/
Modern adaptation: Earlier, mirrors and glass beads were used by the indigenous tribes to prettify the lac ornaments, but now semi-precious stones are also studded to add to the aesthetics. Also, since this form of jewelry in comparatively affordable it is quite popular amongst the youngsters.
4. Navratna Jewelry:
In Navratna jewelry, nine auspicious stones are set together in a single ornament to ensure the welfare of the adorner. These nine gems are ruby, pearl, diamond, emerald, coral, catâ€™s eye, sapphire, topaz and garnet; each for a specific purpose. For instance, Ruby is incorporated to ward off evil spirits, while the coral is for curing diseases and for sharper memory; pearls are for maintaining peace, topaz for long life of the wearer and emeralds to evade deception.
Modern Adaptation: Traditionally, the Navratna combination was mostly used in rings and pendants, but now they are used to beautify a number of ornaments including earrings, bangles, armlets and various others. As it consists of a variety of colours; it suits well with various Indian attires.
Photo Credit: https://www.wedmegood.com/blog/10-things-we-saw-on-shahidkishaadi-that-made-us-go-wheeeeee-also-secret-wedding-tips-stashed-inside/
5. Pachchikam Jewelry
This form originated centuries ago in Gujarat, and still forms an essential component of contemporary fashion jewelry. It has a striking similarity to Kundan work, but sports a cruder and fragile look. Usually uncut semi-precious stones and glassworks are used to make Pachchikam jewelry. Its aesthetical charm is enough to make anyone fall for it.
Modern Adaptation: Though earlier gold and platinum where used as a base for Pachchikam artwork, now silver is used to make it a little pocket-savvy.
6. Beaded Jewelry
Beaded Jewelry, was once limited to parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab but is now well known in all parts of the world. During the olden days, stone studded beads were strung together and often used as hair accessories, anklets and armlets. Also, hard mineral crystals were used as beads to embellish necklaces and other ornaments.
Photo Credit: http://alexderavin.blogspot.in/2010/08/joys-of-impulse-purchasing-nagaland.html and https://www.flickr.com/photos/waltercallens/2390805346/
Modern Adaptation: A unique combination of bead and stone jewelry ornaments is now readily available. In these pieces, the stones are studded in the central part while the beads are threaded in the periphery to make the ornament extraordinary.
7. Contemporary Stone Jewelry:
This form of jewelry uses an amalgamation of different art forms to create a fashionable and trendy ornament. Typically, a combination of semi-precious and precious gemstones is used in an unconventional way to create an up-to-date jewel. Since, this type of jewelry sways in and out of fashion very fast, sterling silver is widely used as a base for setting the stones. Rarely, even copper and brass are also used as the foundation metal to make the ornaments more budget-friendly.
Why Indian Astrology recommends Gemstone studded Jewelry?
Gemstones are not just popular for their aesthetic properties, but also their mystical healing powers. Based on oneâ€™s astrological chart a gemstone can be used to bring in health, wealth and prosperity in a personâ€™s life. Also, even scientifically proven facts suggest that colours and lustre of gems can be used to cure various illnesses and diseases. Below is a brief account on how different stones and gemstones can affect a personâ€™s life.
- Ruby:Â Ruled by the sun, this gemstone blesses the adorner with beauty and health. Also, it can be used to revamp oneâ€™s love life.
- Pearl: This white gemstone instils values like honesty, purity and innocence. It has also been documented to help in boosting concentration power.
- Coral: Ruled by Mars, this gemstone is known to promote creativity. Also, it has been known to make the adorner wise and enthusiastic.
- Sapphire: This gemstone promotes universal love and is helpful for those seeking spiritual knowledge.
- Diamond:Â Known as a symbol of purity, diamond induces fearlessness and clarity of vision.
- Hessonite: Hessonite protects the wearer from accidents and keeps the evil spirits at bay. Also, it brings wealth and prosperity.
- Catâ€™s eye: This gemstone can strengthen the adornerâ€™s mind and bless him with undeterred determination and will power.
- Emerald: This green stone brings good fortune to the wearer.
Photo Credit: http://www.iijw.org/laxmi_jewelry.html
Moreover, semi-precious stones can also be used in gem therapy because they have a predominant colour, which can help ease off symptoms of depression, stress, insomnia, anorexia and many other diseases. Therefore, apart from the visual appeal, gemstones also have therapeutic properties that make stone-studded jewels even more valuable.