The exquisite appeal of Pachchikam or Pachhi jewelry has helped it acquire a vogue status in the contemporary world. This centuries-old Indian jewelry art has suddenly been revived by contemporary jewelry designers. This handcrafted jewelry art, which was once adorned only by the European Royalty ( in the early 16th century) is now fast replacing traditional gold ornaments and is a big hit amongst the youth. Pachchikam bangles, earrings, necklaces, armlets, trinkets and head gears have already become wardrobe staples.
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Resemblance to Kundan
Pachchikam bears striking resemble to Kundan jewelry of Jaipur as both involve elaborate stonework using single un-cut diamonds known as Polkis and other semi-precious stones. But on closer inspection, one can notice that Pachchikam appears to be cruder and is more fragile as compared to Kundan. Also, usually silver is chosen as a base for Pachchikam, while Kundan setting is done in gold foil. The former is cheaper than the latter and has a close resemblance to platinum.
It is believed that this craft style was developed by the artisans of Kutch centuries ago, but there are also accounts stating that the Pachchikam jewelry was adorned by European nobility in the early 16th century. So, only a little is known about the history of Pachchikam jewelry. Moreover, it is believed that the new version of Pachchikam is a fusion of both as it seems to have a strong ethnic background, but also looks like the type of jewelry typically spotted in portraits of British dignitaries.
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Another theory suggests that the basic art of Pachchikam jewelry reached the shores of India as a result of strong trade and commerce links with the Europeans and the ingenious Indian craftsmen customised it to look like Indian art.
Typically, silver is used as a base for designing Pachchikam jewelry as it highly malleable and lustrous. Also, this setting encases various un-cut precious and semi-precious gemstones in addition to glasswork. The fabrication of this jewelry takes place in Kutch, using a number of techniques that have trickled down from one generation to another. The word Pachchikam seems to be derived from the word Pachchigar, meaning a goldsmith.
The process of crafting a Pachchikam ornament is complex, labour intensive and time-consuming. Firstly, a silver encasing is made for Pachchikam jewelry setting. During this step, silver is melted and pushed into suitable moulds for shaping. Next, semi-precious stones are inserted in this casing to create a suitable pattern. Then, the grooves are filed on it. This is how a handcrafted piece of Pachchikam jewelry becomes ready to be adorned by the royalty.
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The charm and aesthetic appeal of this art lies in its inherent crudeness. Also, this art appears to be heavy and used to be only worn on special occasions and festivities. However, the modern generation creates a good match of it even with their western dresses and look fabulous adorning it.
Since each ornament is hand crafted, it is difficult to recreate the same design over again to the very bits. Also, the artisans who are highly conservative prefer to stick to their age-old patterns instead of experimenting with new ones. Further, this setting cannot be mass-produced, which makes it all the more exclusive. The exclusivity of the designs of Pachchikam jewelry makes it more sought after by the jewelry lovers who wish to look unique in the things they adorn.
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How to Wear Pachchikam Jewelry?
Pachchikam broaches, necklaces, earrings, anklets and bangles are readily available in the market. Since the materials used are not every expensive, the final Pachchikam ornament is affordable and easy on buyers’ pocket. But, due to its flashy character, this art from is reserved for special festivities and celebrations like weddings, etc. Below are a few tips that can help you wear Pachchikam jewelry in a chic and fashionable manner.
1. Keep it Modest:
Since the Pachchikam ornaments look flamboyant, it is suggested to keep the ensemble as simple as possible. Also, try keeping the make-up as subtle and earthy as possible.
Without even a second though, you can always match it up with your evergreen black dress and head straight to the party. In the past few years, it has gained a good place in night parties where looking unique is everyone’s utmost desire. Pachchikam is undoubtedly one of the best options to quickly add that uniqueness to one’s personality.
2. Less is More:
Bear this mantra in your mind when you dress up. Wear only a piece or two of Pachchikam ornaments at one time. For instance, if you are pinning up an elaborate Pachchikam brooch to your dress, then just go for the bangles and forgo the necklace. It is mainly suggested to emphasise on the Pachchikam jewelry adorned by the person; wearing too much of it makes the look complicated and undermines the uniqueness of the jewelry.
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3. Ethnic with a Twist:
Wearing Pachchikam jewels can help you achieve the right balanced Indo-western look that you always longed for. In the modern era, attaining a blend of traditional and western look is craved by many to turn everyone’s head. The fact can’t be denied that embellishing oneself with Pachchikam jewelry gives a feeling of adorning ethnicity with a twist which adds that glam quotient to one’s personality.
4. Be Ready to Experiment:
Pairing up a colourful Pachchikam choker with a white tank top and a trendy pair of jeans may be a great idea. This might create a chic modern yet ethnic look. Such experiments always go perfect with Pachchikam jewelry as it easily goes with both traditional Indian and Western wears.
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Pachchikam ornaments are relatively cheap and have safely made their way to the runaway and have even trickled down to the fashion streets. They have become an integral part of a bride’s wedding trousseau. Below are a few trendy looks using Pachchikam jewelry that you will definitely fall in love with:
Looking for something as flashy as Kundan, but more fragile? Then your search is over. Recently a model wore a royal blue sari with a set of Victorian style silver Pachchikam earrings and necklace, which looked perfect. The dangling ornamental flowers were a heart stealer and became a thing of love at first sight for women.
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Run-way Bride Look
Create a stunning bridal look, with affordable Pachchikam jewelry just the way a model did. She wore a golden-mustard coloured lehenga with pink outline and amped up her look with a trendy jaalidar Pachchikam piece that looked like it was lifted from the Jodha Akhbar era. The encased pearl dangling in the middle of the necklace and the bottom of the jhumkis completely stole the show. Also, the matching bangles and ring completed the entire look.
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So, Pachchikam jewelry is a perfect choice for all kinds of occasions as it can be easily matched with any kind of dress if worn proportionately according to the attire. Whether for festive occasions or bridal look or for donning a perfect Indo-western look, Pachchikam jewelry has proved to be the right choice.