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Wearing jewelry inspired by India tradition

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Gorgeous jewelry and vivid colors are an essential part of India's culture
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India is steeped in rich tradition and that includes the jewelry that is worn

In India, jewelry is not an incidental accessory that one tosses on at the last moment, with little thought. Wearing jewelry inspired by India tradition is an integral part of culture, beauty, fashion and history.


Jewelry is highly valued in India and has a long and rich history. Indian jewelry traditions continue to be observed and the result is that jewelry is always an important element of one's appearance. Handcrafted Indian jewelry is inspired by beliefs, beauty, nature and the craftsmanship and imagination of the artisan who is designing the piece. Making and wearing jewelry is a tradition in this country and is a symbol of material blessings and divine abundance.


Centuries ago, Indian jewelers mastered the art of creating jewelry, mixing alloys, drawing fine wires, molding, inlay work setting stones, relief, plating, gilding and drawing silver and gold into thin wires.


Indian jewelry is crafted out of silver and gold, as well as from leaves, feathers, fruits, seeds, berries, flowers, the claws-, teeth- and even the bones of animals. Anything that can be found in nature is used to make fine body jewelry.


Both men and women at one time wore copious amounts of silver, gold, ivory, copper, semi precious stones and precious stoned jewelry. Jewelry identifies individuals in India. Nomads and members of various Indian tribes wear specific types of jewelry so that they are easily recognized as coming from a certain community.





Traditional Indian jewelry is designed for every part of the body. However, the style of jewelry varies depending on one's religious and one's aesthetic preferences. Not only is jewelry created for humans but also for ceremonial horses and elephants and god.


The Indian artisans cherish jewelry and are so passionate about it that they often become very competitive, trying to outdo one another with grand pieces of jewelry and elaborate designs, craftsmanship and materials.


Because women cannot inherit land in India, the primary gift given to a woman at the time of her marriage is jewelry. Jewelry can be converted into money, and is therefore considered a good investment and security for the woman.


Some Indian women wears loads of silvery jewelry as well as earrings made of ivory and shell and bones. Stunning chokers, nose rings, ankle bracelets that are quite heavy, and pendants are also part and parcel of an Indian woman's jewelry arsenal. This type of ornamentation is particularly popular among migrant groups in Western India. According to Indian jewelry traditions, specific stones are believed to possess certain powers making jewelry with those gemstones particularly popular in the this region.


One important Indian tradition that involves beads is Hindu prayer beads, which are believed to be the oldest prayer beads in the world. The prayer beads are called mala, which means garland of flowers. The beads are made from dried fruit called Rudraksha, which means the eye of Shiva or pleasing to Shiva. The story is that Shiva meditated with open eyes for 1,000 years. When he finally did blink, his tears turned into Rudraksha seeds, which are rough and represent the ascetic life that worshipers must adhere to. The mala is held in the left hand.


Beads are a cornerstone of traditional Indian jewelry. Indian jewelers use crystals, glass beads, shells, clay beads, gemstone beads, paper beads and a variety of other beads in their jewelry designs. The beads are strung on a thread of natural fiber or on a wire. Beads come in a variety of shapes including flat, cylindrical, oval, spherical, tetragonal and diamond shaped. Sometimes the beads are painted or it is engraved or varnished. Beads have been an integral part of Indian jewelry since ancient times.


A type of traditional Indian jewelry that is commonly found in Bengal consists of gold, silver and iron wires twisted together to make a bracelet, which is believed to give the wearer strength and health. In a section of India called Assam, gold is made into necklaces and earrings that are created to look like the area flora and fauna, as well as replicate orchids and the lokoparo, which depicts two birds that are placed back to back.


Nature greatly inspires Indian jewelers, who design items that look like melons, the hood of a cobra, hood, rice grains and cucumber seeds. Chaks, which are head dresses, are the specialty of the Himachal Pradesh area, as are large nose rings and dangling earrings. A favorite motif is birds or the papal leaf.


In certain areas of India, filigree work is very popular. It is created using silver whereas meenakari or enameling is practiced in another area of the country and the setting of precious or semi-precious stone in gold is specialty in Delhi. Making leaf, butterfly, flower, geometrical or flower shapes out of silver wire is another form of jewelry that is popular in India.


Resources:

CultureIndia.net: Indian Jewelry

The Hindu: evolution of Indian jewelry



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