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Indian Mythology
Significance of Indian Jewelry

     Indians have been using jewelry for adornment since centuries. The significance of jewelry in the country is evident from the fact that on many auspicious occasions, jewelry forms a part of gifts. Though the trend of men adoring themselves has now faded away, many of them still use earrings, bracelets, pedants, etc. However, it is the Indian women for whom jewelry holds utmost significance. In India, jewelry is considered auspicious for women. Even poorest of poor women will have some kind of jewelry with them. Jewelry has not only been considered for the purpose of adoration, but also as a security in times of contingency. This is because it is often expensive and can be sold whenever there is dire need of money. This way, jewelry also serves the purpose of insurance, which can be depended upon. Jewelry forms the important part of adoration among Indian women. To accentuate their feminine beauty, they use jewelry made of gold, silver and diamonds. Traditionally, jewelry has always been linked with wealth, power and status. Talking about the significance of jewelry in the life of women in India, they are gifted jewelry in different phases of life such as, at birth, at coming of age, in marriage, on becoming a mother, etc. Certain ornaments, such as mangalsutra, nath (nose ring) and toe rings, quintessential for married Indian women. From the practice of generations, these gifts are still continuing without any abruption. Jewelry gifted to women at the time of her marriage is called 'stridhan' i.e. wealth of women, which in short is symbol of wealth, power and femininity. Jewelry design is so versatile in India that it varies from state to state. If some jewelry is so much popular in one state, it might not necessarily be popular in another state.However, some basic jewelry is common among all the women across India. Bridal jewelry like maangtika, earrings, nose rings, necklace, mangalsutra, bangles, etc make up basic jewelry which adorn women in India. Incidentally, even today, gold is the metal most widely used for bridal ornaments and over the last decade, these are increasingly being studded with diamonds.

History of Indian Jewelry

History of Indian jewellery is as old as the history of the country itself. Around 5000 years ago, the desire to adorn themselves aroused in people, leading to the origin of jewellery. Since then, Indian women and jewellery have gone hand in hand. There cannot be a woman in India,who does not adore herself with minimum jewellery. In fact, jewellery is considered as security and prestige of women in the country. The attraction for jewellery has been great in India that it is no more a craft than an art. Indian jewellery is unique in its design and workmanship. In all kinds of traditional dance forms, jewellery has been a significant part. Be it Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi or Kathak, all have given importance to jewellery in presenting the artist. The sheer number of items forming the jewelry of an Indian woman is numerous, ranging from earrings and necklaces to pieces for adorning the hair, hip, feet, and feet. Jewelry made with emeralds, diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and other precious and semi-precious stones have been in practice for long. The range of jewelry in India varies from religious to purely aesthetic types. It is crafted not only for humans, but also for the Gods, ceremonial elephants and horses. Royal class people have given patronage to the art of jewellery since ancient times, when rajas and maharajas vied with each other to possess the most exquisite and magnificent pieces. Regional differences can be observed in the making of jewellery, depending on the differences in geography,people, culture, and their lifestyle. While the designs in solid gold jewellery of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are inspired by nature, the Meenakari and Kundan styles of jewelry making have been influenced by the Mughal dynasty.Then there is a huge range of silver beads found all over India, especially in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Their availability lead to the development of the bead jewelry, popular till date. While Assamese jewellery is influenced by local flora and fauna, Manipuri jewelry-makers make use of items like shells, animal claws, teeth and precious and semi-precious stones. These huge varieties of ornaments bear testimony to the excellent skill of the jewelers and craftspeople of the country. Indian jewelry in Gold, diamonds, silver, sterling silver, precious stones and semi-precious stones is a rage all over the world.

In India it was common to melt silver and gold coins to make jewels. Sometimes the coins were left intact (as shown). Since the Indian sub-continent invariably carried a trade surplus, precious and semi-precious stones,or gold and silver from the international trade complemented internally mined supplies, leading several visitors to India to note the enormous wealth of some of India's most well known kingdoms. They would describe overflowing treasuries, replete with a variety of precious metals and gems.

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