Jan 19 2019
Gold Jewellery: Trends and Traditions
Gold, since ages, has been Indian women’s most prized possession, something that has been passed down from generation to generation. Whenever we think of a bride, the image that comes to our mind is a bride clad in gold. A quintessential Indian bride is one wearing a gold ‘ranihaar’, choker, a nose ring, bangles, jhimkis and other ornaments in gold.
Gold is an indispensable part of a bridal ensemble, with changes that have taken place only in designs. Gold jewellery makes a women sparkle on the most special day of her life, instantly transforming her to someone sensuous like a queen.
Let’s delve deep into the never-ending fascination of Indian brides for this precious metal. Traditionally, gold was considered auspicious for a bride, not only because of its purity but also as a mark of Goddess Lakshmi, a sign that the new bride would bring a lot of wealth, prosperity and happiness in her husband’s home. Brides don gold jewellery according to different traditions to which they belong to; some like it simple, while some are rather ostentatious in their display of jewellery. It also depends on the bride’s own tastes now, but howsoever modern the bride may be, every girl wants to look her traditional best at the day of her wedding.
The Choice of Contemporary Women
Now a day brides and grooms have a say in decision making and when it comes to their wedding, they are becoming more practical and not buying gold for the heck of it. They would rather wear designer jewellery, or rather something that is custom-made. But all that without a dash of tradition would look incomplete. Even youngsters are highly conscious of this fact.
From plan, traditional gold jewellery in enamel work, it has seen itself evolve in numerous ways. Whether its ethnic jadau and kundan work on gold jewellery or gold with uncut, single-cut or rose cut diamonds, which possess the yellow sheen same as that of gold, gold has come a long way. There has also been an increasing demand for white gold, black gold, yellow gold or even a mix of two or more of these. The lightweight gold jewellery in contemporary, as well as Italian designs in pink, yellow and green gold, are now available in the Indian market.
Tradition versus trends
All across India, a specific flavour of ancestral gold jewellery prevails as each region has its own craftsmanship. So when you go to Jaipur, there has always been jaadu and kundan, which exists in particular hues and enamelled with a distinct flavor. But today’s jaadu and kundan jewellery have been made contemporary that can go with both an ethnic saree and a western gown.
Similarly, for the temple jewellery in South India, the motifs of mounds and domes which have been evolved into oxidised gold jewellery in the contemporary format which can be carried off for events like pooja or a wedding.
Kolkatta has a particular flavour and so does Gujarat and Rajkot which has a certain touch that defines its uniqueness. Different elements like rava, veni, jaadu, kundan, stamp work, filigree etc give an idea as to how the preferences differ with respect to different regions.
Not only the make but the difference and the preference in different parts of India is as different as chalk and cheese. However, modern and fashionable the bride may aspire to become, she would always want to go back to her cultural roots and look like a beautiful, demure bride.
In Northern states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, brides would want to indulge in gold jewellery with gold ‘baju-bandhs’, ‘maangtikas’, in ‘meenakari’ and ‘kundan’ designs and coloured stone setting designs in and around Punjab. South Indian brides like to wear gold hair ornaments on their plait, which goes all the way down to the knees, or kamarbandhs called ‘odiyanam’, the ‘manga mala’, ‘vanki (armlets), and kammal (big earrings), especially in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Mayur and golap designs in beaten gold are a hot favourite in Bengal while in Maharashtra it is gold jewellery with a paisley motif.
Apart from these, trendy cuffs, cocktail rings, precious stone studded cuffs and diamond bangles in the gold base are in vogue. Gold jewellery is also mixed and matched and designed in various styles comprising of dazzling uncut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls in fine enamel work to keep up with the demands of a modern bride. Bold pieces with a retro-cum-antique design are also very hot.
Re-Emergence of Ethic Jewellery
Heritage ethnic jewellery plays a vital role in influencing designs. Ancient pieces like haathphools, maangtikas, jadu worked kadas, mangalsutras, the kalgis (sarpech) and heavy neck pieces made in traditional gold designs are making a huge comeback. Designs transform according to trends, but there has been a re-emergence in terms of traditional styles and designs. Transforms have happened in weight terms also. Old designs in lightweight are affordable and therefore very much in demand.
Whatever be the demands, jewellery inspired from Indian culture and traditions will always be in fashion. The best part about gold jewellery is that it goes with all attire. If the dress is with yellow embroidery, then traditional gold goes well with it. If the dress consists of silver ember, then white gold or platinum compliments with it. If on the other hand, the outfit is western, then gold jewellery with fusion designs can be worn.
So whether it is a party or a pooja, a girl is dark skinned or pale, fat or thin, gold apart from diamonds has and always will be women’s best friend.
Photo courtesy: Reji Bhaskar & Nias Marikar