Old is gold: History of Indian jewellery

In your collection of jewellery with elegant, contemporary designs, it is your grandmother's ring passed down to you that takes pride of place. There's a reason behind this. The ring holds memories of your grandmother. However, there's another reason that makes it special. Its history.

Among the ancient civilizations, India stands out with a long history in crafting jewellery. Jewellery is perhaps as old as India herself. Let's take a look back into the history of Indian jewellery.

Indus Valley

Our story begins 5000 years ago in the Indus Valley civilization. There is still a lot we haven't uncovered about this ancient people including deciphering their writing, but we do know that they crafted exquisite pieces of jewellery.

With pendants made out of agate and other semi-precious materials and necklaces made of gold, their jewellery continues to amaze us thousands of years later.

Medieval India

In Medieval India, jewellery design had a religious significance. Most pieces of jewellery were designed with the purpose of adorning the idol. It later spread to the people and became more accessible.

In south and central India and parts of Bengal and Odisha, the temples would house some of the finest jewellery crafted in that era.

Mughal India

In the Mughal period, jewellery design was enriched with influences from Central Asia. The technique of enamelling jewellery was perfected under Mughal patronage.

Additionally, inlaying stones with gold and the kundan method were developed and perfected in this era.

Colonial India

In the colonial period of the 19th and 20th centuries, European influences would enter, creating a fusion of Indian and Western styles. Maharajas would commission jewellers like Cartier to design masterpieces with Indian gemstones in Western designs.

Find out the history behind your family heirlooms. It might be more interesting than you think.

Pictures credit: thebetterindia.com