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Top Designs of Rajasthani Jewelry

Posted by Shreya | Aug 24, 2021

With its glorious history of Rajputs endowed with magnificent forts and palaces, invincible architecture, and a lot more, Rajasthan is known as the land of royalty and kingdoms.

In earlier times in Rajasthan, due to hostile desert environments and continuous warfare, the people started to invest in gold and precious jewelry to secure their future. Rajasthani jewelry which is the oldest form of jewelry is indeed spectacular in all its glory. The Rajput dynasties ruled between the 7th and 19th centuries and brought with them skilled craftsmen who introduced some exceptional gold jewelry designs. The warrior clan of the Rajputs in Rajasthan made lavish use of the jewelry encrusted weapons that signified the sanctity of their caste and enhanced their social status. Originating from Rajasthan, Rajputana gold jewelryis one of the most exquisite styles of jewelry in India. The Rajputana style of jewelry is a reflection of its royal heritage and rich culture and remains an integral part of Rajasthani culture even today.

There is a strong connection between religion and ornaments in Rajasthan. Specific jewelries show the religious affinities of different types of religious groups. For example, pendants represent Hindu gods and goddesses. Hindu Goddess Lakshmi relates to gold and wealth and it is a representative of the sun. Gold and sun are sacred and immortal. Traditional Rajasthani ornaments are very religious. In festivals many men and women wear beautiful jewelry and then worship.

Jewellery is not only ornamental but has amuletic properties too. Believed to provide health and astrological benefits in Ayurvedic and Hindu astrological traditions, people stimulate acupressure points using piercings and jewellery.

Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of traditional jewelry styles from Rajasthan.

Silver Jewelry

There is a community in Rajasthan that comes up with traditional jewelries i.e. Soni community. To create attractive jewelries they use a mixture of materials. To make Rajasthani ornaments a number of metals are used and among them the most popular ones are silver and gold. On top of artistic appeal, mythology and religion grant them their main position.

Rajasthan is well known for its tribal jewelry. The tribal groups of Rajasthan adorn colorful and weighty ornaments, decorated with coins, shells, beads, and metallic mesh which make them distinguishable at the very first glance. The Banjara tribes of Rajasthan wear embellished belts around their waists to complement their tribal banjara look. Due to its affordable price, silver is used to make tribal Rajasthani ornaments.

Silver is always a favorite in this part of the world and an affordable option than gold. Normal people can afford this ornament. In villages you can find jewelries in silver like kada (anklet). Rajasthan is known for high-quality silver mining which is also a reliable source of wealth. But one of the drawbacks of silver is that it is very heavy that makes it tough to wear with limited usages.

The list of silver ornaments adorned by Rajasthani women includes everything from upper armlet, neck ring /hansuli, Rajasthani necklace and mandliya string neckband, heavily layered belt, single waist chain, and toe rings. Tokariya /antique tribal old silver hoops are well known among the tribal individuals in Rajasthan. Antique Rajasthani jewelry silver with a hint of Banjara/tribal appeal is gaining major points in the fashion industry.

Silver jewellery

Lac Jewelry

Lac, also known as “common man’s gold” is the jewelry staple for the women of Rajasthan. Found in a plethora of colorful and vibrant designs and patterns, Lac jewelry is a perfect mix of tradition and fashion. The artwork for Lac jewelry requires skilled craftsmanship. It is a kind of lacquered work that is done on either silver or gold with colored glass pieces. Plain Lac is used in a variety of religious ceremonies and rituals as well. Lac jewelry symbolizes marriage and therefore, married women wear Lac Bangles.

Lac jewelry

Lac bangles are commonly worn in sets on both the hands. They depict a wide variety in design and style. A usual design is zigzag, wavy or leheriya pattern. There are few bangles studded with small mirrors, gold, beds or silver powder, or bright stones. Popular types include Laron ka chuda, hinglu ka chuda, leheriya ka chuda and nagon ka chuda. Lac bangle creation is a type of small scale industry. Many families are involved in lac bangle creation work. While men clean and dye the lac, women decorate the final pieces. These days, traditional crafts seem to have lost a big market, but lac bangles still form a big industry enjoying patronage of Rajasthani people and government support.

You can watch Lac bangles making on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMhGmIcaTH0.

Kundan and Jadau Jewelry

In Rajasthan Jewelry, Kundan-Jadau work is extremely popular. However, people often tend to get confused between Jadau and Kundan jewelry. While Kundan is a type of stone, Jadau is the art of embedding Kundan and Polki stones into the metal surface. In Rajasthan, jadau work began to rise as the artists crafted the art of embedding stones and metals on the surface of objects.

Gold foil leaves were inserted between the walls and precious and semiprecious stones like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and tourmalines in this technique. The silver or gold foil placed below and in between the surface enabled greater reflection of light through the stone, due to which the stone highlighted brilliance and natural sheen. Immaculately crafted with precision and accuracy, Kundan and Jadau jewelry is a one-of-a-kind type that requires highly skilled craftsmanship. Jadau jewelry was inspired by the Mughal empire (the believers in royalty). In a world full of precious and semi-precious stones, Jadau and Kundan jewelry serve the elite and aristocrats with embellished and engraved stones to personify the old-world charm with a blend of royalty and flamboyance.

Meenakari Jewelry

Meenakari is hugely popular in Rajasthan and requires great precision and skilled craftsmanship. In Meenakari, the metal surface is intricately designed by fusing it with vibrant colors and embedding it with semi-precious / precious stones.

Pratapgarh/Thewa Jewelry

Also known by the name of Thewa art, Pratapgarh jewelry form is another way of enamel work that uses both gold and silver and has a colored glass piece on the base. The crafting of Pratapgarh jewelry usually takes more than one month to get that beautiful intricate design.

Rajasthani jewelryis indeed spectacular in all its glory. A Rajasthani jewelry set is an expression of the age-old customs and traditional wear of the women of the state. The nostalgia and charm of it are truly unbeatable. The Rajasthan jewelry set is synonymous to the words like  imperial and regal. Mostly, we can find the Rajasthani bride dressed in a gota patti ghagra-choli.

Rajasthani bride on her wedding day looks nothing less than a royal queen cladded in magnificent jewel pieces. Most of the jewels have a religious meaning and are considered to be sacred. They are so royal and rich in appeal , that you won’t be able to take your eyes off them. These are some of the essential elements that make a Rajasthani bridal jewelry set.

Rani Haar: 

Rajasthani women also wear a neckpiece which is long up to the navel known as rani haar. The rani haar and maharani haar variants are the longest neck pieces for a Rajasthani jewelry set and provide it with a clear, majestic feel. The Rani haar necklace extends from the shoulders to the navel, with a large ornament in the middle. Since it covers the most area on a bride, these pieces can be either delicate, jadau jewelry or heavy pieces from Polki and Kundan collections. If put in the order of neckwear, the set begins with a Timaniya or an Aad, moves to a Kanthi and then a Rani Haar or a Maharani haar - depending on the size of the last piece.

Rakhdi/Sheeshfool/Borla:

Rakhdi/Borla is the traditional Rajasthani head jewelry (Maang tikka). Being spherical or bell-like in shape, Borla, traditional Rajasthani jewelry design is different from the usual maang tikas. Borla is one of the most popular Rajasthani ornaments! It is basically a maang tikka that has a spherical pendant that hangs in the center of the head. Its Rajasthani jewelry name may sound a bit weird but it is a must-have style in every woman’s closet in Rajasthan.

It comes in colorful and eye-catchy patterns. Borla can be made with a variety of metals like gold, silver, brass, etc. and comes in a variety of stone-studded forms like Kundan, Meena, and pearls. The traditional Borla comes in a spherical design attached with a gold chain. The gold chains, as well as the spherical portion of the Borla, are available in a variety of styles. The trending styles include Kundan motifs adorned with Meenakari work. Sheeshfool denotes the two side chains and is meant to support Borla.

The combination of sheeshfool and Borla forms a Matha Patti, worn by brides in Rajasthan. However, Sheeshfool is detachable and can be separated from the Borla. The maang tikka adorned by Rajthani brides is called ‘Rakhdi' and ‘Borla'. Rakhdi is a signature jewel piece which is also a style statement for the modern brides. The tikka usually ends in a huge bell-shaped or spherical piece embellished with precious stones. It is further juxtaposed with ‘Sheesh Phool' which is a chain of small Rakhdis which forms a forehead band. This Rajasthani Tikka becomes a distinctive feature amid both Rajasthani jewelry sets and specific, Rajputi jewelry sets as well.

The Khancha is a band worn on the upper forehead and has the Rakhdi attached at its centre. Small round Maang tikka is known as Borla in Rajasthan. Unlike the regular ones, it is spherical in shape and is usually made of gold or silver. Traditionally a Rajasthani Maangtikka is studded with kundan, pearls, and Meenakari work.

Nath:

Nath or Nathni is one of the most popular jewelry styles worn by Rajasthani women. A circular, gold ring is usually worn on the left nostril and joined to the left ear with a gold or pearl chain. Nath makes an important part of Rajasthani bridal jewelry collection. From tiny circular patterns to abstract heavy-worked kundan, the nath comes in different forms and is worn by most north Indian brides at the wedding as well as festive occasions. A large golden Nath embellished with a small Kundan makes every Rajasthani bride look elegant and royal.

Surliya/Kaanbali and Jhaale:

Rich in antique and royal look, Rajasthani jewelry earrings have gained quite the popularity.  Rajasthani gold jhumkas or earrings are quite popular in northern India. In Rajasthan, they are known as Surliya /Kaanbali or Jhaale. Immaculately designed with intricate Kundan or Meenakari work, Rajasthani earrings give a rich royal look, mixed with a hint of tradition and fashion. Kundan or meenakari work and antique designs make them special and unique. No doubt, Rajasthani earrings make you stand out among others. But you can’t attend every event with them. You need other types of earrings to amp up your look too.

Aad or Kanthi Necklace:

Kanthi or Aad necklace is one of the most famous and gorgeous styles of Rajasthani jewelry. Also known by the name of the Rajputana or Rajasthani necklace, Aad is a square /rectangular choker and is usually gifted to the bride by the bridegroom’s family.

Worn by the brides, Kanthi is a traditional choker made of Gold and is usually adorned with Kundan and other precious stones like polka. Considered to be must-have jewelry in Rajasthan, Aad oomph the bride’s look and adds oodles of royal charm to her overall visual appeal. Kanthi usually comes with an adjustable thread so that it can fit anyone. In addition to Aad, Brides wear Rani Haar (Queen’s necklace) as well which is long up to the navel. A traditional rectangular or square-shaped choker, aad is also known as the Rajputana necklace.

The choker is made of kundan (gemstone jewelry) and comes with two strings that can be used to tie the necklace at the back of the neck. Aad is important in Rajasthani weddings as it is given by the bridegroom’s family to the bride. Today, the aad is also available in contemporary designs and worn by modern brides.

A very famous Rajputi ornament for the neck, Timaniya is also known as Aad in Rajasthani language. It is a square or a rectangle shaped choker which is one of India's oldest traditional neck pieces which is a small sized choker.  This neck-piece covers the whole neckline area. You can identify an Aadh necklace from it's choker and the order of its placement.

Bajubandh:

Bajubandh is the upper armlet. An armlet worn by Rajasthani brides, bajuband (also known as angada) is designed with meenakari work. Originally worn by men, bazubands later became popular among women. Crocodiles and snakes were the most common designs for it in the Rajputana era, but now they are available in modern styles as well. It signifies marital ecstasy and therefore is worn by Marwari and Rajput brides. The intricate stonework engraved on Gold is what makes the Bajubandh a royal ornament.

Bangadi:

A set of two bangles worn by Rajasthani women, Bangadi bangles have a thick red lining and a small round gold protrusion covering the bangles. These bangles are only worn by married Rajput Rajasthani women. The combination of gold and red color paired with intricate stone studded work is to die for. If you’re looking for something classy and traditional in bangles then bangadi is definitely a good option. For hands, a very special set of two bangles worn by the Rajasthani women, Bangadi has a thick lining and small gold protrusions. Traditionally, Bangadi used to be made in gold and plastic but now many variations of it are available.

Ivory Bangles:

In most of the Rajasthani tribes, women wear ivory bangles. An ideal set of ivory bangles includes 17 bangles worn on the upper arm and nine which are worn on the lower arm, a total of 52 on both arms. These women are not allowed to remove the bangles, not even during sleep. These bangles are worn during a woman’s entire married life. In Rajasthan’s tradition, Ivory bangles have a magical effect that protects the woman against evil and bad and eases birth pains. Nowadays expensive ivory bangles are replaced with plastic ones due to the easy affordability of the latter ones.

Haathphool:

Hathphool is the hand bracelet and is popular by a number of names like haath kamal, hand chain, and hath panja. It beautifies the back of the wrist and the palm. Available in various designs and patterns, haath phools are made of gold, Kundan, minakari, and sometimes jadau work. They come in either one ring design or the five finger rings style. In the latter, the fiver finger rings are attached to the multiple strings of gold chains connecting together and merging into a flower which has another chain up to the bracelet. Also known as panchangala, meaning ’jewel for fingers’, the hathphool consists of a gold ring with a huge flower piece (made of jadau or meenakari) that beautifies the back of the palm and connects to a bracelet that gracefully envelops the wrist. This is a great addition to your look for a semi-formal event such as a family get together or a celebration with your colleagues.

Kardhani/Tagdi/Kamarbandh:

A belly chain/waist chain is called Tagdi or Kardhani in Rajasthan. Usually made of gold, Polki work, or Kundan, it is mostly adorned by Rajasthani brides. Yet another very important part of a Rajasthani jewelry set, Kamarbandh is a waist chain. It is known as Kardhani or Tagdi in Rajasthan and is usually crafted of gold Polki or kundan. The best part about this ornament is that you can wear it separately with a saree, lehenga or even an ethnic gown.

Payal/Anklet/Kada:

Another popular traditional wear is payal, worn around the ankle just like an anklet. It is an essential part of a bridal jewelry set. An anklet is one of the most beautifully adorned jewelry styles in Rajasthan. The tribal women of Rajasthan wear big circular silver kadas (like the one shown in the picture). Rajasthani women wear the heaviest anklets or a Kada usually made of silver. As it is considered inauspicious to wear gold in the feet, modern Rajputi brides prefer wearing gold-plated anklets or the ones with meenakari or kundan work.

Kundan Butti:

These are traditional Rajasthani jhumkas. This Rajasthani jewelry design consists of heavy intricate work embellished with gems and stones (both precious and semi-precious).

Bichuwa:

When we talk about a Rajasthani jewelry set, it cannot be considered complete without toe rings. Bichuwas are toe rings, made of either Gold or Silver. Quite popular in Rajasthan, Bichuwas are beautifully adorned by Rajasthani women on a daily basis. Nowadays, women wear artificial bichuwas. It is gifted to a bride by her parents and is worn in the second toe. Some also wear them in multiple toe fingers, as shown below. Usually, a traditional Rajasthani toe ring is made with silver or with gold plating in a floral design, worn only by the married ladies. They come in a variety, some are also attached with payal. It also looks amazing on Indian outfits.

A wide range of raw materials are available to encourage the crafts of Indian jewelries. Feathers, straw and grass and other essential materials are extensively used for creating ornaments. Garasia women wear grass chains in hair that is known as choti jhumka. Rice stalks made bracelets are also very popular. To make hairpieces for women cowrie shells are used. Coconut shell bangles are also very popular in Rajasthan and they are called as kasla worn by Bhil tribe women.

Rajasthan is one such state where jewelry for men has also been a symbol of grace and pride; the immense variety in men’s jewelry is amazing dating back to the rich heritage of the state. One can buy these in wholesale at various markets of Rajasthan.

To know more about the variety in Rajasthani men’s jewelry, keep reading on our blog and share with your family & friends. Read more about the Indian heritage and traditional jewelry of different states and tastes, only on https://www.trymintly.com/blog.  

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