Temple jewellery was introduced in the 9th century AD, by the Chola dynasty. They would decorate idols in temples with jewellery as offerings. These ornaments were specially made in pure gold with motifs of deities and nature. Eventually they evolved into a component of bridal trousseaus and temple dancers’ attire. Temple jewellery is characterised by a base of pure gold and set with stones of kemp (red and green stones), uncut rubies, emeralds and diamonds. They are popular in various forms like ornate harams with pendants of Gods & Godesses like Lakshmi and Ganesha. Jhumkis with Peacock motifs and intricate nakkashi on jadanagams and vankis are also immensely popular.
It is the craft of embedding glass or stones in gold by creative crevices and delicately placing the stones. It was brought to India by the Mughals, but perfected by Indian artisans from Rajasthan and loved by women across India. Kundan means pure gold, referring to the base of the jewellery. Kundan jewellery is traditionally worn by North Indian brides, but can look equally gorgeous on a South Indian bride. Delicate maang tikkas with kundan work in floral motifs with a choker set add a very vintage charm to a bride. Chaand baalis in kundan work look ethereal when worn with ethnic wear.
While it is a fact that women love jewellery, brides in India love them even more so. Different ornaments worn by a bride, like the vanki, jadanagam and oddayanam (vaddanam) also signify her social and financial status. The mangalsutra is one of the most important pieces of jewellery a bride attains during her wedding, which becomes a symbol of her wedded life. Toe rings are also abundantly worn by women to increase their fertility. Bridal jewellery across India tends to be much more heavy, ornate and intricate than daily wear. A bride today can choose from temple jewellery to kundan, polki, jadau and diamond sets, even choosing a different kind for each function. Traditional bridal jewellery always has motifs of Lakshmi, lotuses and peacocks for luck and prosperity to the bride and her in-laws.
As its name signifies, this jewellery comprises of the nine gems. It has for centuries been associated with royalty and is one of the most beautiful types of ornaments to look at. It has a strong cultural significance and is said to provide prosperity and safety to the wearer. The nine stones in a pure, natural form to be used in this jewellery are Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, Yellow Sapphire, Red Coral, Diamond, Blue Sapphire, Hessonite Garnet and Chrysoberyl Cats eye. Each stone is said to represent the navgrahas, or nine influencers according to the Hindu astrology, and gives the wearer control over his destiny.