Jewellery in Rajasthan is very popular among women. In fact the royal, colourful and vibrant jewellery of Rajasthan is famous all over the world. Nowadays, it is every bride’s dream to adorn Rajasthani jewellery on her wedding.

Jewellery has been an important part of attire in almost all cultures in India. Indian women have been wearing jewellery on a daily basis. Different piece of jewellery means different things to different people. But in Rajasthan jewellery is attire in itself. Rajasthani jewellery is the true manifestation of the age old customs and traditional wear of the women of Rajasthan. You will find a huge variety of jewellery in Rajasthan which shows the creativity and the innovative aesthetic sense of the Indian jewellers and craftsmen. Indian women have the desire to ornament themselves with jewellery because it brings out their true Indian side and is also a beautiful display of their beautiful culture.

Religion and jewellery go hand in hand in Rajasthan. There are many pieces of jewellery which have their own religious meaning and are considered to be sacred. Sometime the jewellery and sometime the material from which the jewellery is made attract different kinds of religious beliefs in Rajasthan. You will find pendants and bracelets with pictures of gods and goddesses on it. The gold is considered to be a blessing of Goddess Lakshmi, the protector of wealth. Gold is also sometime related to the sun god, Surya because like the sun the gold is also bright, shiny, sacred and immortal. On the other hand silver is related to the silvery moon, the protector of the night. Then there are different kinds of gems and metals which are said to serve a different purpose of their own. Some are believed to be for good luck while some are supposed to ward off evil spirits.

The traditional jewellery of Rajasthan is the true depiction of co existence and continuity of Urban India with the age old traditional India. We live in the 21st century now, yet during our festivals and auspicious occasions like weddings we adorn traditional jewellery and gems considered to bring good fortune for us. The royal heritage of Rajasthan has led to development of some very fine jewellers and craftsmen who have the art to create beautiful Rajasthani jewellery. They have the imagination as well the skill to produce ornaments of high aesthetic value. The rural and tribal communities have their own separate roots and they wish to remain close to their culture. In Rajasthan you will find that jewellery also has a way of distinguishing one social ethnic group from other. The type of jewellery worn by people has become a social status which defines people’s economic stability, family background and some extent of political power.

Rajasthani jewellery is also considered very wise investment option because of its easy liquidity nature. In past, it has been seen that jewellery was the most obvious way of surviving wars and communal feuds in the harsh desert regions of Rajasthan. Jewellery is easily movable and therefore constitutes to be the easiest way of ensuring economic stability in hard times. They provide financial security. From the time of Rajputs, jewellery was considered to be the major factor for weighing wealth of a kingdom. Jewellery became a very important aspect especially for women. During wars, invasions, political uprisings and feuds those women who were left alone to feed their children, found their solace in jewellery. Selling jewellery got them quick and easy money to run their household and ultimately survive. It gave the women financial independence.

The historic rulers of this state were also decided on the basis of who had the most wealth in terms of jewellery. Ornaments decided whether a king is fit to rule over and feed his people or not. Ornaments caused overthrowing of royalties. Battles were fought to attain jewellery. The kings generally achieved their royalty by relating themselves to Gods, Goddesses and Vedic heroes. The kings had to please the religious community to maintain their position on the throne. The religious community was therefore gifted gold ornaments and jewelleries for the idols of their gods.

After the Mughals invaded India, it became somewhat difficult to hand over gold to anyone in the state. In Rajasthan the use of precious metals like gold was restricted and only the royals were allowed to wear it anywhere on person. For the common people, they could only wear gold anywhere on upper side of the waist. Gold nose rings were allowed to be worn by common people. Gold wearing was highly supervised because it was considered a sacred metal and it was believed that wearing it anywhere else on the body would taint its purity. This way division in the society crept up on the basis of wearing of gold. For two centuries Rajasthani people have worn gold on a daily basis. In rural India gold is a very essential part of daily attire while in urban cities you will rarely find anyone wearing gold. The jewellery tradition in Rajasthan embarks on its rich cultural heritage. The jewellery designs, ornaments and motifs are renowned worldwide.

Rajasthani jewellery is available for all parts of body like nose, fingers, neck, ears, hand, forehead, feet, ankles, arms, head, waist, etc. There are some exquisite designs and unique styles available in Rajasthani jewellery. Some very popular native jewellery designs of Rajasthan are Filigree, Meenakari, Kundan, etc. These designs are very popular in all over India and are now used by brides in their wedding jewellery.

The traditional jeweller community of Rajasthan is the Soni Community. They use both inorganic and organic type of materials to creative vibrant, colourful and amazingly beautiful jewellery. The expensive type of Rajasthani jewellery is generally created from precious metals like gold, silver, etc. Silver is more popular in Rajasthan because of its affordable price. It is also found in large quantities in the state. Gold is a little too expensive for commoners so they go with silver. It is believed that once you start wearing a silver ornament you are not supposed to take it off. Rural people of Rajasthan wear silver kadas/bangles which are only taken off when the person has died. Pearls, sapphires, diamonds, rubies, emeralds are also widely used in Rajasthani jewellery.

Lac, which is also known as the “common man’s gold” is the most commonly used gold material in Rajasthan. The Bishnoi community considers it highly promising. The Bishnoi community is an eco friendly society which worships nature. Lac is a naturally existing material and therefore considered auspicious by them. This belief is now taken seriously by many other native communities. This has led to use of lac bangles in many sacred occasions like festivals, wedding, Teej, etc. Lac bangles are very popular in Rajasthan. Earlier, ivory ornaments were sold here too. This is because ivory was said to represent the elephant god Ganesha. Ivory beads, bangles, pendants, necklaces, earrings, brooches, rings, etc were found in Rajasthan but due to elephant poaching for ivory it was prohibited by the govt. The process of using raw lac to make ornamental lac is very interesting.

The raw material is heated to melt and then wrought tightly in a cloth of muslin. The residue produced is known as chapadi. Then the preparation for Batti and Gunni begins. Gunni is basically a lac stick. It is made from beroza powder, pounded lac and crushed soapstone. The contents are rolled into a wooden stick. The batti is basically a lac color cake. It makes use of the chapadi which is made soft by heating. Then the colored powder is added to it. This mixture is then heated and kneaded and finally cut into small sized cakes. The cakes are dipped in cold water and then stuck on wooden sticks. The heated batti is rolled on the surface of the gunni. This way the gunni gets colored.  The gunni is then heated and broken in columns When these columns are get you get your lac bangles.

Lac Bangles are worn in odd numbers on each hand. You will find lac bangles in variety of shapes and designs. The wavy zigzag pattern of leheriya is the moys famous lac bangle design. You will also find lac bangles decorated with small mirrors, colored stones, silver sparkle powder, golden beads, etc. The most popular varieties available in lac bangles include Laron ka chuda, Leheriya ka chuda, nagon ka chuda, hinglu ka chuda, etc. Lac bangles are generally created by cottage industries which are family based. The men make the raw lac into ornamental lac while the women perform all the decoration and aesthetic work. It is one of the most popular cottage industries in Rajasthan which has vastly developed in the past few years.

Grass, straw and feathers are a list of some other materials which are used for making different variety of ornaments in Rajasthan. They are a popular specialty of the tribal people. Grass chains are used by women to braid their hair and. You will also find white tassels for hair which are locally called as choti jhumkas. Rice stalks are used to make bracelets. Cowrie shells are utilized to create beautiful hairpieces for women. Kasla, which is a bangle made from coconut shell is a traditional ornamental piece for Bhil women. There are numerous raw materials from our day to day lives which are used by the people of Rajasthan to create beautiful jewellry. Rajasthani jewellery is the epitome of innovative craftsmanship in India.

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