The land of royals, Rajasthan, holds as much reputation for its magnificent palaces and forts as it does for its vibrant and colorful culture. The jewelry of Rajasthan is the embodiment of that vibrancy and forms an important part of their tradition. It is symbolic of the age-old customs and historical evolution that the State is known for. And, even though Rajasthan has come a long way from those Rajput battles of succession and constant wars, the elegant pieces of ethnic jewelry are the works of art that have still managed to keep the traditional side alive.
The historical origin of the jewelry of Rajasthan
There is an interesting historical aspect of how the love for glamorous gold jewelry came about in Rajasthan. Going by the history of Rajasthani jewelry, when the Rajputs ruled the land, wars of succession and battles were the order of the day. So, the royals invested heavily in precious stones and gold that would make them live by if things got tough financially.
However, it was not all about financial security for the people of the State. The history of Rajasthani jewelry also shows how jewelry was a symbol of social status and caste. So, while the precious stones and gold were reserved for the royals, the common folk were more into silver and lac jewelry.
The features of the exquisite jewelry pieces from Rajasthan
There are a couple of features that distinguish Rajasthani jewelry from all other kinds of ethnic pieces. Firstly, the jewelry of Rajasthan presents a riot of colors, right from the elegant greens to the brightest reds. The colors can be brought through intricate meenakari work or stones settings. The colors are what make the vivid hues of Rajasthani dress with jewelry go so well together.
The second feature is the motifs that you get to see in the jewelry piece are drawn heavily from nature. So, those glamorous Borla come with flower motifs, the timaniya necklace is adorned with designs of birds and deer, and peacocks are a recurring figure in the Rajasthani jewelry earrings.
The most popular jewelry pieces from the State
The jewelry pieces from Rajasthan are not just stunning in their intricacy of designs, but also unique and one of a kind. Here are four of the most well-known jewelry pieces that originated from this State.
Borla is like a ‘mang tikka,’ but the only difference is that it is spherical in shape and has a studded chain. In Rajasthan, traditionally, the married women are expected to wear a Borla all through their lives as the mark of her wedded union. When a Borla has chains on either side, it is called sheshfool.
Timaniya, or Aad, as it is better known as, is a rectangular choker that comes as a gift from the groom’s family to the bride during Samela Dastoor, a pre-wedding ritual of exchanging gifts. The beautiful red or orange bridal Rajasthani dress with jewelry makes the bride look really beautiful.
Lac work is native to Rajasthan, and it is seen in neckpieces, bangles, and Rajasthani jewelry earrings, though the bangles are more widely worn by the women of the State. The bangles are made using ivory, and the resinous substance called lac and tradition dictates the married women to wear these from the forearms to the elbows.
Kalgi is an important piece of jewelry that the Rajasthani men wear on their safa (turban). It looks almost like a brooch, and the men pin it in front of their turban. It looks like a cluster of feathers or a single feather and is usually decorated with Kundan and meenakari work.
Each of the jewelry pieces from the land of royals is so rich and opulent in their design and craftwork that it is difficult to take your eyes off them. In fact, the popularity of ethnic Rajasthani jewelry has spread so far and wide that now people from all parts of the country have embraced these designs and motifs.