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Akshaya Tritiya 2019: Five popular traditional jewellery styles and their origin

The beauty of Indian jewellery lies in the uniqueness of its designs and the efforts of the workmanship involved in creating the intricate patterns.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 7, 2019 4:47:11 pm
indian jewellery, kundan, navratna, Rajasthan, indian, jewellery design, Akshaya Tritya 2019, Akshaya Tritya,, indianexpress, indianexpressonline, Akshaya Tritiya 2019: Indian traditional jewellery are known for their rich craftwork. (Source: Getty Images)

In India, jewellery is appreciated for its traditional and aesthetic value. Mostly adorned by women, the beauty of Indian jewellery lies in the uniqueness of its designs and the efforts of the workmanship involved in creating the intricate patterns.

In the earlier times, precious metals like gold, silver and platinum were used to craft the jewels adorned by the royals. But the commoners opted for copper, alpaca, iron and aluminium. These days, vintage jewellery is available in a combination of the above metals to suit the fashion requirements as well as the pocket. However, the charm for traditional jewellery remains.

This Akshaya Tritya, we bring you the five most popular tradirional jewellery styles that are known for their grandeur since times immemorial.


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Originally from Bikaner in Rajasthan, Meenakari work which is also done in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Kolkata is popular all over the world. Silver meena work from Rajasthan’s Nathdwara’s looks exquisite and is very popular amongst the young fashionistas.

This artistic jewellery form uses enamelling to amplify the aesthetic coefficient of the ornament. Typically, this art form is fairly laborious and the jewellery is usually kept on lac sticks while the designs are etched on it. Then, suitable coloured enamel dust is poured into these grooves and then heated until the dust liquefies and travels around the groove. Subsequently, the design is set in silver or gold to complete the ornament.

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One of the famous jewellery styles that is hard to miss is kundan. Kundan necklaces, earrings, wristlets and anklets are in vogue even today. The style’s charm and unique claw setting are famous for incorporating the extravagance of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other gemstones.

Originated in the Rajasthani and Gujarati royal courts in the early 19th century, stone kundankari jewels are often lined with vividly colourful meenakari.


Compared to kundan, the overall appearance of pachchikam, which finds its origin in Kutch and Gujarat, comes across as rather delicate and unfinished. This is because the craft uses silver as a base metal rather than gold which is commonly used in kundan and polki work. Silver is used in this craft as it is extremely malleable and has a close resemblance to platinum. This makes it look flamboyant, but is extremely cost-effective.

The entire process of making a single piece is not only laborious, but is also time consuming. The main raw materials for pachchikam jewellery is the base material i.e. silver along with uncut glass and semi-precious stones.

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Like the name, nine auspicious stones are used in navratna jewellery. It is believed that bringing together the nine stones including pearl, ruby, emerald, diamond, and blue sapphire would ensure the well-being of the person who wears it. In India, navratna jewellery has been given major importance because of its astrological significance.


Lac jewellery, also known as lacquer jewellery, originated in Rajasthan and has gained considerable popularity in India today. Available in versatile designs, lac bangles are highly popular because of their colourful and intricate designs. The designs also constantly change in line with new trends and styles and extend to all wearables like necklaces, bracelets, rings, and even earrings.

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