Tempting Temple Jewelry
‘OLD IS GOLD’ is an age old proverb that holds true even today. Although there has been a demand for modern jewelry manufactured in Platinum, Silver, etc, traditional south indian gold jewelry and antique designs have definitely made a comeback!
Did You Know (DYK): The origin of Temple Jewelry?
The origin of temple jewelry dates back to the 9th century in the reign of the Chola dynasty. Back then it was used to adorn God & Goddess, hence the name Temple Jewelry. Later it was adopted and worn by kings, queens and other important personas. Further it became popular with many classical dancers who used it to accentuate their attire, often naming it “dancer’s jewelry”. Today it is an essential part of a bride’s trousseau in South India.
DYK: South India is believe to be a region that is considered to be the largest consumer of gold in the country which accounts for over 40% of the nation’s overall gold demand.
When it comes to jewelry, almost every state in India has an expertise of their own and offers a buffet of creative and innovative jewelry. Down South, among an array of varied craftsmanship, solid metal ornaments were designed, manufactured and inspired from our deities.
DYK- Majority of Temple Jewelry production takes place in Nagercoil, located in Tamil Nadu, other being Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupati, Mysore, Hampi, Ooty etc.
Manufacturing techniques involved in temple jewelry
Temple Jewelry is mostly handcrafted. It could be studded with polki, kundan and gems. Depending on the design, meenakari is often used to enhance the jewelry. Off late one may notice granulation and stamping, although the ancient temple jewelry was purely hand carved with a dull antique looking polish.
DYK: Inspirations and motifs in Temple Jewelry?
Some of the popular motifs (of the deities) used in temple jewelry are Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesha, Radha- Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Kuber etc. One will also notice motifs such as lotus, peacock, parrot, elephant or other natural shapes like paan leaves, paisley, domes, dots, disks, coins and seldom the symbol ‘Om’. By far Temple Jewelry has an intricate and busy pattern.
DYK: As per ancient specimens, Temple Jewelry was made out of silver, covered with gold leaf work. However in recent times it’s made of fine gold, predominantly 22 karat yellow gold. Further it’s given antique or gheru polish look. Jewellers are now experimenting a step further and have tried the same with a rose gold look and swarovski zirconia in place of the traditional precious and semi-precious gems, single cut diamonds, full cut diamonds, polki and pearls. Traditionally kemp stones (glass cabochons) were used in place of precious stones with non-precious metals.
Why do South Indians consider temple jewelry auspicious?
Gold is considered a symbol of wealth, prestige and power. In India its not just a monetarily symbol, but holds a religious sentiment too. Therefore in South India its auspicious and women there consider wearing temple inspired ornaments for wedding, festivals and occasions.
What to wear with temple jewelry?
Traditionally in India, temple jewelry is worn with an authentic South Indian silk saree. You might have noticed many celebrities wearing this style of jewelry over an indian attire. However, in my opinion one can do justice to this jewelry when carried with confidence, no matter what the attire is. I could even wear this on a LBD (little black dress)
Personally I adore Temple Jewelry and would want to design something for myself.
Did you know temple inspired creation is not limited to jewelry. Continued in my next post will be artefacts and decoratives in temple jewelry that caught my attention, until then stay stylish 🙂 https://styleprer.com/8-temple-jewelry-artefacts-and-decoratives-by-indian-jewellers-and-artisans/