In the repertoire of Indian traditional jewellery, polki has often stood out for its sparkling beauty. A craft that flourished during the Mughal Era - making polki jewellery a prized possession in royal wardrobes - it has over the centuries managed to retain its dazzling look and charm. Such is its versatility that it has stayed relevant with time and now is a hot favourite among the millennials of the 21st century, particularly to include in their bridal trousseau for that statement look.
So what is polki jewellery and how is it made? Vandana Jagwani, creative director for Mahesh Notandass Fine Jewellery takes us through the history, jewellery technique and latest trends of polki.
Can you tell us about the history of polki jewellery?
Vandana Jagwani: "Polki is an uncut and unpolished diamond that originated thousands of years ago during the Mughal Era. The stone often retains its original version and does not go through any chemical processes. The cut is very unique to each piece as it depends on the structure of the original stone. It was a specialty of Bikaner in Rajasthan and later moved to different parts of India. The stone being raw and unfinished makes it the purest form of diamonds and hence is very expensive. Polkis are often paired with different precious stones and pearls to enhance its look and value.
How is polki jewellery made? What's the technique?
Vandana Jagwani: To make polki, uncut diamonds are placed on a gold plate using foils and lac that give the stones shine. Pure gold is shaped to get the desired base for the jewellery, and then colourful precious gemstones are added to finish the look. Meenakari is also done commonly to enhance the look.
How long does it take to make a piece of polki?
Vandana Jagwani: A earring could take 15 days and necklace up to a month
What is the difference between polki and kundan jewellery?
Vandana Jagwani: Both kundan and polki are stones but their treatment is different. Polki is unfinished, raw and doesn't undergo any sort of chemical enhancements. This makes polki very expensive and the demand for it is higher. Kundan, on the other hand, is made of glass stones.
How have you been using polki in your jewellery collection?
Vandana Jagwani: We have a variety of ways in which we use polki. We use them with enamel, with beads and diamonds. We have traditional designs as well as fusion. We also have brooches which could be converted to necklaces.
What are some of the most popular designs in polki?
Vandana Jagwani: I'd say chandbalis and jhumkas, which are also my favourites.
Polki in bridal jewellery, how has it evolved?
Vandana Jagwani: There has been an evolution in the variety of colours. Brides now prefer wearing polki in hues of peach and turquoise and a number of other coloured enamel polki jewellery instead of the traditional red and green.
Polki for modern women, what are some trends to look for?
Vandana Jagwani: I believe layered polki necklaces are gorgeous and would look stunning with minimal earrings.
With these trends to look out for, add gorgeous polki jewellery to your collection.