It's not just the sparkles of diamonds or the sheen of pure gold that make traditional Indian jewellery stand out. For those of you who love colours, it's hard to miss those bright, glossy hues in jhumkas, rani haars and various designs of polki and kundan jewellery that often feature meenakari, a traditional Indian craftwork. Meenakari masterfully integrates myriad colours in jewellery designs - from earrings and bracelets to necklaces and head jewellery - to further enhance the beauty of the jewels. So what really is this craft?
Ageerika Hari, jewellery designer and founder of jewellery brand Vaitaanika, gives us an insight on what is meenakari and its brief history. Ageerika's designing sensibilities are inspired by being truly Indian, being reflective of a time, an era, and a touch of tradition.
What is meenakari?
Ageerika Hari: Meenakari is a technique often used in colouring the metal surfaces and adorning the engravings on a piece of jewellery.
Can you tell us more about the technique?
Ageerika Hari: Meenakari is globally known as enamelling, wherein the glass powder infused with great heat is spread in various ways onto the metal. Right from simple dots to a scenery can be painted on a jewellery piece using this process. It is widely used in India to add incolourful and vibrant hues in jewellery. It is mainly found in Kundan jadau jewellery.
What are the different kinds of colours used in meenakari?
Ageerika Hari: Commonly used colours are red, green and blue. But since the jewellery industry has grown, there are far too many options. You name the color and it can be painted on the metal surface.
Can you tell us about the history of the craft?
Ageerika Hari: Meenalkari was introduced to the world by Persians and the Mughals brought it to India. It saw its peak in the 19th century and now Rajasthani jewellery in India is incomplete without meenakari.
How do you use meenakari in your collection of jewellery?
Ageerika Hari: Since our jewellery is an amalgam of old and new, we often bring in a classical touch using meenakari on our contemporary designs. I have personally used the meenakari technique instead of adorning my jewellery with precious stones. Since it brings about an old ancient technique to a greater use and is also cost effective.
What are some of the latest jewellery trends this season?
Ageerika Hari: Well, pearls are more likely to be a favourite this season along with motif jewellery. People are either opting for more drama or minimalist jewellery style.
Get your hands on beautiful meenakari pieces to add to your jewellery collection.