History of Indian jewellery is as old as the history of the country itself. In India, jewellery is considered auspicious for women. Even poorest of poor women will have some kind of jewellery with them. Temple jewellery, much like the name suggests, was earlier used to adorn the idols of Indian deities, gods and goddesses. Indian temples still retain the practice of adoring the idols with chunky, gold Temple jewellery.
The ornaments that comprise of these intricately crafted, big pieces of jewelry are bangles, earrings, necklace, waist belt, nose rings, and anklets.
Temple jewellery is believed to have originated somewhere in the 9th century during the reign of the Chola dynasty. Temple Jewellery has its origins in South India and in order to protect their jewellery, the local rulers gave the same to their temples for adorning the deities. The Chola, Pandya, and the Krishnadeva Raya dynasties that rules South Indian from the 9th century till the 16th century were connoisseurs of jewellery crafting and the temples also maintained their individual workshops which housed skilled artisans.
There are a variety of temple jewelry designs out there. Most often, you will find temple jewelry designs in motifs, dots or even ambiguous patterns. The designs are very intricate and very often, busy in nature. There are a whole range of ornaments available in temple jewelry designs. Initially made to adorn the Gods and Goddesses in the temples, this jewellery was used by the Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancers during their performances.
It goes without saying that Indian temple jewellery is made of finest gold. It is further embedded with precious gems and stones to give it the additional flair.First of all, the design are sketched out on a piece of paper. Subsequent to this, a silver sheet is cut in the shape of a pendant. This is followed up by curling of a silver tape and vertical welding on the surface of the cut silver sheet. What evolve are floral-design-forming-cavities in order to fix stones.
The vertically placed silver tape is now heat soldered to the sheet. Wax is filled up in the cavities, and the sides and back portion of the ornament are electroplated in gold to get a uniform gold look.
Now is the time to set the stones in these cavities. Once done, the stone studded jewel is ready for applying gold leaf, which is fixed on the exposed wax. The purpose is to seal the exposed wax with gold leaf.Using a small pre-heated ‘kathir’ (a small chisel tool which is curved at the tip), the gold leaf is fixed on the wax and the surface. At this point of time, the stones are ready to be seen in a chosen design form on the surface.