Krafts of India

The Intricate Beauty of Temple Jewellery

posted by Radhika Chugh August 27, 2016 0 comments

A long, long time back, somewhere around the 9th Century (yes, I am going centuries back in time), during the reign of the Chola dynasty, there was the birth of a certain unique kind of jewellery. Jewellery which was something like never seen before. The exquisiteness and intricacy of it is valued till date. And today, Kraftly with Krafts of India decided to address its importance. In times where traditional things are losing their spark, we are here to talk about – Temple Jewellery.

What Is Temple Jewellery?

Temple jewellery is among one of India’s crafted treasures, with every piece as everlasting as can be. It was originally made of the finest gold, and embedded with precious uncut gems. It continues to be symbolic  to South of India and is worn on all major festivals and occasions like birth and marriage. It is literally fine pieces of handwork, crafted diligently by skilled jewelers and craftsmen.

Temple Jewelry

History of Temple Jewellery

Coming through time and history, Indian jewellery in general, has evolved into an art. And, not only in design but also in workmanship. Artwork of Indian jewellery is at times categorized into three categories – Spiritual Indian Jewellery, Bridal Indian Jewellery, and Temple Indian Jewellery. Temple jewellery is used to describe a type which is used to adorn idols of deities in temples, hence the name.

It is known to have been pervasive during famous periods in South India. Beginning with Chola dynasty, then Pandya dynasty and also Krishnadevaraya’s rule i.e. 9th century to the 16th century. For the chola rulers (or all rulers for that matter), jewels were a statement to declare their power and prestige in those times. They considered cultural development incredibly important and encouraged the making of Temple Jewellery a lot. Most of the temple jewellery today is distinctly similar in designs, to the designs on South India temple walls.

Temple Jewelry 1

Jewellery pieces of the same kind were presented to temples back in the time, by famous royal figures, talented goldsmiths and rich devotees as offerings to the god and goddesses. That’s precisely how this jewellery got the name of Temple jewellery. It was made out of fine gold and embedded with rare and precious gems. There was a time when they were donated just for assurity of preservation of their beauty in the temples.

The Evolution of Temple Jewellery

Stones – uncut or cut, Gems – rubies, emeralds, diamonds and kemp stones, intricate designs of all sorts and likes, and what not. It is such a marvelous art form, that you wouldn’t believe me when I say it is 100% handmade. Designs inspired by the stone carvings of temples in the south, or similar to the well-sculpted walls of the said temples.

As temple jewellery was believed to bring fortuity and prosperity to the person, women of Southern India started wearing them on their special occasions. It was considered lucky, and out of respect to the Gods, women wore them on occasions of worship of Gods. Soon after, temple jewellery got associated with dancers. Which is why, even today, dancers of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi wear temple jewellery while their performances.

Temple Jewellery is made of 22 karats, and will most definitely leave a big hole in your pocket. Which led to the rise of Imitation Temple Jewellery. It doesn’t mean the jewellery in itself is fake, but metals cheaper and other than gold and silver are used instead. Imitation Temple Jewellery is like a whole package where you get this traditional jewellery at a feasible amount.

For better understanding, Temple Jewellery can be categorized into 2 groups, namely Regular Temple Jewellery and Occasional Temple Jewellery. While the former is worn by women on any ceremony beside marriages (festivals, pilgrimages), the latter type is used by classical dancers for their performances or brides.

Temple Jewellery, As Seen Today

A majority of real temple jewellery is crafted in a city in Tamil Nadu, called Nagercoil. Because it is so intricate and unique and requires a certain finesse in its making, it may take up to a year sometimes to complete and deliver. As it is incredibly expensive and considered a valuable investment, it has a lot of significance in the lifestyles of women in South India.

Although initially it was made of gold and silver, now there are economic alternatives, where coated silver jewellery studded with average gems are now considered in. In fact, Kundan and Polka stones embedded on Temple Jewellery is gaining popularity in North India.

Temple Jewellery has been and is being sold by ancient families or retired dancers, and if you walk by a jewellery store in South India, you will most definitely see them on display. And my god, they are expensive. And because it was being used by classical dancers, it is also popularly known as Dance jewellery.

Temple Jewelry 2

A toast to Temple Jewellery

The beauty of temple jewellery is adored by everybody, and we all know that it is unlikely that this will go out of fashion anytime sooner. But still, it takes us back to our very roots, doesn’t it? Here, at Kraftly, we have picked marvelous pieces of Temple jewellery and prepared an awesome collection. Why don’t you have a look?!

Source – Pinterest
Disclaimer: All images belong to the respective owners & we do not claim any copyrights for any images. 

Leave a Comment