Jaipur: Where Creativity is Aplenty
Jaipur is a name synonymous with fine quality colour gemstones and beautiful jewellery that not only represent the culture and heritage of the city but also fits well into the modern sensibilities of jewellery wearers. By Kavita Parab
Jaipur is one of the most beautiful cultural and heritage cities of India. The city is known for its magnificent architecture, serene landscapes and culture. Also, this the city is a globally known colour gemstone hub and one of the known jewellery industries of the country.
The city’s jewellery industry has come a long way from being known just as a center of ethnic jewellery to be known as the industry that manufactures not only traditional, ethnic jewellery but also modern and fusion jewellery. Jaipur jewellery was known to be only for the affluent class. But with the rising popularity of handcrafted traditional jewellery and increasing number of people with more disposable incomes, the demand for luxury jewellery manufactured in Jaipur has only seen an upward trend. And it’s not just in India; even Hollywood celebs like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez have worn gorgeous handcrafted pieces from Jaipur.
The city is home to some of the globally known luxury jewellery makers like Gem Palace, Amrapali, Raniwala, Jewels Emporium, Ghatiwala Jewellers etc.
Capitalising on its Strength
eliminate your weaknesses but it may be best just to focus on your biggest strengths. One of the biggest examples where people have worked on their strengths is Jaipur. The city’s artists have strengthened their jewellery making roots, have combined traditional and modern jewellery designs into neverseen- before jewels, and have preserved the ancient arts of jewellery making. Some of the jewellery making arts like Thewa art from Jaipur are considered the best. The art is passed on from father to son and its secret technique of fusing molten glass with 22K gold is known to only few families in Jaipur.
Vikas Mehta from Achal Jewels said, “Jaipur jewellery industry has always focused on its strengths. Their strength is polki, meenakari, colourstones, handmade jewellery and the most importantly their love for tradition and culture that is rooted deep into the minds of the artisans and it reflects in their designs.”
huge role in bringing fame and recognition to the city. Known to be one of the oldest crafts of jewellery making, it was introduced by Raja Mansingh of Amer in Rajasthan. Jaipur is a renowned centre for meenakari art form. And when you talk of meenakari, one has to mention Sunita Shekhawat from Jaipur, a renowned jewellery designer, whose brand has put Jaipur on the world map for luxury seekers who demand the highest quality and authentic heritage value in their jewels. She said, “Jaipur has become synonymous with colourstones and jewellery. The name speaks for itself. It’s a colourstone hub from sourcing, cutting and polishing of the colour stones to getting expert traditional karigars, you find everything about jewellery in this city. It’s a complete jewellery hub in itself.”
The city is home to a lot of heritage jewellery brands who have been taking immense efforts to revive ancient jewellery making techniques. One such brand is Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas.
Yash Agrawal from Birdhichand Ghandshyamdas thinks revival and preservation of the ancient techniques is crucial for the jewellery industry in the city. He said, “Jaipur is an important destination in the country when it comes wedding jewellery shopping. I think Jaipur has unparallel approach to wedding jewellery in the entire country. Nowhere you would get the best of jadau, kundan-meena, polki and other ancient techniques used in jewellery than Jaipur. That makes it a niche market. Only thing the industry is lacking right now is maintaining quality. Commercialising the ancient arts will only bring bad days to this industry.”
He added, “This year, we have tried to revive lost techniques like ‘Neat’ and ‘Haldali’ through our jewellery. Haldali technique involves inlaying of a stone over stone. Normally, artisans would use jade but we have used emeralds as the base. Emerald being the softer stone, the challenge was to do inlay on it. And we have successfully revived this art.”
When you are surrounded by splendid works of architecture, it’s difficult not to get inspired by them. A majority of jewellery makers in Jaipur find inspiration in their culture and architecture. And now-a-days the jewellery pieces inspired from architecture of the Pink city have been quite in demand. Iconic palaces like Rambagh and Hawa Mahal have come alive as elegant pieces of jewellery. A lot of jewellery designers/ manufacturers’ designs have been inspired by the beauty of the most wonderful landmarks - the Hawa Mahal which is an extraordinary pink-painted composition with its intricate jharokhas and arched roof, the Amer Fort with its delicate murals and enchanting garden, the Rambagh Palace with its finely grooved domes and elegant arches and the sparkling Samode Palace with its curved pillars and intricate arches.
“I have never looked beyond my own city for inspiration. I think there is no need as my city has inspiration in abundance in the form of its culture, architecture, traditions, etc.,” said Sunita Shekhawat.
Like all other jewellery industries in the country, Jaipur jewellery industry too is known for its trust factor. The jewellery designers/manufacturers in the city have tried to retain the essence of the city in their jewellery designs which made it popular even in the international markets. Be it enamel, jadau, or kundan-meena jewellery, the best in the business will be available only the Pink city. And the jewellery industry has capitalized on it further.
If the industry is now known for its luxury fine jewellery then the credit must go to those few industry players who have brought in professionalism in the trade. The younger generation brought in newer managerial and corporate techniques which have helped the industry grow further and compete in the international markets.
Besides, ventures like Gold Souk, Special Economic Zone and Export Promotion Industrial Park have consolidated trade in a more organised form.
Talking about the changing perspective towards jadau jewellery, Abhishek Ghatiwala said, “Gujarati and South Indian buyers are one of the big buying groups for jadau jewellery these days. This has created new selling pockets for us. This has also helped in sustaining during difficult times as new avenues have been opened to us.”
The Pink city has always been known for its jewellery making and therefore a lot of jewellery karigars have migrated from Bengal to the city. Talking about how it helped the industry grow further, Tarang Arora from Amrapali says, “A major portion of silver jewellery export of the country is from Jaipur. The karigars from Bengal, both for gold and silver jewellery, have migrated to Jaipur. So the city having the best gemstone cutters, enamellers, along with fine jewellery makers who migrated to the city helped increased the capacity of jewellery making in Jaipur. This is an important shift that happened here.”
Traditional jewellery styles like Kundan-Meena, Polki, Jadau jewellery, silver jewellery, thewa jewellery from Jaipur are known all over the world. It is said that no one can make jadau jewellery as beautiful and intricate as the Jaipur artisans. Over the years, even the perception of the Jaipur jewellery which was once perceived as jewellery for royals is changing.
Talking about the jewellery trends, Abhishek Ghatiwala from Ghatiwala Jewellers said, “Right now, the jewellery trend is mainly wedding-driven as the spending power has reduced a bit due to various circumstances. The consumers are asking for bigger bridal jewellery pieces that have royal look. Thanks to movies like Jodha Akbar which has helped in popularizing big, jadaul jewellery pieces. Everybody wants royal and grander look for their wedding jewellery.
Open polki setting, too, is quite in demand says Vikas Mehta from Achal Jewels. “Open polki set with colourstones in the shades of light yellow, pink, blue is preferred by the brides these days. Though these are little unusual colours, the brides like it more,” he added.
For the uninitiated, open polki setting is a technique wherein a simple open bezel or a band of gold is created with a groove to accommodate the girdle of the semi-cut or uncut or rose cut diamonds. A tube of gold is cut into a collar form of band. A groove is etched into the inner edge of the band to fit the diamond exactly. Pieces of these bands are soldered together or attached or linked to the other similarly grooved pieces. The diamondis then placed in the groove and the edges are pressed down upon it. This meant that the diamond is open to light penetration on top and from the bottom.
Giving us information on jaal puwai, Naman Kala from Kalajee Jewellery said, “Jaal puwai is an art wherein, colourstone beads are knitted together to create a desired shape. There are specialised artisans who are experts in jaal puwai and are called as patwas.” “Our statement earrings collection in jaal puwai work has received good response from the buyers as it combined traditional and modern designs,” added Naman Kala.
Talking about trends in meenakari, Sunita Shekhawat said, “Blue is the new black and it is quite in demand as it blends well with pastel shades which are also trendy. Blue pottery which is a famous Jaipur art, is again gaining momentum in the market. The art finds its roots in Turkey and Persia. What I try to do is combine meenakari with blue pottery and create designs which are quite popular.
Along with its kundan-meena, jadau and polki jewellery, Jaipur is also known for its silver jewellery industry. Tarang Arora talked about the current trends in this industry. He said, “Domestically the silver jewellery market is witnessing an upward trend. Social media, gold prices being on the rise, people not wanting to repeat the jewellery has also helped silver jewellery industry. Currently, a lot of consumers prefer gold plated silver jewellery for destination weddings as risk involved is quite low as compared to gold jewellery. Other than this, tribal jewellery in silver which is oxidized, has old and rustic look is also preferred during the wedding season