Indian jewellery designs inspired by Persia, have historically been an intrinsic part of Indian society and culture; important to both men and women.
Be it the ancient Vedic scriptures, which exemplify the epic heroes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata flaunting jewellery from top to toe – on their heads, necks, ears, noses, hands, and feet – or the relics found at sites of ancient civilisations like Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, which include clay and bead ornaments – Indian history proves that a love for jewellery has been here for generations.
One of the few things that has changed, has been the materials used to make Indian jewellery and the craftsmanship of the ornament’s designs. These changes have been influenced over the ages by the various invasions and conquerors who ruled the country at different periods of time.
The Persian influence on India can probably be traced back to Alexander the Great, who conquered the lands in 327 BC. The fact that he traveled all the way from Greece and over the Middle-East is proof enough that some of the Persian influence arrived during that time.
However, it was with the coming of the Mughals that the Persian influence was established in a strong and indelible form in India’s art and culture, spreading across architecture, painting, and also jewellery.
This was mostly due to the trade and commerce route that was established between Persia and India, with exchanges aided by the Mughal emperors traveling from one nation to the other. In fact, the Parsis in Western India are known to have arrived in India traveling with the Mughal emperors when they came to conquer and rule.
The jewellery of India has been greatly influenced by the fine artistry and workmanship that was brought in by the skilled artisans who migrated from Persia. These designs were often found in architectural wonders and building facades, but were then adapted to jewellery as well.
Most of these designs drew from nature’s bounty and included flowers, animals, and other natural elemental shapes such as water droplets, fire swirls and so on. Two of the most well-known designs in Indian jewellery that have their origin in Persian influence are the ‘meenakari’ and the ‘buti’.
Meenakari, originating from the Persian word ‘mina’ refers to the blue heavens above, and is the art of embedding precious and semi-precious gems into a bed of molten glass, or enamel, which is then bordered by molten metal wire.
Meenakari was popularised in India by Raja Man Singh of Mewar, who brought in Mughal artisans from Lahore, who had picked up their art from Persian craftsmen. Today, Rajasthan is the most famous seat of Meenakari jewellery.
Buti, the other very commonly used Indian jewellery design, traces its origins to the Persian ‘boteh’, a tear-drop shaped motif that has a curved end. It is one of the most common motifs used in Indian jewellery and has a found place in almost all cultures across the country.
Known as ‘kalka’ in and around Bengal, ‘mankolam’ (mango pattern) in Tamil, ‘kairi’ (unripe mango) in Hindi – the buti motif looks like a twisted mango shape and is not only used as a motif in necklaces and bangles but also independently as exquisite earrings.
Indian jewellery has been influenced by many cultures across the ages, but the simple and elegant beauty of Persian jewellery has made a lasting impression in the work of our artisans.
Discover some of our own stunning Indian inspired jewellery pieces in our Heritage collection.
If you are interested in buying Indian jewellery pieces online, call us at +65 6733 4100 to discuss your options.