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Ever tried on some Indian silver jewelry? Pamper yourself with a set. Wear it and feel the new gorgeous you staring back at you from the mirror. Indian jewelry has a tradition as old as its own civilization and India is perhaps the only or one of the very few countries where jewelries are worn with some significance. They all comprise of traditional or religious values and there are also distinct jewelries, which only married women can wear. All such ornaments are as important to them as the sacred vermilion that the Indian women apply in the parting of their hair.

The Indian ornament tradition is an unbroken one extending back possibly 5700 years, with the earliest discovered ornaments dating to at least 3000 BC in the Saraswati civilization of western India. In ancient times, ornaments was one of the four principal treasures and, even today, they can end up as anything from hoarded ingots to ornaments on temple statues. The possession and use of ornaments has always been associated with rank and status.

The people of India have put limitless energy and creativity in the invention of ornaments down the ages. However, while the most traditional Indian jewelries are made of gold, the silver ones too have become very popular. It is because they go very well with all the casual and formal dressing, Indian or western.

The silver jewelry in India has a Mughal influence. The designs are very much Persian as initially the Mughals too copied the Persians in jewelry designing. The silver metal was more popular among the Mughals as compared to the gold ones. Therefore the designers put tremendous effort and creativity in inventing new styles and adding to the existing jewelry fashion. What resulted was a great combination of the old and the new, which the designers of today also regard as their guideline.

The silver jewelry shimmer like a zillion stars. They are a collection and celebration of elegance, luxuriance, tradition and femininity. Perfecting the craft of fashioning silver jewelry in a tradition laden with myth, symbolism and a rich imagery is in India. A tradition that is timeless and a pursuit that is unswerving, finds an echo in the ornate gems of ornamentation so assiduously created and perfected in the decade of exceptional experience.

Unlike gold, silver never appears in nature and so it has to be extracted by separating it from other metals, the metallurgy for this obviously already known in India before 3000 BC. It is almost always alloyed with copper or zinc because the pure metal product is too soft to retain a shape and form. It was and is fashioned into ornaments for the head and hair, ears, nose, throat, arms, wrist, fingers, waist, and ankles and toes, in an enormous variety of shapes, motifs, and patterns usually characteristic to a community and to its women and men separately.

The old and new designs blended to in silver necklaces. All the necklaces are handmade in various patterns like loop in loop, granule, braided chains, amulets and many others. These are not designed by professional jewelry designers but by the village and tribal artisans. This is the reason they sometimes look more old than modern. Down the ages jewelry crafting has gone through a continuous developing process. And today the craftsmen of India present the world a range full of variety in silver and a combination of silver and gemstones that suit all types of dressing anytime anywhere.

While the art of Indian-crafted silver has flourished in this century, all Indian jewelers can trace their art to a Navajo named Atsidi Saani, who learned blacksmithing at Fort Defiance, Arizona, in the 1850s. The reason being that it is generally believed that the Spanish colonizers of the Southwest purposely kept the techniques of metal working from the region’s native peoples.

Now silver jewelry is handmade by the craftsmen of Old Delhi. There is a narrow lane behind Jama Masjid in Chandni Chowk where silver jewelry is being made in traditional and ethnic style. Each piece is hand-made, unique and custom designed by an individual artist. They are not reproduced exactly the same again or in any quantity, therefore once one is sold it is gone forever. These pieces come with the signature of the craftsmen engraved on the inside. These are not just pieces of jewelry. They are works of art!

Collecting Indian silver should always be enjoyable. It is still a very affordable art, and collectors enjoy a wide range of styles and designs. Learning about the history, techniques, materials and the makers offers insights into cultures that are often trivialized by our mass society. A fine, well-made piece of silver has universal appeal; it wears well anywhere, anytime and with almost any style of dress.

Indian silver jewelry has become internationally known for their craftsmanship. There are a wide selection of silver jewelry and some of the most popular are silver rings, charms, pendants, chains, bracelets, anklets, necklace, accessories, earrings, and rings. There are exquisite collection of them available in Malachite, Turquoise, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Predate, Cetrine, Garnet, Labradorite, Moonstone, and many more. The silver pendant designs have many different themes including fantasy, religious, ethnic, animals and sports. They are handmade silver rings, dangle earrings and matching pendants using faceted semi precious stones set with amethyst, peridot, citrine, garnets and fresh water pearls. You can choose from many different styles of silver bracelets, chains, charms, slides and earrings, rings and pendants. You can have your them engraved, engraving is provided in several different styles and fonts too.

The differences between authentic and imitation silverwork are subtle, a condition exacerbated by the tendency of smiths to copy what is the most successful or profitable, and to lower their standards for tourists who are often looking for cheap mementos. You have so many to chose from.
Like a scintillating tiara, the silver and gold plated silver creations are pretty with the image a woman has of herself, and wants to portray. Inspiration has been drawn from India’s historical riches of abundance and has thus culled the best of every influence different dynasties and kingdoms have made on the art and craft traditions. There is the luxury of tradition, glory of exquisite craftsmanship and the art of perfection in Indian silver jewelry. Visages of royalty reflect in every silver ornament, as they are a reincarnation of the rich art and craft traditions of yore.

Indian women from centuries have adorned themselves with silver jewelry and have developed through practice jewelries for each part of their body. One of the main jewelry, that covers the Kamar or waist of Indian women since antiquity is Kamarbandh or Kamardhani meaning waistband. Now what is this one may ask? Belly chains or Kamarbandh as they are so called, they are worn on festive occasions. These are heavy and very ornamental. Worn on lehenga or sari, this is generally made in a belt like manner. It has a hook or clasp locking. Often made of chain patterns, this imparts a majestic look. Even in tribal areas the women commonly wear this piece of silver jewelry. Apart from women, the Indian kings too had a liking for this. Influenced by the Mughals perhaps, the kings of various states of India wore heavier versions of it. In ancient time, these Kamardhanis varied from single chain to multiple chain patterns. Their weights also varied. In today’s fashion, this silver jewelry still exists but generally worn on special occasions like marriages. In modern times it is generally seen to be combined with enamel work to give it a brighter and intricate look.

The anklet is yet another interesting ornament. There is also the anklet in typical folk style. Popularly known as ‘Payal’, this gives out beautiful sound and adds to the beauty of a woman’s legs. There are also the flouncing key rings in silver and gold plated for the shapely waist.

Then is the amulet. The granules and balls enhance the beauty of the oval enameled amulet set in the middle of the jewelry. Not to mention is the common silver chain. Silver double braided wire chain with attractive small chain patterns and an intricate betel leaf shaped amulet with two swans and a leaf intricately carved on it. Round and carved hollow anklet with clasp closing at the back.

Gifts are always very precious. They tell your dear ones how much you care for them. And when a holiday gift speaks for you, you must choose it carefully. It should be unique that no one else but you buy for your friends and family. It must have some meaning, some traditional values and of course a saga of creation. All these qualities are met when you choose an Indian handcrafted holiday gift. The range has key rings, payals, sari pins, bracelets, kadas, toe rings, finger rings, ballis.

Gifts from India, essentially handmade by the village and tribal artists of the country are authentic and ethnic. A gift that your friends and family members will treasure forever for its natural rustic look that delights the basic man and nature relationship. When an artist in those remote places starts making these pieces of art, they not only give them traditional shapes but also put their hearts into it. Every piece speaks of that human touch seldom felt in the machine made uniform products.

Silver necklaces, bracelets and earrings are handcrafted and are exquisitely hand strung. There are beautiful silver and semi-precious stone pendants that enhance the silver, making an outstanding attraction of the ornament. Earrings are great gifts for all girls and so are bracelets. They are so beautiful that they touch your heart with love, joy and passion.

The lustre of plated gold on silver is amply matched with the brilliance of rubies and emeralds. One can have a symphony in coral beads for the ultimate appeal. Also one can go for ball designs in gold plated silver, with zircons or what are the American diamonds. Firoza and Lapis beads create a mesmeric effect of changing tints. With rhodium and zircon, a scintillating bend of tradition and modern elements can be brought about to ornaments.

Perhaps the best advice for prospective collectors is always to buy from reputable dealers and to ask plenty of questions about the materials and techniques used, and about the jeweler. Today, almost all silver is signed or marked, or the maker is identifiable. Many buyers think they should shun treated turquoise. However, much turquoise used today is treated in some way to strengthen it. In its untreated state, the stone is porous, often mottled, and marked with imperfections or inclusions. There are various types of treatments, including coating, dyeing, infusing with hardening agents, and even reconstituting ground turquoise. Ask the seller if and how the turquoise is treated. Obviously, collectors will weigh the advantages of different types of treatments.

No how do you care for your silver jewelry? Simple. Clean frequently to maintain true beauty. Salt water, chlorine in swimming pools, soap and perspiration take their toll. Wipe your jewelry carefully with a soft cloth to keep it clean and free of these elements which oxidizes. The best way to clean in places that a polishing cloth will not reach is very simple and you probably already have what you need in your kitchen. Take a small bowl that will hold about a quart of water and line it with aluminum foil. Add hot water and a tablespoon of washing powder and stir. Place your jewelry in the solution for about 1 minute and rinse with clean water and air dry. If you have a build-up of dirt in hard to reach places, just put a little dish washing liquid in a bowl of water and soak over night. This will usually loosen the dirt enough that it will release itself from the jewelry, if this does not work, use a soft toothbrush to loosen the dirt and soak it again. To keep your jewelry from tarnishing when not being worn, store it wrapped in a soft cloth and placed in a zip lock plastic bag. What causes silver to tarnish is air, and when it is not in use the more you can keep it sealed the less it will tarnish.

There are so many latest styles in silver to suit all your needs. So celebrate your love, joys, passions with unique charms and charm bracelets made of silver. They can be a unique collection and make great gifts for yourself, your friends and family. Why not celebrate birthdays, festivals and all special occasions with this great gift idea?

Shanti Mahadevan
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