A woman’s jewelry collection is incomplete without jhumka earrings. Jhumka earrings have been worn by Indian women since time immemorial. They are gorgeous and an eternal favorite.
The word ‘jhumka’ has evolved from the word ‘jhumki’. Jhumki is a traditional bell shaped earring crafted in India. Although India has endured cultural infiltrations from all over the world, the ‘jhumki’ design hasn’t lost its authenticity.
Jhumkas originated in ancient times, but they are still worn as daily trinkets by many women, especially in the villages of India. The reason behind choosing jhumkas as regular-wear jewelry pieces is very interesting. They aren’t just worn for their aesthetic value. Rather they are worn to make a public statement about the dowry parents can afford to present in their daughters’ wedding.
The jhumkas end in a lace of tiny decorative elements that have a distinctive jingling hum. The detailed filigree design of jhumkas can be single or multi-layered.
Traditionally, jhumkas form a part of the jewelry trousseau of South Indian classical dance form called Bharatnatyam. The Bharatnatyam jhumkas end in a fringe of white pearls. The use of Hindu deity figurines, floral shapes and birds in its craftsmanship show the influence of temple jewelry designs in the art of making jhumkas.
Temple jewelry is a jewelry art that originated in 9th century and is used to adorn the idols of Gods and Goddesses. The name ‘temple jewelry’ has its roots in an age-old practice, where members of the royal family offered this exclusive jewelry to the deities in temples. These regal looking jewelry pieces are an integral part of South Indian cultural heritage. They have been popularized by classical dancers. They add divinity and exclusivity to the classical dance ensemble.
Temple jewelry has graced the attire of royal families during traditional occasions. It has been dominating the South Indian jewelry circuit since the rule of great monarchs in Pandya and Chola dynasties. Skilled goldsmiths and craftsmen designed temple jewelry accessories for the aristocrats.
There are two main categories of temple jewelry. The first one is simpler and is worn by women during traditional occasions like weddings, baby showers and temple pilgrimages. The second type is more elaborate and bulky. They are worn by brides on their wedding and by dancers during classical dance performances.
Originally, costly metals like gold and silver were used to make jhumkas. In recent times, the popular element for making jhumkas is oxidized German silver. Moreover, many other traditional art forms, like ‘meenakari’ work, are also being used to make vibrant jhumkas. In meenakari work, enamel colors are used to design intricate floral, peacock and paisley patterns.
The Gujarati style jhumkas are also very popular. Here, the bell shapes are replaced by conical-shaped designs. They are worn with ghagra-cholis in the traditional dance form Dandiya, which takes place during the nine day festival, Navratri.
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