A Colorful Saga of Meenakari Jewellery
by Urwashee Saxena
Like a scepter or a tiara, some things do not require ornamented descriptions to denote their royalty. The art of Meenakari is one of them. If your mother or grandmother holds Meenakari jewellery with high regard, then don’t be surprised. This art is not a muse of a common jeweler but instead a saga of generational dedication towards this art. It takes an unfathomable amount of precision and attention to detail to craft a piece of Meenakari jewellery. From the royal houses of Mughals to now everyone’s ornamental repertoire, Meenakari has covered a long and interesting journey.
Let’s unveil the secrets of Meenakari so that the next time you wear a piece of Meenakari jewellery, you should know that it is not simple jewellery, it is a gift from a glorious history.
1. What is Meenakari?
In simple words, Meenakari is a craft of enameling metals, usually gold and silver, in colorful motifs. The name Meenakari itself is a work of art that is befitting of this royal art.
The name is made of two words, Meena, and Kari. Meena is a feminine version of Meenu which means Paradise or Heaven. Kari means to do something or place something carefully onto an object.
If you combine both the words together, it means putting Paradise on an Object.
2. From where did Meenakari come?
If you are from the Indian subcontinent, you will be surprised to know that the art that is now an innate part of our culture did not originate from our country.
The art of Meenakari Jewellery is connected to the Parthian and Sassanid period that is a part of Iranian History. These are the oldest traces we could find in the pages of history. However, the modern intricate design we see today seems related to the Safavid Iran from the 15th century.
When Raja Man Singh of Jaipur visited the western regions, he became an avid admirer of this Persian art of enameling for ornamentation. With him, he brought many Persian artisans who started the colorful saga of Meenakari and enameling in India.
From Jaipur Meenakari bewitched everyone throughout India with its meticulous work and intricate designs. Raja Man Singh was fond of this art, as a result, he got many art pieces and portraits made with Meenakari.
3. What is the process of Meenakari?
The process of meenakari isn’t simple. It takes years of practice and precision to become an expert. And it takes even more dedication and passion to become a meenakari artisan.
The process involves two parts. One is a substrate, usually, it is metal, glass, and ceramic. And another is colorful powdered glass. The powder is filled into crevices and contours of the substrate then it is heated at around 850 degrees Celsius. Due to such intense heat, the glass powder melts and settles down onto the surface of the substrate making a beautiful pattern.
The artisans of Meenakari are called Meenakars.
Types of Meenakari
Like any other art form, Meenakari has its types as well. Usually, meenakari art is classified into two parts, ‘Ek Rang Khula’ and ‘Panchrangi Meena’.
Ek Rang Khula is called a meenakari work that has a prominence of only one color or only one color of enamel is used in the entire jewellery.
On the other hand, a meenakari work is called Panchrangi Meena when five colors of enamels are used in a piece of jewellery to make diverse patterns of colors. Usually, these five colors are powder blue, ink blue, pearl white, forest green, and blood red. These vibrant colors look mesmerizing on gold and silver metals.
4. What else is made with Meenakari?
As they say, meenakari is the art of putting paradise onto something. Anything that needs some paradise on it can get the magical touch of Meenakari.
Usually, meenakari is done on metals like gold, silver, and their alloys. But you can also see meenakari done on glass and ceramics. From medieval times to modern times, you can see the works of meenakari on jewellery, vase, plates, cups, and many ornamental things.
If you look through the royal items, you may find various portraits made with Meenakari. Hence, meenakari has a quite diverse presence in our history.
5. Where is Meenakari the most popular?
The art of Meenakari has traveled thousands of miles from Iran to India. Its popularity is spread throughout the places it had touched at some point in time.
Although Meenakari originated from Iran, it is not Iran that is considered the capital of meenakari. Jaipur – the Pink City, the capital of the Indian state Rajasthan is known as the capital of meenakari all around the globe.
Apart from Jaipur, cities of Rajasthan like Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Udaipur are also famous for the traditional style of meenakari. Apart from Rajasthani cities, other prominent cities of India like Delhi and Banaras are also famous for their works of Meenakari Jewellery.
6. What jewellery is made with Meenakari?
The capital of Meenakari is Jaipur and it is in Rajasthan. Being widely popular and an integral part of the Rajasthani culture, the works of meenakari can be seen in almost all bridal jewellery or Rajasthan. It is also a reason why Meenakari Bridal Jewellery is so popular in India.
Rajasthan is a state of Kings, and in old times whatever royal families did become the trend and people followed them. And the royal families were fond of meenakari bridal jewellery. The trend is still as fresh as day one. It is one of the reasons why meenakari has earned so much respect among all the different types of jewellery.
Every jewellery that a Rajasthani queen used to wear could be seen made with meenakari.
Today, every traditional Rajasthani jewellery can be seen in meenakari as well. The pieces of jewellery include Rani Haar, Hath Phool, Rakhdi, Bajuband, Kamarband, Nath, Rings, Toe Rings, Pajeb or Payal, and Bridal Choora. Every bridal jewellery is now made in meenakari and you can buy them too.
You can find the best Meenakari bridal jewellery online and buy the one that invokes the queen in you.
7. Should I buy Meenakari Jewellery?
Meenakari is the art that originated at the end of medieval times. It traveled thousands of miles from Persian lands to the Indian land of rich culture. The art itself takes years of practice and dedication to master. In a sense, meenakari is not an ordinary or yet another piece of jewellery.
When you buy and wear meenakari jewellery, you are honoring a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. You are wearing a piece of art that once mesmerized the royal families of Mughals and Rajput. You are wearing jewellery that is a product of someone’s hours of meticulous work.
You can say, Meenakari is not jewellery of price but a great value. A value that we will never be able to calculate.
I hope this helps you with your decision. If your answer is Yes, then Viraasi is all set with an enormous collection of Meenakari Bridal jewellery for you to explore and buy. Hurry up! Irresistible discount offers are waiting.
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