Think that those subversive looking ear-cuffs stem from the punk phase of the 80s? Think again. Most of our current, ‘cool’ and radical fashion jewellery designs are actually urban reinterpretations of traditional ornaments. Regal to tribal – trinkets continue to inspire art-jewellery makers who are effortlessly straddling the past and the present, with an eye into the future. We list the lust-worthy pieces that are up for grabs this season, and also trace their origins. Plus, we highly recommend you try some out this New Year. The year definitely needs a pick-me-up!
‘Haath phool’ literally means ‘hand flower’. Traditionally worn by brides on their wedding day, it’s an ornate piece, connecting finger rings to a wristlet with decorative chains. Current fashion versions have made this a cool piece to sport with virtually anything – denim, leather, maxi dresses. Even Topshop has a range of Haath Phools aptly named Finger Ring Bracelet. But for now, go as traditional or as radical as you wish.
Heavy, ornate traditional earrings (especially jhumkas) have extended cuffs that take the shape of the ear and have additional clips for support. Bridal and festive ones come in gold while tribal women wear silver. Designers blend tribal inspirations with punk and futurism and create strong, modern, statement ear cuffs.
Wrist Cuff or Kada
Heavy, broad bangles were traditionally made in 24k solid gold. Ivory inlays, minakari and precious stones were used to ornament the cuffs. Chunky silver replaced gold in villages and tribes. The new cuff is still bold, but sleeker, and does not come in pairs. A single piece, worn on just one wrist, makes a great impact.
Literally translating into ‘hair-parting ornament’, this has Ayurvedic connotations as it’s designed to rest at the 6th chakra, the ajna, symbolising the union of the male and female. Rajasthani women wear a circular version called the borla. Designers have played with this piece and created graphic, funky avatars, including mini Mohawks.
A Haar For Every Piece
The haar or haaram is a longer necklace, usually having multiple strands. Of the many versions, the sitahaar is the most popular. The new fashion derivations can be subtle (great with jeans, shirts and everyday dressing) or statement (elevate a maxi dress to gown status). A must-have versatile piece.
Traditionally the top-most necklace, followed by haars and malas. Because of the direct contact with skin, most traditional chokers are lined with velvet. After the reign of the collar neckpiece, it’s the choker that is coming back into prominence. Sleek and slim or broad and strong – your pick depends on the length and shape of your neck.
Jewelled hairpins, chains and decorative bands are essential for the complete shringar, especially in traditional dance jewellery. Gold, silver, lacquer and gemstones, along with flowers of course, have adorned coiffures for centuries. A modern reinterpretation is the jewelled headband. Fuss-free and cool.
The angoothi or the finger ring is a small but important piece in the treasure box. ‘Small’ is relative; flamboyance is our middle name. The cocktail ring of today stems from our majestic ring traditions. 2-finger or 3-finger rings add dramatic flair and personality to your manicured fingers. Now, there are the midi rings and the cocktail rings.
Jadau and kundan, gold and pearl, lacquer and stones – the status necklace (as a set) was, and still is the trump card that’s brought out during the choicest of occasions. Throw away subtlety – the bolder, the better. This applies even in the case of fashion jewellery – the statement neckpiece continues to rule.