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A vignette of the history of Temple Jewellery


Temple Jewellery or kemp Jewellery? Necessarily gold and silver? Studded with rubies or emeralds? Exorbitantly priced? Donned by the Gods or just the classical dance performers?

Given the diverse nature of Indian history and hence its Jewellery, it is but natural that one is bound to have ample of questions concerning what she chooses to adorn herself with. And it is amazing how little grist to the mill on the origin, history and significance of a type or piece of Jewellery adds to its value, big time!

Temple Jewellery: The Origin

Most sources claim temple Jewellery to have originated in the 9th century during the reign of the Chola dynasty, and it was always meant to adorn the idols of Gods and Goddesses. This explains the higher affinity of people in the South for temple Jewellery. However, a smaller chunk of Jewellery designers also believe that this type of Jewellery was meant for the royalty, that is, the kings and the queens who later donated them to the temples.

Chola dynasty mostly ruled parts of Southern India. Temple Jewellery is largely made of silver, finished with gold leaf work and studded with kempstones and pearls. The temple Jewellery owes it to the sheer brilliance of the Chola dynasty, during whose reign monumental architecture in the form of majestic temples and sculpture in stone and bronze reached finesse never before achieved in India.

Initially, the temple Jewellery was crafted specifically to embellish the idols in the temple. Later on, the Jewellery style became a prominent part of the aaharya or the attires of Bharatnatyam performers who enthralled the devotees with their devotional classical renditions and startled them with their adaptation of temple Jewellery.

With the spread of Bharatnatyam, the idea of imitation Jewellery made its way into the boudoirs of the commoners. However, back then, the Jewellery was large and hefty with pendants replicated to be the miniature versions of the ‘gopurams’ or temple entrances which signified the wearer’s close connection with the Divine.

Evolution of Temple Jewellery

Temple Jewellery has evolved in the sense that it has been customized to fit the likings, comfort and also the pockets of its potential customers. Though the trend of Imitation Jewellery has been on the rise, where glass stones are set in copper and brass with gold polish, authentic Temple Jewellery has always been about the glass cabochons called Kemp stones, set in silver dipped in gold.

Aaharya: We define, We design

Temple Jewellery for Aaharya is not about ornaments. It is about creating with subtle and chic creativity so that the traditional element of the Jewellery is not distorted. Transmitting the legacy of traditional art blending it with the contemporary elements, Aaharya still retains its essence of antiquity. We acknowledge the factor of divinity associated with these precious pieces and hence do our best to give every carving a hint of godly serenity, setting stones of flawless sheen and designing Jewellery that symbolizes the tender yet fierce woman you can be. With Aaharya, we unveil the goddess in you.