Posted on February 01 2023
When it comes to Indian jewelry, the Mughal Empire left an indelible mark. From the grandeur of the Mughal courts to the intricate designs of their jewelry, the Mughals brought a new level of opulence and refinement to Indian jewelry making.
This article delves into the Mughal influence on Indian jewelry, exploring how the Mughals shaped the art form and left a legacy on the Indian Jewelry market.
But first, a little history.
The Mughal Empire
The Mughals were the descendants of Genghis Khan. The Mughal Empire was a dynasty that ruled over a majority of India for two hundred years. Barbar was the first Mughal Emperor and invaded Asia in 1526. For most of their era of dominance, the Mughal rule was generally tolerant of all religions creating enough social stability to ensure healthy business, investment, and trade.
At its zenith, the Mughal empire commanded resources unprecedented in Indian history and covered almost the entire subcontinent. Its expansion was due to India’s growing commercial and cultural contact with the outside world. The 16th and 17th centuries brought about the development of European and non-European trading organizations in the subcontinent, principally for acquiring Indian goods in demand abroad.
(adapted from https://www.britannica.com/place/India/The-Mughal-Empire-1526-1761)
Mughals and their love for luxury and grandeur
Luxury and grandeur were the hallmarks of the Mughal courts, known for their love of opulence and refinement, and were reflected in every aspect of their lives, including their jewelry.
Jewelry was an important symbol of wealth and status for them. The Mughal elite was fond of precious gemstones, gold, and intricate designs. And only the most skilled artisans were allowed to create pieces for the Mughal nobility.
The Mughal courts were renowned for their grandeur, and jewelry played an essential role in achieving this. The Mughal emperors and their consorts were adorned with the finest jewelry, often studded with precious gemstones such as diamonds, pearls, and emeralds. These gemstones, which were often sourced from the Mughal Empire’s territories, were highly prized and worn as a symbol of wealth and prestige.
The Mughals also had a particular fascination with pearls, considered the ultimate symbol of luxury and refinement. Pearls were highly sought after by the Mughal elite and were used to create beautiful jewelry pieces such as necklaces, earrings, and tiaras.
Introduction of New Techniques
The Mughals were great patrons of the arts, encouraging the development of new techniques and materials in jewelry making. They brought new levels of lavishness and refinement to Indian jewelry making. One of the most significant contributions of the Mughals to Indian jewelry-making was the introduction of enameling.
Enameling, also known as champlevé, is a technique where colored glass is fused to the surface of the metal by heating. This technique quickly became popular among Indian jewelers. Enameling allowed a wider range of designs and colors to be used in jewelry making, greatly expanding the possibilities of designs.
The Mughals also introduced new styles to Indian jewelry, such as floral and geometric patterns. These new styles were a departure from traditional Indian designs, and they greatly influenced the development of Indian jewelry.
Mughal influence on Indian jewelry today
The Mughal influence on Indian jewelry can still be seen today. Many Indian jewelers continue to draw inspiration from their floral patterns, geometric shapes, and paisleys, incorporating them into modern pieces, and creating a unique blend of old and new.
The Mughal influence is also seen in the contemporary pieces that pay homage to the Mughals’ love of luxury and grandeur. The use of precious gemstones, gold, pearls, and intricate designs characterizes today’s luxury Indian jewelry. These elements are reminiscent of the luxury jewelry worn by the Mughal elite, and they continue to be highly prized by customers in the modern Indian jewelry market.
Leaving an indelible mark on the Indian jewelry world, from the grandeur of their courts to the intricate designs of their jewelry, the Mughals brought a new level of luxury and refinement to Indian jewelry.
Indian jewelry is a beautiful adornment and a symbol of cultural pride and heritage; the Mughal influence makes it even more precious. So, treat yourself to a piece of Indian jewelry that embodies the Mughal legacy and be a part of a timeless tradition.