Every woman loves to flaunt intricate and gorgeous pieces of jewellery, but do you know what goes behind the making of those pretty baubles? With the Trick Of Trade series, we aim to give you a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes process of making these exquisite beauties. Each different kind of jewellery or ornamentation has its own history, its own craftsmanship and its own story. Buy gold earrings online coated with colored enamels and spread Indian culture all over the world. Come, journey with us, as we take you through the story of your favourite technique of enamelling or Meenakari in jewellery!
Meenakari is the art of coating or painting engravings in ornaments with colored enamels with glass or resin. The Iranian craftsmen of Sassanid era invented this art. The Mongols subsequently spread this art form to India and other countries. The name ‘Meenakari’ is derived from the word ‘Meena’ which is the feminine form of ‘Minoo’ in Persian. This Persian word means the azure color of heaven. Raja Man Singh of Mewar was the patron of Meenakari art in Jaipur during the 16th century. Due to his efforts and encouragement, this art gained popularity among the masses and Jaipur became the hub of Meenakari art, bringing in skilled craftsmen from Lahore.
Craft & technique
The fine art of Meenakari involves not one, but several craftsmen who each has his skilled contribution in the whole process. In the traditional process, the designer or Chitera starts on the art by creating the basic design. Then the goldsmith or Sonar moulds the design in gold,. This is followed by the engraver or Kalamkar who engraves the patterns on the metal. Then the enamellist or the Meenakar applies the colors with a skilled hand. After that, it goes on to the polisher or Chiknawala, the stone-setter or Jadia and finally the stringer or Patua. All these skilled craftsmen form an integral part of the Meenakari process. Together, they create a beautifully finished product that’s nothing less than a piece of art!
Meenakari art is primarily divided into two categories. The single color enamelling known as the ‘En Rang Khula’ and the multi-color enamelling or the ‘Panchrangi Meena’. For the first kind, the artisan uses one vivid color to give the Meenakari jewellery a gorgeous color effect along with the metal. In the ‘Panchrangi Meena’, the artisan uses more than one vibrant hues to create vivid patterns on the jewellery. The use of myriad colors make the piece intricate and stunning! Craftsmen can do multi-colored enamelling with up to 5 different colors, giving it the named ‘Panchrangi’. Craftsmen use either glass or resin for the enamelling process. They fire powdered glass in a kiln, which fuses and forms enamel, and use that for meenakari on metal jewellery. On the other hand, resin is a synthetic enamel that is also used for certain kinds of meenakari work.
This intricate art has evolved over the years. It is now practised in quite a few places in India, the hub of meenakari art being Jaipur. Today, it is available in both traditional as well as modern designs and is a popular choice for jewellery-lovers of all kinds! But the art has taken a path of its own in each place that it is practiced in. The rose-pink color enamel is used most in Benaras, while Lucknow artisans use more of blues & greens. Meenakari on gold is the forte of craftsmen based in Delhi, Benaras & Jaipur. On the other hand, Bikaner, Udaipur & Nathdwara are famous for meenakari on silver.
Today, this art is not only restricted to jewellery but used on home décor items, jewellery boxes, key chains and many more lifestyle products! But the most popular and most sought-after utilization of this art is in the form of jewellery. Meenakari jewellery can be elegant and classy enough to flaunt at formal gatherings, or gorgeous & regal enough to be bridal wear. Take your pick from the most beautiful & exquisite Meenakari jewellery pieces from Tanishq and upgrade your jewellery box with beauties in this traditional must-have art form!