Beads have been an intricate part of jewellery every since the evolution of accessories. Various shapes, designs and the ways in which they are strung together; make these beads a very crucial element in jewellery making. But did you know, India has the widest variety of beads that are popular world over? It is the artisans of India, who have carved their own niche from various states of India. Every bead produced here carries its distinct identity. As a jewellery lover you may have seen some of the beads. So, as a tribute to the Indian artisans, here is presenting a guide to the various types of beads crafted in India.
Making of the gorgeous lac beads is a technique that has been passed on since generations. The beautiful lac beads are made using a mix of lac and marble powder that is further detailed using silver plating, small seed beads and rhinestones. What is more interesting about these beads is that the lac which is an important ingredient in making these beads is a substance that is created by a small insect known as Kerria Lacca which lives off the sap of various trees. The workers obtain this lac resin and further develop it into the workable material.
While they look very similar to the lac beads with the work done on them, they differ completely in their composition. While lac uses the natural resources, Kashmiri beads are made using a mix of marble powder and resin or polymer clay. They are further hand decorated using different materials like seed beads, mirrors, rhinestones and much more.
Gujarat in India is known as the primary centre for beads, also referred to as Moti Bharat. Bead craft is an extremely popular industry in Gujarati with various forms of glass beads being made to use for making jewellery and as a base work on bags, and their tradtional clothing. The beauty of Gujarati art of bead weaving is how these beads are strung to form various patterns that are geometrical, floral and many more.
The artisans who toil with the clay would vouch by the versatility that terracotta beads can add to the art of jewellery making. From perfect rounds to cylindrical, the mud can be easily moulded into various shapes and then painted into bright hues of colors to make graceful and unique terracotta jewellery.
Yet another traditional form of beads from India, Meenakari beads are known to spell art and royalty. This is a hereditary form of art that is known to belong to the Sonar or Sohail caste of the Kshatriyas. The process is rather intricate and goes through various stages including shaping the metal bead, forming the gold plate on the bead, drawing out the intricate pattern and finally doing the enamel work which adds to the beauty of the beads. While we managed to put it down simply, the labour and workmanship involved in creating these beauties is tremendous and certainly deserves its true recognition. Check out our Meenakari bead jewellery here!
Traditional form of jewellery making by the traditional metalsmiths of West Bengal, the dokra jewellery is the new found love this season. Dokra beads are created using a metal casting technique with beautiful engravings done to add to the charm of the beads.
India has a mix of tribal communities, each of which carries an essence of their own when it comes to jewellery and accessories. Various materials including wood, ivory, copper and iron are used to make these beads keeping the rustic and original colours intact. Carving on these beads is done using metal wires and sharp animal teeth.
Known to have a spiritual influence and associated with Shiva, Rudraksha holds special significance in India. The Rudraksha grows on Eliocarpus ganitrus tree as a seed. There are two types of Rudraksha beads which include the five faced beads called Panchmukhi and one face beads called Ekmukhi. While today Rudraksha beads are used to make some off beat jewellery, traditionally it is known to create an energy balance in a person. Saadhus and gurus believed Rudraksha creates a protective shield around the wearer protecting him from the negative energies. Check out our Rudraksha jewellery here!
Today as Indian jewellery is gaining popularity world wide there are various other forms of beads that are becoming a showcase. Metal beads with filigree work, wooden beads, glass beads, terracotta beads and other synthetic beads are now becoming popular. It takes a lot from the craftsman as they put in their creative essence into creating these beads.
While this is the information from us on beads, do you have some interesting facts to share? We’ll only be happy to hear more about the intricate Indian art of bead making.