History of Enamel Jewellery in India
Enamelling had no relevant background in India or its neighbouring regions whatsoever, It is major jeweller's discipline that was entirely imported, in the persons of European jewellers who came to India in the 16th and earlier 17th centuries. The subsequently demonstrated aptitude, excellence and inventiveness of Indian jewellers in the medium, and its perennial popularity in the Subcontinent, make the facts of its historical background all the more remarkable. Although a certain rudimentary level of enamelling does seem to have existed in the northwest (for example at Taxila), it did not emerge as a proper form of jewellery making till the advent of the Mughals in India. The enamel works found in later history display a form which is purely Indian while the design and colour scheme is purely European. Thus there seems to be a confluence in the discipline of enamelling between the Indian and European artistic traditions.
Despite the lack of a pre-existing tradition of enamelling in India, the art had already become established in the imperial workshops during Akbar's reign. His historian and minister Abul Fazl speaks of 'cups, flagons, rings and other articles with gold and silver' as being among the products of the enamellers there. It is likely that certain centres in the Deccan patronized the art before the Mughals. Be this as it may, from the 16th century onwards, the art of enamelling spread very widely over the Subcontinent.
What is Enamel Jewellery
Basically enamelling is the synthesis of a particular powdered glass to metals. Anything that can be made out of metal can be enamelled; anything from vases to spoons, to frames to jewellery, from metal mesh to solid forms, from large to small, from fancy to plain. The cells are filled with granular glass and fired at very high temperatures. Vitreous Enamel is true glass fused to metal. As the technique of enamelling has gone through a long way in respect of the ways of applying of enamel and preparing the enamelled metal, enamelled jewelleries have see great improvements in their appearance and style. Jewelleries like bangles, earrings, rings, bracelets, pendants are found in superb designs catering to modern as well as traditional interests.
Enamelling jewellery has got much priority in recent times because of development in technique of manufacture as well as a surge of interest in the arts and crafts.
(Last Updated on : 01-12-2010)
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