Friday, February 8, 2013

A Penchant For Pearls !

          Beautiful pearl accessories made by weaving tiny little seed pearls  and precious stones together is an ancient craft that has been practiced in India for centuries. The Rajputs , Mughals , Nawabs ,  Gaikwads all had a passion for wearing lovely pearl jewelry.

  It is said that the Nizams of Hyderabad were so partial to pearls , that they set up the Pearl Industry in Hyderabad , Andhra Pradesh . And till today this city  prides itself in being called the Pearl City Of India    Inspite of the fact that Hyderabad is neither a coastal area,  or  near a coastal area. it has the a wide variety of pearls from all over the world being sold in hundreds of shops scattered around the city.  which dates back to 400 years .  Nizams in Hyderabad lead a rich life,  inviting craftsman from all over the world especially from the Middle East, where  rare pearls were in abundance. And these craftsmen drilled , polished and beautified the pearls still more to make intricate jewellery from pearls , which was a pride of every  woman.
 But like all other ancient crafts the pearl weaving too dwindled  and today not many craftsmen ( called patwa in gujarati )  can create intricate designs like the bygone era. Now only a handful of these craftsmen ( patwa )  are ready to twist the fine silk thread and interweave the pearls with holes so small that it takes a needle finer than a human hair to string it!. 

Rare and unique designs sometimes surface in family heirlooms , and , sometimes sadly broken strings due to unavailability of a patwa surface in discarded and forgotten jewel boxes of some Indians.
  The Bhatia community from Kutch region of Gujarat still wear  traditional pearl jewellery  . No auspicious occasion is complete without the family pearls comming out of the family jewel boxes . A feast to the eyes , the Bhatia women adorn themselves in the traditional gharchola ( a typical tie and dye bandhani saree with zari (gold thread )  checks that all the married women in the family wear , along with lots and lots of pearl jewellery .

gharchola , kutchi bhatia wedding, wedding jewellery
Wow , dressed in the traditional best

frill and lace  , victorian style collar
A happy friend indeed!



basra pearls, raviphool ,bridal bangles
henna and pearl bangles adorn the brides hands

 Keeping this traditional art of the Bhatia community  in mind , I had created the  Frill And Lace collar in my earlier post. As using real basra pearls is still out of question , ( I have a lot of practice to do before I even get around to stringing the needle , let alone weave the design ! ) I have used seed beads instead .
  And my joy knew no bounds,  because , at least to look at , my creation appeared in the same level as the other pieces worn in the photos. And ofcourse not to forget the heart felt thanks of a satisfied friend when she wore it at the wedding !

motidana

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful Pallavi,looks like lace. do you have any images of the original patwa pieces

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Divya . Yes I do have a couple of old pieces that are broken as the silk threads have frayed over the years for want of a patwa( the craftsman who strings and weaves these ) and are lying languishing in the cupboard. And it is my attempt to revive this beautiful languished art , when I created the frill`n`lace collar ( not in pearls but seed beads ) . By practicing again and again I hope I can reach the ability of weaving basra pearls like the patwas of yester years.

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    2. thanks a lot for the beautiful frill and lace collar.everybody was asking me where i had it made,and i was proudly telling everyone that you had made it for me.

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    3. It was my pleasure Divya Morparia ! I enjoyed every minute of making it. Glad you liked it .

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  2. Hmm...going by the testimonials, I think Motidana would soon open her handmade jelwries shop in cyber space. Why don't we come up with an apt name for her internet store?

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