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 , kucchi bhatia wedding, wedding jewellery , Halai Bhatia wedding
Wow , dressed in the traditional best

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

Bhatia wedding rituals , Mandap muharat

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 !



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

    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.

    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.

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

  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?

  3. It's true, Pearl industry in India is very old with Hyderabad being the capital of it.These pearl jewelry sets or necklaces are really exquisite in nature, crafted by the now rare Patwa artisans.To purchase pearl jewelry in Delhi, contact Sirjana Signature Jewellery.


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