Pair heritage jewels with Western wear

Select the right type of clothing to highlight the jewellery

The designing of jewellery as a form of art received immense patronage during the Mughal era. Craftsmen of that era took inspiration from diverse cultures. It was during this time that the practice of fusing the two techniques of Kundan and Minakari in one piece of jewellery gained prominence.

Minakari is the colourful enamel work done on the backside of jewels. It is believed to have originated in Persia and it is believed that Akbar invited Persian craftsmen to teach this technique to craftsmen here. The Indian-origin  Kundan is a technique of setting diamonds and other precious gemstones in 24-carat gold base.

A modern makeover is that while earlier jewellery was dominated by diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, today one has the option to use semi-precious gemstones along with colourful enamel work to create unique expressions in jewellery.

The question that I am usually asked is how to style colourful jewels. The important thing is to understand what’s the focus -- the jewels or the outfit. 

A monotone (single-colour) outfit can be transformed with colourful Kundan Minakari jewellery. With minimum effort, one can personalise and individualise your style. Tone down your outfit if you want your jewellery to stand out.

But if you’re wearing bold colours with heavy patterns or embroidery on the clothing, then opt for smaller jewellery pieces as highlights or singular colour jewels that help in colour blocking. This works well for both traditional and western wear.

Colourful earrings pull focus to your face so don’t kill the impact by overdoing it and mixing them with heavy neck jewellery.

Buttery-gold and silver-grey are the trending colours now and mixing outfits in these hues with multi-coloured Kundan Minakari jewels would work brilliantly. For example, pairing a silver sari with Navratan earrings. 

Multiple gemstone bead necklaces/bracelets are easy ways to break the clutter and personalise any outfit. A surprise element also works well.

When it comes to colour, think bright, think bold gemstones, think oversize statement earrings to create some over-the-top style moments.

Personally, I love teaming up my western outfits with traditional jewels. It enables me to stand out with ease. I recently designed a collection called the ‘Indian Rose’, in shades of pink, red and mint green. I love to pair it with my white shirt and jeans. It also goes well with a simple Chikankari kurta in light pastel colours or tones of white and off-white.

 (The author is a jewellery designer)

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