Strung in Gems

Amit Kapoor writes about a new collection of gemset necklaces featured on The Story.

New Delhi: The necklace is a piece of jewelry that has a long history of being worn by both men and women. Necklaces were often used as a way of making distinctions among various cultures.

Historians and archaeologists have discovered that the necklace originated maybe forty thousand years before it was originally believed. Archaeologists believe that the oldest known finding was from 30,000 B.C. It was made of stones, animal teeth, bones, claws and shells strung onto thread, similar to the concept of today’s necklaces.

Later, in 2500 B.C., necklaces began to be made from precious metals like gold. The ancient Egyptians made necklaces ranging in complexity from simple strings of beads to highly complicated patterns set with a variety of precious and semiprecious materials. They also had the broad collar and pectoral type of necklaces that both men and women wore, especially the wealthy and royalty. These necklaces were often richly ornamented and were an important part of Egyptian attire. Many of these necklaces were buried with their owner when they died and were excavated several centuries later providing critical information about this ancient civilization.

Gold was abundant in the ancient Greek Empire, particularly during the rule of Alexander the Great. The ancient Greeks used gold to fashion necklaces and many other types of jewelry for many centuries. During the first century A.D., the Roman style of jewelry, which used gemstones cut in circular or rectangular shapes, became popular.

Later on, it became a fashion for women to wear several necklaces at once. The greater this number, the higher the level of wealth or class it indicated. For a few years, the popularity of necklaces waned until the late 14th century, when they regained popularity.

Now, necklaces are popular among all cultures and peoples. Necklaces are worn for a variety of reasons. The most widespread of course is personal ornamentation. Another important reason people wear necklaces is for their religious significance. Necklaces with images of Saints or a simple cross are among the most widely used in this category.

Necklaces have been around for many, many years and will most likely remain so as they are a versatile type of jewel that can constantly be reinvented to stay trendy. They have been made from everything from animal bones and teeth to rare gemstones, from shells and beads to metals and resins.

Adorned, a collection currently featured on The Story includes an eclectic selection of necklaces set with unique gemstones like variously coloured quartz, agate, turquoise, labradorite, fluorite and ammonite in quirky designs.

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Period and Contemporary Silverware Exhibition at Saffronart Delhi

Manjari Sihare shares details of the Contemporary & Period Silverware exhibition, currently on view at Saffronart’s gallery in Delhi 

New Delhi: This week, Saffronart is hosting an exhibition of contemporary and classic silverware in their Delhi gallery at the Oberoi Hotel. On view and sale are about thirty collectible pieces, from intricately engraved period vases and objets d’art, to minimalist one-of-a-kind contemporary pieces, hallmarked and certified.

Silver lies at the heart of several Indian traditions. The use of this precious metal extends back possibly 5700 years, with the earliest discovered silver ornaments dating to at least 3000 BCE in the Saraswati civilization of western India. The prevalence and use of silver has not waned with the passage of time. As per the Indian social order, silver is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune and finds its way into every auspicious practice and occasion. The tradition of gifting silver is thus deeply ingrained in our culture. The current exhibition highlights the important role silver has played in India as well as the ways in which talented designers in the country continue to interpret this heritage.

Through the week we will be featuring posts on this blog that provide basic information (sometimes detailed) about the history of silver object making in India from the British Raj onwards, contemporary trends in silver craft, information from the point of view of investment, and details about the handling and care of silver. Our aim is to provide new insights into the history of silverware, as well as present both period and contemporary silverware as highly desirable collectibles. The posts will be compiled from a variety of authoritative sources including our extensive library of books on antiques and collecting, other informational resources on the web and insights from our editorial and client servicing specialists.

The pieces are on view at Saffronart, Delhi, until October 5, 2012. Select pieces are also available to view on Saffronart’s website.

Dates: September 24 – October 5, 2012

Venue: Saffronart, The Oberoi Hotel, Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg, New Delhi 110003, India

Timings: Monday to Saturday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Sunday 11:00 am to 4:00pm


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