Special Interest Tour to India
SUGGESTED PROGRAM FOR SPECIAL INTEREST TOURS :
TOUR IN INDIA
Duration : 9 nights /
Cities covered :
Mumbai, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi
Through this tour the members visit the famous jewelry shops
of Mumbai, a visit to Jaipur; world famous center for gemstone
setting and Agra - where the visit to the local gem stone
inlay work factory will be organized to see the descendants of
builders of Taj Mahal working with their age old precision
tools. Finally the tour takes you to New Delhi where you will
have chance to interact with the members of All India Jewelry
Association, to understand more on the latest in buyers trend
in Indian Jewelry business.
[These Special Interest Tour Programs are best
run with minimum 6 travelers to a group & more]
Jewellery - Gems :
India abounds in precious and semi-precious stones. Of the84
varieties of gems found here, nine, called the "navratnas" are
the most popular. These are the ruby, diamond, blue sapphire,
emerald, yellow sapphire, coral, cats eye, garnet and pearl.
These stones are often set together in various items of
navratna jewellery - a concept introduced by the Moghuls.
An interesting facet of all this is that Indians are quite
superstitious about stones. Ancient astrological tradition has
made connections between precious stones and human destiny.
The way you fare in life depends on whether you wear the right
stone. "Taveez", or amulets, are hollow silver or gold
pendants. They contain a piece of paper on which they are
written words to ward off evil. They are generally worn around
the upper arm or neck in a string.
Diamonds are mostly found in the Panna mines of Madhya
Pradesh. The cutting and polishing was originally confined to
Panna and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, but has now spread to
other states as well. The distinctions in diamonds arise out
of their size, the type of cut, and the size of each facet in
the cut. All this adds to their dazzling sheen that glitters
with the colors of the rainbow. Diamonds that have not
received any cracks, clouds or spots during the course of
mining or cutting are revered as being flawless and are priced
Kashmir is famous for sapphires. Ajmer and other places in
Rajasthan produce good quality garnets. Rubies and amethysts
are found in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Madras and
Hyderabad have ruby cutting artisans. The charm of this
industry lies in the transformation of a rough stone into a
shapely article of beauty. The lapidary work of Kerala is
quite well known. Stones in assorted colors are cut for
strings or ornaments, like pendants and ear drops.
Strings made of beads, semi-precious and precious stones are
available in every conceivable color, to suite every pocket.
The stones are left uncut or sometimes given an elegant
diamond cut; intricate carving, as on the coral and jade, is
often done on them. The strings are made in a single variety
of stone, in a mixed variety of two to four types of stone; or
the stones are combined with silver or gold beads. The prices
depend on whether beads or precious stones have been used,
whether solid gold or silver have been put in, or gold and
silver look-alike beads have gone into making the strings. Ear
rings and rings to match the strings are also often available,
either as a set, or by themselves, for you to mix and match.
Hyderabad specializes in cultured pearls that have become
delightfully affordable in the past few years because of mass
production. As opposed to real pearls, cultured pearls are
produced by the artificial introduction of foreign bodies in
the oyster shells. The cultured pearl, which is generally
shaped like a rice grain, is then extracted. Cultured pearls
that achieve a more spherical shape are comparatively of
greater value, as they take a longer time to form. Owing to
the virtual disappearance of the naturally produced pearl,
cultured pearls are now commonly referred to as real pearls,
while completely artificial ones made of plastic, are now
wrongly called cultured.
Gold and precious stone inlay work on mother of pearl is
executed in the Eastern state of Tripura, to make pendants,
bangles and tiny curio pieces. The Eastern states are teeming
with tribal jewellery made of feathers, grass, wood, bamboo,
shells and bell metal. Popular among these are tribal head
bands, bangles and belts.
Ivory fashioned into plain, as well as carved bangles,
earrings, necklaces and rings, in various parts of the
country, has now been replaced by animal bone which has the
same color and texture.
Shopping for jewellery in India appeals to the connoisseur
with a keen eye for perfection; it fulfils the love for
adornment and confers the thrills of buying in happy abandon.
Passage To India arranges specialized jewellery tours that
present the sparkle and exquisite variety of gems from India.
Gold & Silver :
Jewellery occupies a prominent place in India's lively craft
traditions. This industry is marked by diversity and an endless
choice of designs. The earliest ornaments were those made from
flowers, leaves, fruits and seeds. Flowers are a form of
adornment in South India even today. Shells, horn and ivory are
still used for fashioning ornaments. Lac is used by itself for
bangles, or as a filling in gold jewellery. Among berries, the "rudraksh"
has achieved religious importance and is believed to bring great
luck if genuine.
The patterns and motifs of metal jewellery are still based on
nature. Gold and silver jewellery from all parts of the country
draw from flowers, leaves, fruits, fish, stars and the moon, for
There is an ornament for practically every visible part of the
anatomy - the head, forehead, ears, nose, neck, upper arms,
fingers, waist, ankles, and toes can all be adorned with
delicate or heavy ornaments.
Gold has religious connotations and is used for decorating the
temple deity, as also for wearing on festive occasions. Along
with this, it has a deep social significance. Gold jewellery,
given to a bride, is considered "stri dhan" - a woman's wealth -
and will stand her in good stead in times of adversity.
Certain ornaments are considered extremely auspicious for
marital bliss. In Maharashtra, married woman must wear a "mangalsutra"
made of black beads and gold; the "thali" of South India is
similar to this; the gold nose ring and silver toe-ring, "bichuwa",
have a similar status in many parts of North India. Rajasthani
women wear a knob-like jewel at the parting of the hair on the
forehead. Kashmiri brahmin women wear jewels on long strings
hanging fro the ears called "atteroo". The importance attached
to bangles by a married woman is almost paranoiac. Along with
gold, glass bangles are considered a symbol of the well-being of
her husband and sons in certain communities.
Every state has its own special style of crafting plain gold, as
well as gold-studded jewellery. There is a difference in the
color of jewellery produced in the South, as compared to the
North of India. South Indian gold is reddish in appearance,
while gold from the North has a more yellowish tinge. This, of
course, is because of the percentage of other metals used in the
alloy to make the gold 22 carat - a system adapted from the
Handmade gold jewellery, though still considered a specialty,
has given way to the mechanized diamond-cut in most parts of the
country. South Indian gold jewellery is more solidly carved, and
stands closest to the unbroken tradition that is evidenced in
the frescoes and sculptures of caves thousands of years old. The
states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are noted for their workmanship.
Hollow gold beads and bangles filled with lac, though a
specialty of Maharashtra, are now made all over North India.
Bengal specializes in gold inlay work o bangles made of lac and
plastic. Goldsmiths of Kashmir excel in stone-studded gold
jewellery. The most ethereal designs are created in gold and
embedded with precious and semi-precious stones.
The Mughals introduced the art and craft of "kundan" which
combines enamelling with diamond encrusting on gold. Traditional
jewellery, like the "karnaphul" (earrings covering the entire
ear), "guluband" (choker necklace) and "dastband" (bracelet) can
still be ordered at select shops in Hyderabad. The encrusted
diamond, or white sapphires of these inlays look stunning. The
Mughal influence is also evident i the jewellery of Delhi, and
many towns like Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh state. Lacquer enamled
work, combined with carving on goldand silver, is called "minakari",
and is a specialty of Jaipur in Rajasthan state. Minakari on
silver, with or without studded gems, is also done on small
curios, like jewellery boxes, pen-stands and paper cutters.
Silver ornaments are made in
all parts of the country and are often worn in their
traditional chunky forms by village belles. Solid ring-like
necklaces in silver, that fit close around the neck, are known
as "hasli". Anklets are also worn as solid silver rings, or as
chains with tiny bells called "payals". Exquisite silver
filigree work comes from Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The floral
motifs seem like fine pencil sketches on metal. Besides
jewellery, silver filigree is crafted on ash-trays, picture
frames, buttons, boxes, and other artifacts. For the tourists,
they make good buys, both in terms of the uniqueness and
exquisiteness of their design, as also for the value for
money. Passage To India operates special tours featuring
visits to traditional craftsmen and select jewellery
showrooms, highlighting the splendor and variety of Indian