Friday, January 11, 2013

Amazing website for gemstone information:

This is a GREAT website for the basic insight on the various colored stones that are frequently used in jewelry. The information is concise and crisp. What I like is that you will read about the basic of any stone that you like without getting over-whelmed with technical information or too much information.

What I dont so much like is that the website does not give any further indication or information about where to buy from or even what to look for in terms of quality of a gemstone.

But OVERALL - I love this website for the clear categories and descriptions and Im glad at least someone with an easy-to-remember domain name decided to give great info on my favorite topic - gemstones :-)

Friday, November 09, 2012

further about diamonds: Imitations, Synthetics and Treatments

Diamond: Why is it so precious?
There is a big difference between a lab-created diamond, imitation diamonds and natural diamonds. To read about the advantages and disadvantages of buying these imitations, synthetics and treated diamonds, please visit
There are 2 things that we talk about in gemology... Imitation (look-alike) and synthetics. Both are totally different things as the names say it pretty clearly.

A 'Synthetic' or 'lab-created' or 'man-made' or 'created' diamond or any gemstone is the one that was created by human intervention usually in a laboratory. The chemical and physical properties are consistent with those of a natural gemstone.
A synthetic diamond of gem quality is graded in the same way as a natural diamond. The key factors are the 4 Cs - Cut, color, clarity and carat besides the others. It tests positive on standard diamond testers and the obsolete scratch test. It scores 10 on the Moh's scale for hardness.
There visual difference between a flawless, near colorless and colorless synthetic diamond and natural diamond is negligible. In case of slightly included diamonds, the synthetic diamond can be distinguished from a natural one by looking at synthetic inclusions such as carbon residue, metallic inclusions etc.
The other distinguishing characteristic  of a synthetic diamond is the hourglass pattern for which a keen eye, magnification and experience. The value of a synthetic diamond can be as low as 30% of its natural counterpart.
Purchase of a synthetic diamond is your personal choice. The only important thing is the revelation of the true value of that product. You should only have to pay for what you buy. Before you decide to pay for your diamond, make sure you get certification from an accredited body and study the report carefully. Besides just the quality of your diamond, read about the treatment and whether it is synthetic or not.
A lab created diamond can also be further 'treated' the same way as a natural one, to enhance color and 'erase' inclusions. So watch out for such treatments since this can reduce the price considerably.

A SYNTHETIC diamond is a man-made or lab created version of a real diamond. It is exactly same in the chemical as well as physical properties as a natural diamond. So it is obviously the hardest known substance (10 on the Moh's scale) and its refractive index and other properties are the same as a natural diamond.
An imitation diamond could be any other gemstone that looks like a diamond such as cubic Zirconia, colorless sapphire, synthetic moissanite and other diamond imitations. These imitations are simply colorless stones with properties VERY DIFFERENT than a natural diamond. Any of these are lower in hardness and get scratched fairly easily as compared to a diamond. Some of them are more brilliant (syn moissanite) and others are lesser in brilliance than a real diamond. The prices are always lower than that of a real diamond.
The price difference of an imitation as compared to a natural diamond could be anything from a few cents onwards to several hundred dollars.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to Identify a Yellow Sapphire

How to Identify a PUKHRAJ

Yellow Sapphire or pukhraj is a semi precious stone which is often recommended by astrologers for enticing the goodwill of Jupiter in their birth charts.

Technically, even though only a natural yellow sapphire qualifies as a Pukhraj, however jewelers and con men often try to mislead people with misnomers, synthetics and imitations. There is a very fine line difference between ethical disclosure of information and legal disclosure. Most of these con men rely on the ethical disclosure or rather not disclosing information which is unethical.

In this blogpost I have listed ways in which you can minimize the risk of being mislead or cheated while buying a Pukhraj or a Yellow Sapphire.

Why is a pukhraj is more expensive than most colored stones
  • Because of its astrological demand. Not only is pukhraj suggested to most believers for good health, temperament and other positive personal enrichment, but also it is 1 stone which astrologically does not harm any wearer. The demand is very high for good quality pukhraj
  • Rarity: In good color and good clarity, yellow sapphire is a fairly rare stone especially in larger sizes that are usually recommended by astrologers.
  • It belongs to the Corundum family. Technically, a pukhraj is yellow sapphire, or the 'yellow' colored stone from the corundum family of gemstones. When this stone is red in color it is called "Ruby", when it is blue then it is called "Sapphire", when it is orange it is called "Padprasha" and any other color is denoted by the color name - sapphire , eg purple sapphire, pink sapphire, green sapphire etc.
  • Corundum is 9 on the Moh's scale of hardness which makes it very good for everyday wear
  • It is a gorgeous stone which looks rich and elegant. It has been given a lot of credit by designers over a period of time which only enhances its value
Synthetic Pukhraj

When sapphire is found in the nature and is only cut and polished by machine/ man, without any other interference to enhance or edit its physical properties, it is considered to be natural. When the same chemical, physical and molecular composition is recreated by man, the new product is known as Synthetic Yellow Sapphire.

Astrologically, I cannot comment on how this would make any difference to the wearer as compared to a natural sapphire.

Chemically and physically the stone tests the same as its natural counterpart unless very high level testing is conducted or some visual 'imperfections' or indications of synthetic building of the stone are present.

This is one of the most difficult testing types for pukhraj. However, like I already mentioned, that if you are getting a synthetic and it is declared the value of that stone is much lower than a natural one and yet astrologically it may not even matter for you to buy a synthetic stone. It is important however that you know that your stone is synthetic so that you pay for what you get and no more...

Imitation of a Pukhraj:

The imitation stone of a pukhraj is the one that will 'look' like a real pukhraj but it is essentially not the same in chemical or molecular structure. Anything including a glass, plastic, other natural/ synthetic stones, some non-precious stones etc can be used for imitation stones.

Astrologically unless it has only to with the color, this would not suffice your needs.

The hardness, the refractive index, the look and definitely the price will differ between a pukhraj and its imitation. Imitation stones are usually used for visual appeal and cost saving only. These can be as inexpensive as a piece of glass or as expensive as a yellow diamond.

Treated Sapphire:

This is probably the biggest challenge when trying to predict the value of your pukhraj. Treatments can be temporary in which case they wear off over a period of time or they can be permanent, in which case the chemical or molecular changes are permanent.

Treatments are done on stones to enhance the color, clarity, value or sometimes to create homogenetity. This is a fair enough practice as long as it is declared clearly so that you pay only for what you are buying and no more. 
How to 'see' the difference between a Pukhraj and any other stone:

Essentially, it is very difficult for a person without sufficient gemological experience to distinguish between a synthetic pukhraj and a real one and in most cases even an imitation. However, by process of elimination, you can fairly well rule out any misnomers and imitations.

  • Color is one of the best giveaways for imitation sapphire.
  • A pukhraj is a very elegant yellow which is neither greenish nor orangish
  • Look out for similar colors of Citrine, Yellow/ Golden Topaz and yellow Tourmaline.
  • Citrine has a slightly greenish hue, a golden topaz will lean towards an orangish appeal whereas a yellow tourmaline will be a lot more intense in color. When your 'pukhraj' looks greenish, brownish, orangish or very intense yellow, then definitely consider further testing or appraisal
  • Each of these 3 imitations are fairly expensive in good quality but nothing close to the value of a yellow sapphire
  • Blended color - Many stones by nature can be multi colored but a yellow sapphire cannot naturally have any other color in the same rock. It will be various degrees of light and dark yellow - mostly colorless to a more vibrant yellow, but never a green and yellow or orange and yellow blending in the same rock. So any such coloration will probably a tourmaline, quartz or glass etc
  • Look closely at the surface, edges and corners of your stone. Use a loupe or a magnifying glass or if possible a microscope. If you have blemishes, scratches or other signs of wear and tear especially such that occur when it may have come in contact with other stones, your stone may be a fake 'pukhraj'
  • Yellow sapphire, corundum is a very hard stone. It is not the hardest but still, under normal wearing conditions, it should not get all scratched up etc. So indication of excessive wear and tear CAN be an indication of imitation stones
  • If you suspect fraud here, clean your stone and then look at it again, sometimes grease can look like scratches.
  • These scratches and blemishes will be more obvious in glass, plastic and CZs
  • If you have a loose stone, this is easier... yellow sapphire is a fairly heavy stone and you can get exact specific gravity and weight of your stone for further testing
  • If your stone is already set in metal then you will need to use estimation and guess work which is good if you already have fair amount of experience handling stones
  • If not, then this is not really a great method... skip to the next
  • This is what MOST jewelers told me when I was an internee... FEEL the stone. Especially to distinguish between a topaz and a sapphire
  • Hold the stone firmly between your index finger and thumb and 'rub' its belly firmly by sqeezing it. If it feels smooth and soft, it is a Pukhraj, it if it gritty or rough-ish, then it is most likely not a pukhraj
  • I personally dont trust this either because I do not believe in tales or because I dont trust jewelers as a general rule ;-p
  • Now this is a more scientific and reliable way of ruling out imitations AND synthetics of yellow sapphire
  • For this you will definitely require a loupe, appropriate light and as much experience as you can get
  • Look inside the stone for inclusions including little black knots, bubbles and feathers
  • Bubbles - almost a definite surity that you are holding a piece of glass or a synthetic stone UNLESS... unless you somehow got hold of an EXTREMELY rare natural sapphire with a bubble trapped inside - either ways, discard it or spend a bit on getting it tested depending on where you got it from :-)
  • Black knots- these could be natural but in most cases, if they look like little bits of 'iron' balls or pieces then they most likely are residue of synthetic stones - get the stone tested further
  • Feathers - these are one of the inclusions in natural stones but they do appear very frequently in synthetic stones and in imitations as well... beware !
  • Spiderweb - these are usually an indication of synthetics but they can look very similar to a natural stone as well - test further
  • Needles - Unless these curve even mildly, these are usually an indication of natural stones... in other priceless stones such as diamonds sometimes 'needles' are actually the 'hole' created by laser to 'burn out' the inclusions. In other stones, such as some tourmaline, ruby, sapphire etc these are natural inclusions caused by nature and are very much a part of the stone
    • This is a fairly tricky statement to make but a very practical one to be honest. This is not what most jewelry background people will reveal, but honestly, if a Deal is too good to be true, then it most likely is NOT TRUE !!!
  • If your pukhraj looks like it is a steal, then DEFINITELY get it tested. Especially if you are buying it from a jeweler
  • If the stone you are looking at has a stunning yellow and very clean, then please be aware that if it is a pukhraj, it has GOT to be more pricey than most other colored stones
  • It will be very rare
  • It is more likely to be a synthetic than stones of lower quality
  • Since it will be more expensive than other stones of lower quality, it requires more attention and testing
  • Since it has 'no' inclusions, you can hardly rule out any of the above listed inclusions or issues so please take professional help with determining its value and identity
  • Uma Sapphire - A company that creates synthetic sapphire - many jewelers will try to sell sapphire under this name to make it sound mysterious - these are usually synthetics
  • Golden Sapphire - This is sometimes a misnomer used to increase the 'aspirational' value of your regular sapphire. Most of the times, a 'golden' or yellow topaz is called 'golden sapphire'
  • Peela Neelam - Peela means yellow and neelam is sapphire, but this is usually a denotation given to an imitation or to treated sapphire
  • Hydro Sapphire - This is the name give to some synthetic stones, but are not even sapphire - so these are imitations of synthetic sapphire
  • Surya mukhi patthar - Means sun-faced-stone - Usually yellow Topaz is sold under this misnomer since it has an orangish look
  • Golden Sapphire - This would technically mean yellow sapphire, but if your jeweler uses this phrase, think twice about what you are buying. This misnomer is usually used to 'enhance' the verbal value of the pukhraj to raise the cost
  • Any other 'stunning' association that is given as a prefix or precursor to your sapphires name
  • This is extremely vital. Buy your stone from a knowledgeable and honest jeweler. Remember if your jeweler himself does not know about half the scams that happen in the industry then how can you rely on him to get you a 'good' value piece?
  • If your jeweler is looking at building a business with reputation and branding, he will put his personal effort in making sure that whatever he sells to you will be true to its word. Still, since I do not trust jewelers, please make sure he gives you the information about your purchase in written with a company stamp or official signature
  • Definitely make sure that the return, exchange and upgrade policies are very clearly given to you in WRITTEN - BEFORE you make your purchase. I have several callers with grudges against old reputed jewelers who 'refused' to do anything about the exchanges or returns etc since its not 'written anywhere' !!!
  • You will need at least a few weeks for testing your stone - ask the jeweler to get you a certificate from an autonomous body or else agree on complete refund if you get it tested by yourself and that reveals some issues
  • Most jewelers will give you a 'certificate' but read the fine print. What are they stating... IN CASE some years down the road you find out that the stone you bought is not what you bought it as and you have to file a lawsuit... what do you have on your certificate which will nullify the case
  • Most of the times, the 'certificate' clearly states somewhere in the bottom corner or the back of the card that the jeweler will not bear responsibility for the mis-identification of the stone at the time of purchase - please find this section and question - you do not want this if you are paying for what they are telling you !
  • The only certificate that I trust is the one given by GIA. Despite a few issues somewhere in the past regarding their integrity, I honestly choose to ignore all masala news about GIA, since I have personally seen their working and standards. If your stone is still not set in jewelry, you can still send it to GIA for identification.
  • APPRAISAL is not the same as identification, so to get your jewelry appraised, you will need to look for a good appraiser who will have to identify your stone to actually give you a value for the product
  • This is the MOST vital information that will tell you whether what you are buying is actually a pukhraj or a scam or misinformation
  • Experience may be priceless, but dont just go by the experience of moms and aunts blindly... back up their experience with your common sense. They may have been fooled by clever mis-doers forever and they would still not know it. You want to be safe, use their experience in better forms such as the practicality of wearing a jewelry piece or the design etc... 
I'm sure if you managed to read the ENTIRE blog, by now you have realized that there is NO SURE WAY OF DETERMINING the true identity of your pukhraj so if you really think it matters to you and if you want to be sure, get it tested !!!

PS: Just in case you want to see some untreated, natural GORGEOUS pukhraj... visit THE NATURAL SAPPHIRE COMPANY I love this company for their simple rule - they charge you but they give you the REAL stuff !!!

Write to me if you have any questions or if you need more gyaan ;-p

Regalia Jewels Blogspot

Read about our exciting finds along the jewelry way on our latest blogspot... Regalia Jewels

One Of The Most Welcoming Fine Jewelry Stores

THE STORY: This is how we got there:

This story started a few months ago, when I re-associated with an old jewelry friend from India. He wanted my help to market his extremely fine quality fine jewelry products in US. After several attempts of getting my regular Sterling Silver Jewelry buyers to buy these high end one-of-a-kind jewels, we started with cold calling.
With little know-how of the stores and very light weight recommendations, we went cold calling starting from North Jersey till we came across the warm and cheerful jewelry store in Millburn, Nancy and David Fine Jewelry Store.

ABOUT THE PRODUCT: Something of an intrigue

Yash is a designer by heritage, education and passion. He has created some of the most spectacular jewelry pieces that you can think of... READ MORE AT REGALIAJEWELS.BLOGSPOT.COM

Surbhi S Gupta

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kundan Meenakari... very nice vlog!!!

Just came across this very concisely explained vlog on Kundan and Meenakari... enjoy and get your questions coming... !!!

There is a lot more to it... if you need any further information continue reading at

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vendorafa Lombardi

My current favorite: VENDORAFA LOMBARDI

The name with the tongue twisting zing and gold appeal is my current favorite brand. After several months (possibly years) of hunting for my aspirational jewelry design, I came across the Lombardi cuff at

The beauty about this gorgeous bracelet is the amazing blend of the rich warm gold and the sparkling hint of diamonds. The design... well the the neat deliberate knot against the rural unkempt look of the hammered finish is simply breath taking.

This rich bold stunning bracelet is simply the most priceless design that I have come across in a long while.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

5 Steps to Buying Jewelry - The Jewelry Buying Process

All jewelry shoppers follow a five step buying process. How this process plays out and over what period of time totally depends on the type of jewelry purchase that you are making. It is important for jewelry shoppers to understand this process in order to get the best deals and best jewelry designs. An inexperienced salesperson will have you believe that best deal and design is dependent on time and place (in other words luck). But the fact is that luck has very little to do with finding the best design that you want at the best price that you are willing to pay. Below is the short guide to the buying process that you always follow (knowingly or unknowingly) and if you understand this process better then it will help you get the best jewelry designs at best affordable prices.

You are in one of two categories of jewelry shopper - either (1) You are in the market to buy that next piece of jewelry that will make you look great.  OR (2) You already have a collection of jewelry designs that makes you look great.

Step 1 - Identify the jewelry you want
It is important to figure out what you type of jewelry do you need before you proceed to the next step of the buying process. How you look for the best designs and best deals is totally dependent on what type of jewelry are you looking for. If you need a pair of earrings then you should understand if you need those in gold or silver.  It is not easy to figure out what is the next jewelry piece that you want and this is the step where you will spend the most amount of time.

The better you understand what jewelry you need, the better you will be in having a satisfying buying experience. To better explain this process, I will use the following example- you decided that you need a cuff with bold ascent to go with a wonderful evening gown that you just bought.

Step 2 - Gathering information (Window shopping is your best friend)
This is the step which helps you refine your understanding of needs. For example, if you decided that you need a cuff with bold ascent then the next step is to gather information about the cuffs that are in style and the locations where they are available. This step will then allow you to further refine your need. Suppose you choose to buy a gold plated silver cuff then you will need to do online research to find the best deals on that gold plated silver cuff that you need.

Step 1 and Step 2 are iterative process. The more expensive the jewelry that you buy, the more iterative the process will be. In case of an impulse buy, you will not spend more than 5 minutes on these steps.

Step 3 - Narrow your choices and evaluate
Once you have gather all the various choices available to you regarding your gold plated silver cuff, you want to evaluate the various choices. This is the place where you consider other very important aspects of your purchase such as price, brand, quality and service.

If you have spent enough time in steps 1 & 2, you will most likely narrow your choices to your initial goals of getting the best design that makes you look good and finding the best deals. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the pricing of your choices, then you can go back to steps 1 & 2 which is akin to "continue looking".

If you walk into a jewelry store then an experiences salesperson will try to get you to narrow your choices and move directly to step 4. On the other hand, a good salesperson will focus on your needs and provide you as much information as possible.

Step 4 - Closing the deal
Deciding to buy and closing the deal is more of an event in the jewelry buying process than a step. Once  you have understood your needs, gathered all the info and evaluated all the choices, then closing the deal is a mere event. Most experienced salesperson know that and there they only focus on the first three steps.

Step 5 - Assess your jewelry
After you buy the jewelry that you so carefully selected, it is very important to continue to assess how it is looking and fitting you. This assessment will help you immensely when you set out to buy the next piece of that great polki earring.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is buying Silver jewelry from Costco a good idea?

Costco is the best buy
For all things in general, Costco offers you a good deal- the perfect blend of value, quality and price i.e for the same quality of product and same design you will probably NOT find any other place offering more value than Costco.. It is no wonder that Warren Buffet said that Costco is the "best business" in America in 2009.
Please note that the emphasis is on "same quality and design". But lowest prices on a product does not mean  necessarily mean that it is the best value.

What is a GOOD DEAL?
When it comes to Silver Jewelry, you would naturally think that Costco would give you a good deal. But at this point, one should stop and think again, what is value in terms of jewelry? If you literally split the price tag on any jewelry product, you would be paying for material, craftsmanship, design and last but possibly the most important, the brand.

Those who sell through Costco obviously realize this fact, but do those who buy it from them? In the recent past, there have been just 3-4 brands that have sold Sterling Silver jewelry through Costco, including Lucky Clover Jewelry, Jewelry to your Doorstep, Telesto Designs Jewelry and Kazia Digo Jewelry.

Let us look at each one briefly:

Kazia Digo Jewelry:
These guys at sell mostly Sterling Silver jewelry with colored stones and crystals.: contemporary, easy to wear every day jewelry. The style in general is trendy yet delicate. But prices for those styles which are not exceptional in design or material, are rather on the higher side.
They offer discounts upto 35% to Costco members. But despite that discount, I still feel that their  products are on the steeper side. But if you compare it with the jewelry sold in a regular mall chain store, it may still be considered as 'value'.
Of course if you buy it from another online store or the streets of NYC, you could get better deals. But at this point, I would say that the last factor, brand is really what adds to the price tag.
So at the end of the day, brand is really the only thing what you pay for when you buy Costco Kazia Digo jewelry.

Lucky Clover Jewelry:

Jewelry at your Doorstep:
Costco has been hosting special designer Silver Jewelry events (or trunk shows) at their prime locations in the North East. The silver jewelry available for sale at these events is of mediocre quality and tasteless design. It is certainly not representative of the highest standards of design and quality that Costco customers expect. The prices of these silver jewelry products are probably comparable if not lower than any place else. Costco bargains hard with these companies who are willing to host special events (trunk shows) at Costco. This allows Costco customers to get the benefit of lower pricing on these silver jewelry products as compared to the parent websites.
  • Material: Most of these jewelry pieces were Sterling Silver with semi-precious stones
  • Price: The prices ranged from $50 to $300 dollars - comparable rates to some online and local jewelry stores if not more
  • Service: The quality of semi-precious stones on sterling silver was not clear. I do understand that it is not practical to provide in detail the quality of each and every stone on the silver piece but if this a special sales event then the least that is expected is complete information on what you buy
  • Design: The design is rarely impressive or 'exclusive'
  • Exclusivity: These designs were not as impressive or exclusive as you may expect from Costco
It is for these reasons I believe Costco has to improve a lot when it comes to offer great deals on Silver Jewelry.

Costco, despite being my favorite store, offering great products with great quality, still  needs to do much better when it comes to selling silver jewelry. I am eagerly awaiting for that day when Costco can offer a great value on their silver jewelry collection.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blackening or Tarnishing of Silver

Sterling Silver tarnished over a period of time
Over a period of time, silver jewelry and articles tend to blacken. The reason is very simple: even though silver is fairly inert, it reacts with the sulfur present in the atmosphere to form silver sulfide which is dark in color. This corrosion causes temporary surface discoloration of silver which can be simply washed away with luke warm water and soap or detergent.

While washing your silver jewelry in water, please be aware of any stones, adhesives, treatments or materials which may get spoiled in water. The soap or detergent you use may contain bleach which can cause corrosion in stones such as peridot and enamel work or it may bleach some colored treated stones.

One of the best solutions for cleaning silver is silverex, a commercially available cleaning agent for silver. Again, make sure you read the instructions before using silverex on your studded and treated jewelry.

The most common and one of the best home remedy for cleaning silver articles is fluoride based toothpaste and luke warm water. Soak your silver articles in a bowl filled with luke warm water and toothpaste for about 10 mins to ½ hr. Gently scrub off the extra soap and dirt and wash in luke warm clean water.

Some important tips while washing your jewelry…
  • The toothbrush you use should be very soft
  • Do not wash your jewelry in the sink without the drain plug for fear of losing the jewelry in the drain
  • The water should not be too hot because it may corrode some stones, affect color treatment and adhesives that may have been used in your jewelry
  • Count the pieces of jewelry before you begin washing them
  • Check your jewelry for loose stones before you wash them
  • Make sure your cleaning area is out of reach of little children
  • The best would be to let your jewelry air dry or else wiping gently with a paper towel should work just fine as well
  • Since silver is extremely soft, make sure you do not drop your jewelry and scratch it
  • Do not wash more than one piece of jewelry at a time since they could scratch each other and spoil the finish

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neelam- Blue Sapphire

There are at least 3 varieties of Sapphire that run in the market...
Australian Sapphire surrounded with Diamond Polki
-Australian Sapphire
-Columbian Sapphire
-Kashmir Sapphire

Australian is the most commonly available sapphire and it is recognized by its distinct 'inky blue' color. It may be heat treated to enhance the color and remove 'patchy' discoloration.

Columbian Sapphire is much more vibrant in its color and hence a lot more expensive than Australian Sapphire. It comes in various sizes and is often heat treated to enhance color.

Kashmir Sapphire is the rarest and most expensive Sapphire that you may come across. It is a beautiful vibrant blue with a very exotic sheen in it. This cannot be treated and should be sent to the lab for authentication before purchase.

Sapphire may be treated to either enhance its natural color, to reduce unwanted inclusions or to even out the discoloration that is fairly common in natural Sapphire.
Hyderabadi Polki Ring with Australian Sapphire

Heat Treatment:
This is the most common kind of treatment on a Sapphire. Heat treatment is usually done under a very controlled environment with controlled pressure, temperature, carbon and oxygen.
Heat treatment is permanent and is so common now that almost all Sapphire are heat treated and the practice is not even declared though it is by law required to be declared.
You can see the heat treatment in Sapphire simply by placing the stone on a white sheet/ paper in white light and looking at the corners etc and inside the stone for heat traces.

Color Treatment
Under controlled temperature, pressure and air, Sapphire is color treated with cobalt and other elements. Not all Sapphire can be color treated and not all treatments are permanent. It is essential by law to declare color treatment in Sapphire.
Under close inspection one can see the color treatment in Sapphires.

This treatment is again done to enhance color. It is permanent but it needs to be declared.
Oiling or Fracture Filling
The very fine surface fractures on a Sapphire are gently wiped with oils or liquids with a thick consistency with or without heat. The liquid fills the fractures or feathers and the sapphire looks cleaner to the eye. If the liquid contains traces of blue color, the stone may even look vibrant in color and much prettier.
You can see traces of Oil filing in Sapphire fairly easily if you observe it from various angles in white light against a white background.

Ruby and Sapphire pendant in 18K Gold
The treatment on Sapphire may be permanent or temporary. Permanent treatment includes heat treatment and some irradiation treatment. Some color treatment may also be permanent but mostly fracture filling, color treatment and other forms of treatment on Sapphire are temporary and require special care.
Avoid extreme exposure to heat, bright light and sunlight. Keep your treated sapphire away from strong chemicals including perfumes, bleaching agents and cleansers.
Do not use ultrasonic cleaners for color treated or fracture filled stones.

Even though the worth of a natural stone is almost always more than that of a treated stone, in case of a sapphire which sometimes in its natural form looks either too pale, dark, included, or uneven, treatment may make the stone look more beautiful.
The price of a treated stone is much lesser than a natural untreated co-stone of the same clarity, color grade.
If you are buying your stone for its beauty, a treated stone may be a good option for you. If you are looking at collectors goods or as an investment, a natural untreated stone is a better option for you.

 It is fairly easy to create synthetic sapphire as compared to other syntheic stones. This is the reason why you will find a lot of Synthetic or man-made or artificial sapphire lingering around the market. It is essential to declare that a stone is syntheitc and it cannot be sold under the name of 'sapphire' alone.
Some synthetic sapphire look very pretty. One of the easiest way to find out if your sapphire is synthetic is to look for 'curved growth lines' in it. These are lines within the structure of the stone and sometimes fairly hard to find. But if your sapphire has curved lines then it is definitely a synthetic.

Beautiful Sapphire in Hyderabadi Polki style Ring
Imitations are stones that look like the more precious version. In case of Sapphire, the most commonly used imitations are blue glass, blue plastic,iolite, spinel, zircon, benitoite, indicolite and topaz.
Rarely Tanzanite is also used to imitate sapphire though now a tanzanite is fairly expensive and is no longer used as an imitation.
Sometimes doublets and triplets are also used as imiation of sapphire using a blue colored non-precious stone as the pavilion and a very fine slice/ chip of sapphire as the crown.

Sapphire also known as "Neelam" in hindi is a stone used to ward off the Shani dasha. It is considered to be a rather powerful stone. It is said that Neelam does not suit everyone and one must check their birth chart to make sure this stone will not cast a negative effect on the wearer.
If you are affected negatively by wearing a Sapphire, you may try wearing it along with a diamond of equal strength since a diamond is the absolute opposite of sapphire in its astrological powers.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quality of Diamonds used in Rose Cut and Polki Jewelry

The diamonds used in rose-cut jewelry or Polki jewelry are evaluated or graded in pretty much the same way as a regular round brilliant cut diamonds barring the last C ie 'Cut'.

The 4 basic C's of a diamond are Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut.


In uncut/ semi-cut/ rose-cut diamond jewelry, the most important attribute that you must pay attention to, is its color. The whiter (or more colorless) the diamond, the more expensive it will be.When you choose the diamonds for your Polki jewelry, make sure that the diamond does not look too white otherwise it starts looking like glass or fake which completely takes it off from the design. Also if the diamond is very bright, it will over power the pattern very easily and take you away from the 'old jewelry' look. This does not mean that the diamond should be completely dark in color, but choose colors which will compliment the design as well.The one thing you should try to keep steady through the design is the base color of your not-so-white diamonds. This means that stick to various shades of either yellow or brown in one jewel rather than mixing some of yellow and some of browns in one product.Matching the smaller diamonds with the larger ones is slightly tricky since the color of the stone can vary a lot based on the way they have been set.As a general rule, it is best to get a finished product and get a feel of the overall product rather than try for the best of whites in rose cut diamond jewelry.


This is an important factor which exponentially increases the price of a diamond. The diamonds used in Polki need not be the best in the clarity grade, but try to get the stones which have lesser faults on the table. Choose a median between the cost of the diamond and its look. For the smaller diamonds, I would suggest that you go for SI and below because with the setting , size and color, the clarity will really not matter all that much. Concentrate your budget on the bigger diamond which will show the faults fairly well.


The bigger the diamond, the greater is the per carat value. This is true for rose cut or uncut diamonds as much as it is for round brilliant cut diamonds.
Even though in Polki jewelry, the design pretty much dictates the size of the diamond, you can make a smaller diamond look bigger with simple techniques.
Use several very tiny diamonds around the bigger one.
Use white rhodium around the diamond setting and immediately surrounding that use a line of enamel or colored stones.Use contrasting colored stones around the diamond in very small sizes as compared with the main diamond.
You can use 4 or more diamonds instead of 1 big one to cover the same area in a design.

This is the one aspect of a rose cut diamond which cannot be assessed very easily. The cut completely depends upon the design and the budget. You can sometimes save money in Polki jewelry by using shallow cut diamonds as compared to deep cut ones. Use well cut rose-cut diamonds for the smaller stones which would give your product a neat and clean finish. Since symmetry of the stone does not matter, you can play around with the stones and create a mosaic network of diamonds to best suit your design needs.

Remember that a deep cut diamond will look smaller when set, weigh more than shallow cut diamonds of a similar visual size, and it may look much darker because of internal reflection hence taking us away from the color of the diamonds used in that jewel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

Join us to preview the Unique
Spring/ Summer 2010 Collection
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Indo Western Wear
Home Accessories


Ethnic Styles and Contemporary Silhouettes

8 May Saturday
11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Holiday Inn
3050 Woodbridge Ave, Edison, 08837 NJ

An Endeavor to adorn you
With the perfect 'ray' as you would

Walk in Beauty, Like the Night
Of Cloudless Climes and Starry Skies

Surbhi S
Gupta 732-986-8132
Sarika Jain 732-318-2411

Monday, March 08, 2010



As the technology improved and diamond cutting and polishing became an available option, craftsmen decided to use semi-cut or uncut diamonds in the Kundan technique. The semi-polished or uncut diamond was known as the Polki. This essentially had a single large facet acting as the table or the top facing facet. Eventually for the smaller diamonds rose cut was also introduced. Using polki gave the craftsmen the advantage to be able to use not so perfect clarity grade diamonds and cut them according to the design of the final product.

Along with polki, colored stones were also cut to suit the needs of the design. So basically the difference between Kundan and Polki originally was that Kundan used Cabochon or else absolutely raw diamonds whereas Polki used semi-cut/ polished diamonds.

The look of Kundan was like that of glass pieces stuck in pure gold and the design of the final product was dictated by the shape and size of the stone. Polki on the other hand required semi-cut/ polished stones and the stones were cut as per the requirement of the design.

Eventually though in the Kundan technique people started using glass and other colored stones, in the Polki technique, craftsmen continued to use Semi finished diamonds and rose cut diamonds.

The finish of both products was intricate Meenakari or enamel work which was done before the stones were set.

In conclusion, in today’s market place, Kundan jewelry essentially represents imitation stones instead of diamonds set in 22K or purer gold set in the Kundan technique whereas Polki requires the use of real diamonds in semi-finished, brilliant cut, rose cut or as diamond chips along with other precious and semi-precious stones.


With the use of real diamonds in Kundan and Polki, kaarigars/ artisans realized the potential of diamond brilliance that they were missing out on because they had to close the back or bottom of the stones. They realized that a diamond shines beautiful and bright and to maximize this brilliance, they would have to leave the pavilion or the bottom of the diamond open for light penetration.

That was the birth of a new technique of setting semi-cut or uncut or rose cut diamonds. It was called open polki. In open Polki, a simple open bezel or a band of gold was created with a groove to accommodate the girdle of the diamond. A tube of gold was cut into a collar form of band. A groove was etched into the inner edge of the band to fit the diamond exactly. Pieces of these bands were soldered together or attached or linked to the other similarly grooved pieces. The diamond was then placed in the groove and the edges were pressed down upon it. This meant that the diamond was open to light penetration on top and from the bottom.

Once set and finished, open polki pieces sparkled with the fire and brilliance of diamonds. The cost of the jewel is determined by the quality and quantity of the diamonds primarily then by the weight of gold and finally by the labor that went into crafting this jewel. Open polki was especially popular amongst the kings and novelty in the middle states of India. You will find numerous examples of open polki jewelry in collections from the Nizaam of Hyderabad.


Once polki became a popular craft in India, the artisans realized that the brilliance of a diamond in that technique was attributed to the silver foil backing the diamonds. This lead the craftsmen to ponder upon the shine of the ‘white’ in silver that they used for setting the stones. Thus came the introduction of a new technique of setting stones using silver.

· A shallow bucket or bowl of pure gold was created sometimes by doming at other times by soldering

· A small ring of silver was created to top this bucket which required very careful soldering

· The bucket of gold and silver was then filled with lacquer from trees

· The foil was then covered with very fine foil of silver

· The uncut/ semi-finished/ rose cut diamond was then pressed on the foil

· Another very fine foil of silver or silver foil pieces were ‘pressed’ on the edges of the diamond to set it into place

· As a result all one can see from the top of the jewel is diamonds set in white colored metal

· Sometimes a thin line of enamel was etched into grooves created along the diamond setting to create a contrast

Hyderabadi polki is once again becoming a much sought after technique because of several reasons. For one, the white look is very contemporary and goes well with pretty much all dresses and attires. The look of uncut diamonds is very rich and looks elegant and royal. The cost of material is comparatively lower than polki or kundan because of limited use of gold in the technique.

A very similar look of jewelry was introduced in England and became popular under the name of Victorian style of jewelry. Essentially the difference between Hyderabdi polki and Victorian style of jewelry was that the former required the use of silver and gold along with uncut or semi-cut diamonds set into lacquer whereas the latter consisted of rose cut/ semi-cut/ uncut diamonds set directly into silver. The style of design used in both techniques is also very different.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kundan... the technique revisited

Ages ago when the only technique of diamond polishing that the artisans of Old India knew were to grind one surface and polish it till it shone like mirror, the origin of the Kundan technique happened.

· The word ‘Kundan’ means Pure gold. And that is exactly what this technique of setting stones required. A collet or cup was made out of pure gold sheets.
· The various parts of the jewel were put into place and fixed in the form of necklaces, earrings, bangles etc and soldered into place.
· The reverse would be carved or etched to create a base for the finishing which was Meenakari or enamel work. Real precious and semi-precious stones were ground into fine power and mixed with catalysts to fill into these grooves and ‘fixed’ into place by blowing them till they melted into place as beautiful colors.
· It could be hammered or beaten into shape to fit uncut or cabochon cut diamonds of size. This was filled with lac or lacquer from trees which was hardened just enough to solidify around the base of the gold cup.
· A very thin foil of pure silver was then spread very carefully on the lacquer layer to cover the black completely.
· On this clean shiny bed of silver foil, the cleanest or shiniest surface of the uncut or cabochon cut diamond and precious colored stone was placed so that it would shine as much as a mirror would. Only the best of colors with highest of clarity grade of diamond were used.
· Finally very fine foils of pure gold were gently pressed down into the fine gaps and spaces around the diamond to ‘set’ it in position. This was one of the slowest and painstaking part of the work since based on this the final look of the jewelry product could change dramatically.

The origins of Kundan are unknown but the guesswork of knowledgeable people indicates that this beautiful technique was born in the Northern parts of India. Over a period of time, the shiny mirror like look of Kundan was translated with the use of glass and other colorless stones to cut the cost of the final product. The meenakari was replaced with pen enamel, a technique much easier than the actual blow torch Meena work. Nowadays, Kundan simply means the use of glass, quartz and other non-diamond stones and semi-precious stones in the same technique. The lacquer now involves the use of synthetic glue and finally the gold foils used to ‘press’ down the stones is replaced with gold wire.

The simple reason for all these simple changes is to reduce the cost of making Kundan jewelry by material as well as labor costs.

So when you go out to buy Kundan jewelry you must know that the gold may be 22K and the stones may be glass. What you will be paying for is the design and the look of the product and not so much for the material used or the labor that went into making this product.

Coming up next... Polki- uncut diamonds from the raw

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tips on Buying Jewelry at a Live Auction

Recently, I purchased jewelry and semi-precious stones at a live theater style auction. I frequently attend auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's. But never before did I participate in an auction as a serious contender. This time was different. I was a serious bidder and wanted to buy a few jewelry pieces that I liked. Below are the tips that I followed to bid for jewelry and stones.

1. Attend the Jewelry Auction Preview

You have to inspect jewelry pieces or stones that you are going to bid for. Without knowing the quality of the jewelry piece or stone, you will not be in a position to bid accurately and may eventually end up loosing.

2. Know the Auctioneer

It is very important to know who the auctioneer is and what is his style. Except high end auctions, most liquidating or auctioning companies are owned by auctioneers. It is very likely that an auctioneer will be present at the time of preview. You have to strike a conversation with the auctioneer and get to know him. This is where small talk will come in very handy. Auctioneer holds all the decision making power including the right to eject bidders from an auction theater.

3. Understand the Rules of Auction

It goes without saying that you will not play a game without knowing its rules. Auction is a game and you have to know the rules. It will help tremendously if you go above and beyond in understanding the auction. For example, if the auction is a chapter 7 liquidation then the auction takes place in the presence of a trustee. It would be a good idea to explore the situation of what happens if something does not get auctioned. There can be many examples like this. You have to understand that auction is a competition and there are professionals who attend these auctions and make financial decisions not jewelry business decisions.

4. Make a List of Items You Want to Bid on

The purpose of the preview for you is to generate that list. You will not be able to bid successfully in that auction if you do not have that list prepared.

5. Set a Maximum Bidding Price on Each Jewelry Item or Stone

Discipline is very important when it comes to bidding. You have to set a maximum bidding price and not bid in excess of that price at any cost. Too often, people get swept in the swelling emotions and competition of the auction. In business schools they teach the outcome of this behavior as "Winner's Curse". When you win a jewelry auction, you most likely have paid more than the jewelry item deserved. However, if you are disciplined then you can stand a chance of avoiding this "Winner's Curse"

6. Take Advantage of Mistakes During Auction

In a big auction where there are hundreds or thousands of lots, the auctioneer and the bidders are going to make mistakes. It is not a question of if but when. The amount of mental concentration required to conduct a flawless auction or bid flawlessly is too great. This is where information and smarts will set you apart. If you can take advantage of these mistakes by either auctioneer or bidders then you will certainly come out as a winner. For example, in the most recent auction that I attended, the auction went on for 15 hours as they were auctioning about 2000 lots. I pounced on mistakes of auctioneer and bidders several times and captured valuable items for much less.

7. Prepare a Bidding Strategy if Multiple Lots In One Bid are Involved

If the auction is of the type where multiple lots are being auction in a single bid, then typically the winner of the bid gets to choose the number of lots he/she wants. You have to prepare a smart strategy where you should NOT choose more than 1 lot of the winning bid since there is a possibility that the other lots which go for a lower bid.

8. Verify Your Winnings

In order to close the loop on your winning bid, collection of items is the single most important thing that you should do after successful bidding. You have to verify if the jewelry items or pieces that you are getting are the same as the ones that you bid on.

Is Jewelry Disposable?

Jewelry is the best accessory. Out of all the types of accessories such as glasses, handbags, perfumes, watches etc., jewelry is one that is class apart. I am not saying this because I love jewelry but I am saying this as an accessory designer.

Jewelry is the only accessory which is neither disposable nor dispensable. Jewelry does not get consumed or gets worn out (unless of poor quality or artificial) neither does it get old. Any fine jewelry piece above $500 is certainly a financial investment and any piece below $500 is your staple. Further, it is hard to match accentuating power of jewelry to any dress on any body type. Jewelry is truly a unique accessory of them all.

Call to arms for managing your jewelry collection efficiently...

I would like present a viewpoint which modifies the conclusion drawn from the above argument. I believe that any jewelry below $500 should be treated as disposable. This does not mean that we should dump or trash our jewelry to get rid of them. What it really means is that you should manage your collection in a smart way. For all fine jewelry below $500, you should segregate your collection into three parts. First part consists of your perennial favorites that cannot be replaced. Second part of your collection consists of jewelry pieces that exist to provide a wider variety to your first collection. Third part of your collection are the pieces which were bought because they were fashionable or part of a fad at that time. Those pieces may still look good but they represent the transient part of your collection. I believe that it is the second and the third parts of your collection that are prime candidates for replacement because of the loss of "freshness factor".

How to Dispose Jewelery

Disposable nature of an accessory is truly revealed when it looses its "Freshness Factor". The same is the case with any fine jewelry below $500. Any jewelry that has lost its "Freshness Factor" is certainly not in the first part of your collection. There is a certain amount of emotional inertia in keeping that jewelry piece in your collection. I would argue that you should actively look to replace those pieces. There are many ways jewelry can be disposed without loosing out on value. Gifting or exchanging is an easy way to dispose jewelry without disposing its value. Selling it the most difficult option because your will either end up putting it on ebay or selling it to your local jeweler. You can also try to get your jewelry altered into something that you always liked or something you wanted to try. The bottom line is that there are multiple options when it comes to disposing jewelry without parting with its value.

So like clothes or handbags, why keep jewelry that is no longer serving your purpose? I don't..

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Will Silver Jewelry Look Good on Me?

I do not know of any woman who has not asked that question. Silver jewelry is very enticing and affordable. Yet, you always wonder if it looks good on you!!. Not everyone can carry some of the staple silver styles, yet you can always find a design that suits you perfectly. I am presenting a few thoughts on how to think about silver jewelry and how can you maximize the quality of your experience and satisfaction with silver jewelry.

Search for good designs in Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry is cheaper to manufacture as compared to Gold jewelry. This allows jewelers to design, make and stock a much wider variety of designs. This wider variety of design availability has its advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage is that there is always a design available which will perfectly suit you and your aspirations. The disadvantage is that now you have to search for those perfect designs amid a plethora of mediocre and mass produced designs.

What does this mean for you? Should you now waste a great deal of time and effort in looking for perfect designs in silver? Well, the answer is maybe. If you are looking for that greatest satisfaction and a perfection in design then you are sure to find that in silver jewelry. You can be rest assured that somewhere out there is lurking a design waiting for you. However, not every one can spend so much time and effort looking for perfect designs. Hence, you should invoke trust in companies that sell designs you like.

Silver Jewelry, after all, is an acquired taste.

Silver jewelry is, to draw an analogy, like a beer. You may not like it the first time but you will acquire the taste and eventually start liking it. It may even become your staple jewelry for all occasions like beer is to all social gatherings. However, Silver like everything else, needs to be elevated to a higher level. You have to look for designs that you like and you think will suit you better. You have to differentiate quality from quantity. Ultimately, you have to try it and bear the audacity to carry it. Without a trial, you may never know that you carry a liking for silver jewelry.

Know your Silver Jewelry

Unlike Gold Jewelry, Silver jewelry is a different products doing the same function. You should definitely know and learn what owning silver jewelry entails. Silver jewelry is not maintenance free. Getting comfortable with silver is important. There are various aspects about silver that you should know such as whether you want to buy Sterling Silver or not? How to maintain silver jewelry? What does oxidation mean? How to clean silver jewelry? Knowing answers to these questions will allow you to enjoy your silver jewelry and be satisfied with it.

Silver Jewelry Bottom line

You have to find our own comfort zone with silver jewelry. You should at least try out add a few pieces to your collection so that you can figure out your own silver comfort zone.

Friday, February 05, 2010

5 Must- Knows about Gold Plated Silver Jewelry

1. It is plating not just polishing

Gold plating on silver jewelry is not the same as gold polish on silver. Plating is a chemical reaction which allows gold to adhere to silver. Gold polish is like a paint on your silver jewelry which will wear off much faster. FDA requires a layer of at least 3 microns thickness on a metal surface to be called plated while polishing can be as negligible as 0.01 microns of gold.
Gold polish has a much shorter life and can wear off more easily than gold plating can. Technically, gold plating can survive a very very long time if the jewelry is worn with basic caution. Before buying any silver jewelry with gold plating, you need to be certain that it is gold plated and not gold polished because you will be paying for your jewelry accordingly and you should be prepared for the maintenance that may be required from the same.

Gold Plated Sterling Silver Jewelry

2. What is the thickness of Gold Plating?

Thickness of gold plating directly impacts the quality, look and longevity of any gold plated silver jewelry piece. The greater the thickness of gold plating, the better the gold plated silver jewelry will look.
Not only will the propensity of plating to wear off become lower, but also the plating is more likely to survive any impacts or unfortunate mishandling of the jewelry piece. One of the disadvantages of greater thickness is that it increases the cost of the gold plated silver jewelry piece because gold is much more expensive than silver. Also if the bonding of the two metal surfaces is not very fast, then in some events, the plating may chip off from delicate positions of the jewel.
Plating will last longer on a rough surface rather than on a smooth polished surface
The gold plating on this hand beaten sterling silver bangle should last much longer than that on high polish bangles

3. Watch out for chips, cuts and rough spots

When buying gold plated silver jewelry, you should immediately check for chips, cut or any rough spots on the piece. This is normally an indicator of either low quality of plating or possibility of gold plating done on a incompatible design. Next section talks about this.
The one other reason for chipping off of gold from plated jewelry is when the chemical bond between the two surfaces is not complete. In the best cases, the gold should bond molecule to molecule with the silver alloy which is possible by using fluoride based chemical reactors as the bonding adhesive.
The few places that you should look out for chips in the plating in jewelry are:
  • Around sharp edges and corners
  • Hinges and joints
  • Areas where the stones dangle if required
  • Crevices of highly textured surfaces
  • Wires and other really narrow surfaces
  • Parts of jewelry where the product will be frequently bent such as edges of bracelets etc

    4. Is Gold plating compatible with the design that you are choosing?

    Not all silver jewelry is a good candidate for gold plating. The design of the jewelry directly affects whether gold plating will look good on that silver piece and sometimes even whether it will last long enough. There is no straightforward method to evaluate whether a design is compatible with gold plating but it comes with experience. You should ask opinion of your friends and jewelers to understand more about design compatibility of gold plating on silver jewelry.
    Example of a good design for Gold Plated Silver Jewelry

    5. How and when will the Gold plating wear off silver jewelry

    There are many circumstances in which Gold plating will wear off from over silver. Gold adheres very well to silver but it will eventually wear off. The composition of gold and other alloys used in plating have a direct impact on the quality and longevity of plating. The chemicals used for bonding the gold with Silver also affects its longevity.
    How you wear jewelry and care for it is one of the most important factors that determine the longevity of gold plating on silver jewelry.
    • Extreme temperature change can in some circumstances affect plating.
    • High impact such as dropping your jewel on a hard surface
    • Exposure to ultrasonic cleaners
    • Leaving jewelry carelessly with each other or letting it rub against other hard surfaces can create scratches
    • Acidic baths, even in mild forms which is possible during jewelry cleaning or repair can definitely affect the plating on your jewelry. Always inform your jewelry repair person of plating when required.
    You should take good care while wearing and maintaining gold plated jewelry. This doesn't mean that you cannot wear gold plated silver jewelry in your normal course of the day (otherwise what would be the point of owning such a piece), but a little care and caution goes a long way.

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Collection launch on 4th Dec and 6th Dec

    Jewel Sutra heartily invites you to join us for the launch of our Jewelry and Garments collection

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    The Rani Haar

    "Rani Haar" as the name suggests is a style of necklace especially made for the Queens of yester- years.
    This is a style of necklace in which the neck piece sits very close to the neck. It is sometimes combined with a choker. It has a repetitive pattern with a constant width of at least an inch or so, which will follow throughout the length of the necklace up till the back or the lock of the necklace.

    Aishwarya Rai adorned with the true look of Rani Haar in the movie Jodha Akbar. Jewelry originally created by Tanishq

    The pattern can be inspired by floral motives or just random setting of kundan or meenakari. The craftsman usually made individual pieces of the repetitive motive and then strung them on a gold chain or raw silk cord. The other option was to connect them via horizontal links.

    Another gorgeous Kundan rani haar designed by Tanishq for Aishwarya Rai in the movie Jodha Akbar

    Originally the Rani Haar was made in Gold and precious stones with very fine finishing of meenakari work on the back but nowadays, you can find imitations in non-precious materials as well.

    Madhuri Dixit in the movie Devdas wearing a typical set of earrings to match the Rani Haar

    The Rani Haar spreads beautifully around the neck and shoulders and looks extremly graceful and rich when worn with the Indian saree. The beautiful necklace when worn with a gown for an evening gathering could also look enchanting.

    Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas wearing Rani Haar with matching Earrings and Maangtikka

    The earrings that you would combine traditionally with the Rani haar are usually very long and heavy with a kanauti or decorative supportive chain that leads up and pins up in the hair. But following the current trends and practicality, a Rani Haar would look best when worn with medium weight earrings with the length reaching no more than the chin at max.
    Almost Rani haar made in silver using Semi-precious stones and uncut diamonds (polki)

    Saturday, October 03, 2009

    Do you wear a mangalsutra daily?

    Mangalsutra is a string of beads worn in the neck as a necklace by married women in the Hindu religion as a symbol of marriage. Various parts of India have varying protocols for the structure of a Mangalsutra.

    The common thing between all Mangalsutra is the fact that it has black beads or enamel and gold. The black color is to help ward off the evil eye and the gold is to symbolize the power of the woman as Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth.

    In North India, the black beads originally black onyx are strung together with a special joint known as the Mangalsutra joint, especially by the Brahmin craftsmen and is believed to be blessed by the Gods. The Mangalsutra joint is actually a handcrafted loop and ball joint which is made very carefully stringing each individual bead on an individual loop of gold and woven into the next loop. This ensures that even if the Mangalsutra happens to break, it will not let the beads fall apart and hence suggests the way a marriage will last through all tough times.

    In Eastern parts of India, a Mangalsutra is worn in form of a bangle made out of an alloy of metals which gives it a rich black color. It has a gold casing around parts of it.

    In Southern parts of India, the Mangalsutra is called the Thali and can be of various patterns. The most common one is representing Balaji. Some Mangalsutras have 2 discs and a symbol in the middle representing the male to whom the woman is wed. In olden days, even children wore thaalis made out of tiger teeth, tiger nails and covered with gold. The concept was similar, to defend the wearer from the evil eye. It

    As a general rule, in India, a Mangalsutra is worn with the same emotion as the engagement ring is in the Western countries.

    However, with the changing times, and hence dressing sense and social protocols, most women have accepted an engagement ring as the symbol of matrimony over a Mangalsutra. The Mangalsutra still holds its sanctity as the most important exchange of jewel DURING the wedding ceremonies. The woman still wears this auspicious jewel on major religious festivals such as Karwachauth, Diwali, Holi etc.

    But when the Indian woman accepted the Western dress code and gave up wearing sarees to work, she had no option but to give up on wearing Mangalsutras in her daily routine as well. The reason was simple, gold and black beads especially when on a heavy neckpiece, will not go well with a pant suit or a dress suit which calls for more subtle accessories.

    Even though I am no judge or advocate in favor of or against the wearing of Mangalsutra is daily wear, I believe that the marriage of two beings happens within the souls of those individuals and the wearing or not wearing of any jewel including engagement rings, wedding rings or Mangalsutras can shake it.

    Jewelry should be as comfortable as you would like to be through the day and it is a must that you feel comfortable in all accessories you wear every day. May it be for the look or for the feel, go with the flow and enjoy your Mangalsutra when you decide it is time to wear it.

    Nonetheless, for those of you who would anyways want to wear a mangalsutra in everyday without having to live with the 'bold gold' look, you can try some of the following tips;
    1. Try wearing a very short necklace made of very tiny beads of Mangalsutra which sits really close to the neck and hence looks trendy.
    2. You could opt for the diamond pendant Mangalsutras which is the latest craze and looks fancy and yet wearable with Western outfits
    3. Try rhodium polish on the gold part of the Mangalsutra which could be an interesting combination
    4. Detachable pendants give very good options for versatility of the Mangalsutra
    5. Try a really long Mangalsutra which will get covered under your shirt and stand out boldly with a saree
    6. Try the Bangle Mangalsutra which looks chic at the same time as serving its purpose