The most important aspect of Islamic jewellery is the techniques employed in creating lasting masterpieces. Gold has always been the main ingredient, worked in a multitude of techniques, from exquisite filigree to repoussé. Crowning this achievement are usually the finest gemstones.
The elite of various Islamic societies has favoured diamonds, emeralds and rubies, along with pearls and a host of semi-precious stones. The ways that they were worked, and the uses that they were put to, often differed greatly from their European counterparts. Nose and toe rings are two types of personal adornment more commonly found in the Islamic world.
The jewellery worn can be extremely elaborate, where many items were used solely for rites of passage, including bridal crowns that beguilingly follow the shape of the wearer’s eyebrows.
At the more opulent end of the scale, there is little to rival the magnificence of Indian jewellery. The Subcontinent is not only the source of a large variety of gemstones but it is also where they were turned into the most fabulous creations. The Mughal court was a leader in the field, and enthusiasm was not limited to the ladies of the court alone.
At a time in history when Europe’s kings sported jaunty drop pearl earrings, the Mughals would not be outshone. Their love of ornament encompassed everything from plain stones to some of the largest and most elaborate ensembles ever created, usually incorporating diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
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