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Pakistan Traditional Jewelry

The Jewelry tradition of Pakistan is a combination of tradition and modern designs and techniques. In Pakistan, jewelry is worn by all women, sometimes even men, irrespective of their social status. It communicates a message of love, hate, power, hierarchy and marriage. Gems and semi-precious stones are worn not only for the fashion purpose but, they are also worn under the prescription of astrologers and spiritual leaders. These gems and stones are believed to affect ones future and destiny and believed to have strong influence on the live of a person. These people wear particular stone or Gem, especially prescribed to them to protect them from evil.

Women of Pakistan are great admirers of jewelry because jewelry is taken as a status of a person in the society and is counted as the wealth of women. The upper rich class wears gold jewelry with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. Less wealthy wear gold with less precious stones, whereas poor class wear jewelry made of silver and base metal. Since jewelry shows the status and wealth of women, hence gold has an esteemed place as an investment.

Therefore in Pakistan you will find even an impoverished individual wearing at least ear studs that are or look like gold. Expensive jewels are not ceremonial symbols in Pakistan, even though they are used in abundance in big ceremonies such as weddings when bride is loaded with heavy jewelry, but women and some men too, wear it simply to show their wealth, and to impress their friends. Women wear jewelry with pride and look after them so that it can be handed down generation in the family. In this tradition, jewelry is usually worn by married women whereas widow hardly displays any form of jewelry.

History of Pakistan shows that sub-continent of which Pakistan was a part, was referred as the Golden Bird, because it was the largest importer of Gold in the world. Sub-continent was the principle production center for beads by 3000 B.C. sub-continent was the superior trade route because it was rich in mines and had large quantities of diamonds, rubies, pearls and gold.

Pakistan has come under variety of religious, social and political influences. And Pakistan jewelry is the true mirror of its past, reflecting the social and historical change. The present Pakistan jewelry is the combination of the jewelry of the villages which is reminiscent of the ornaments of Moenjodaro and Harrapa-a sophisticated urban civilization which flourished between the years 3000 and 1800 B.C., and is one of the most highly developed civilization of the ancient world, and of the Muslim designs introduced in the 16th century by the Mughal Emperors.

The traditional jewelry of Pakistan is timeless and hand-made. They seem fresh and distinguished to people today in industrial societies. Traditional ethnic jewelry is made to withstand daily usage and therefore it is fabricated from heavier metals.

Silver jewelry is fashionable now in cities as well. Every gold design is also copied in silver by the city shops.

The craft of making jewelry is done by a specific groups and casts of people called "sonars". These sonars inherit the skill and methods by direct descent. The tradition which survived through centuries. The skill is handed down from father to son, and son is taught this skill at a very young age, and by the time he is grown up he becomes an expert in this skill. The Pakistani jewelers produce a perfectly balanced piece. These sonars can accommodate two diamonds or stones of different shapes with such dexterity that one can not distinguish it with a naked eye.

The jewelers use different techniques. These designs and modes of techniques vary from region to region and the material used. The most popular technique is "Kundan", which was introduced by Mughals in 16th century. The Kundan technique is used for forming very delicate stuff. First, a basic form of jewelry is created with hollow spaces where stones are inserted. Then it is filled with Lac (Resinous substance). Lines are engraved to hold different colors. First the colors, which require high temperature are filled and heated with fire. The other colors are applied which require less temperature, and fired until both sides are enameled properly. Then the stones are placed in their respective areas. The formed piece is then polished with a leather cloth. The jewelry produced by this technique is famous for its grace and beauty. These sonars have their own shops or stalls in the main market.

Pakistan is full of Gold and Silver jewelers. Now due to the increasing demand of Pakistan traditional jewelry, this industry is now a full-fledged large scale organized industry. And women are so fond of wearing jewelry that a simple gold or silver ring or stud for ear or nose is a normal merchandise.

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Published on 1/16/05

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