This post is inspired by the Art Gallery of Ontario's exhibition, "Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts", an enthralling time-trek to the days of the 18th to mid-20th centuries. (The event is sponsored by London's Victoria & Albert Museum.)
After seeing magnificent pieces like this emerald-tipped turban jewel, the AGO's gift shop offerings of Indian-themed jewelry were uninspiring for this rani.
|Watson Turban Jewels, Victoria & Albert Museum|
Sapphires the size of a plum are beyond consideration, but I admire and can afford Indian silver, so I searched for some pretty, not precious pieces to add a touch of the exotic to a winter wardrobe.
|Richly detailed pendant|
Antique silver and coloured glass pendant, just under 2 inches across, to hang from a cord or chain, $44 from Old Beads. (Item #IND195.)
Indian tribal silver necklace, 16 inches long, from eBay seller Heritage Trading, for whom I'll happily vouch. Starting bid $125. This item is #60536662941; see listing for more views.
|Enamel and silver beads|
Also from Heritage Trading, a green enamel and silver necklace, adjustable from 14 to 20 inches. The decorative slide at the back is just as pretty worn at the front. Starting bid $44.99; item #160537163317.
|Detail, Aura of Purity necklace|
Pearls were beloved of Indian princes, worn in multiple ropes by men as well as women to signify wealth and purity. Novica artisan Kalyani Gupta made this "Aura of Purity" necklace of pearls and sterling beads. The necklace part is 18.5 inches, and the pendant adds another 3.5 inches. Price, $174.95 from Novica.
|Details, Constellation pearl pendant|
Here's another pretty pearl piece, a silver and pearl "Constellation" pendant from Novica seller Bhavesh. It's neither traditionally ethnic nor antique, but I find it gracefully pleasing. The pendant is 2.6 inches by 1.9 inches and comes with a 15 3/4 inch silver chain. Treat your friend, sister or self; price, $82.36 plus s&h.
|Amulet and beads|
An evocative amulet of Hanuman, the Hindu deity, paired with a coral bead and a detailed silver bead, hung on a leather cord. Price is $135 from Nomad's Journey.
One could wear an old silver amulet or spend the same for a piece of Banana Republic tat–easy choice! Antique pieces do not date like many contemporary designs; they evoke a past infused with mystery and artistic integrity.
Buy them now to feel like a queen, and enjoy a piece of history for years to come!