Jali Jewelry - Meshed and Magical

2013 Sep 13 - by Nadya
Much like its namesake, Jali stone-carving, which creates intricate latices and screens out of marble that sport floral, calligraphic, and geometric designs, Jali jewelry employs a lattice or metal mesh technique that creates beautiful and meticulous pieces of jewelry.

Jali jewelry - bangle

There is not much information available about Jali jewelry.   My guess is that it's a fairly new genre of Indian jewelry, though it originates out of much the older craftwork tradition of Jali stone-carving.

  • Who: Jali (or Jaali) jewelry
  • What: A jewelry style characterized by intricate filigree work that creates lattices out of metal, lac, or wood.
  • When: ???
  • Where: ???
  • Process: Still up for debate as it is being experimented with by many jewelry-makers in many mediums.
  • Variations: So far jewelry-makers have made Jali pieces in silver, gold, wood, and lac (possibly more).  There is also a variety of Jali techniques and styles.

Jalli Jewelry - Sidi Saiyed ni jaali

Jali stone-carving can be seen on a series of South Asian buildings, including the inside of the Taj Mahal and the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad (above), and on smaller objects like jewelry boxes.

Jali Jewelry - cuff

Jali jewelry includes filigree, silver, gold, lac, and even wooden jewelry pieces.  It seems that Jali is still in its early days and many small jewelry houses, including Western ones, are experimenting with it.

Occasionally they merge Jali with traditional Indian jewelry forms like in the necklace below.  Here you can see Jali alongside Polki diamonds and Kundan jewelry work.

Photos courtesy of Rosena Sammi JewelryPayal Vora, Isharya, and Bushra Jewellers

Sources: Traditional Jewelry of India by Oppi Untracht and Wikipedia

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