Polki - Uncut and All Natural

September 9, 2013 - by Nadya

If you've been reading our jewelry series, you've seen the word 'polki' pop up a few times.  For those who aren't well-versed in Indian jewelry, we're here for you.

To start off, here's the super academic description taken from Traditional Jewelry of India by Oppi Untracht:

polki (n.) - an uncut diamond with one flat side and the other cut to a taper or point.  It can be mounted on either side, but usually the shaped (non-flat) side faces up.

Polki diamonds, basically, are a type of uncut, naturally earth-mined diamond.  'Uncut' simply means that these diamonds are not faceted, or shaved to have geometric faces.  Polki diamonds have the same monetary value all over the world and are fairly popular in the diamond market.

They appear often in traditional Jadau and modern Kundan jewelry work.  They suit the rough-edged quality of Jadau because they themselves are uncut and aren't as clear or well-manicured as normal, cut diamonds are. That's not to say they aren't as incredibly pure or valuable as cut diamonds.

Tanishq Punjabi Vivah width=

They've been around for a really long time, but I can't find a specific date when they first started being used.  Ancient (or at least really really old) Indian jewelry, like Jadau, has been using Polki since the beginning, and the Mughals definitely included a bunch of polki diamonds in their jewelry.

Parab-polki meenakar jewarat, or enameled jewelry (Meenakari) made with parab-cut or polki diamonds, is a Jaipuri term used to designate Mughal-Rajput gold jewelry.  This jewelry is decorated with Jaipuri diamonds and enamel.  Most Polki jewelry today tends to have enameling on the back, usually pink or red lotuses.

Polki - Meenakari backing

 

'Polki,' when used colloquially, actually refers to a whole range of uncut diamonds.  Villandi (or Bullandi) diamonds tend to be called Polki as they also appear in Jadau and Kundan jewelry.  Unlike Polki, which are not shaped, Villandi diamonds have a Mughal cut, or the flat upper pavilion that slopes into a multi-faceted setting.

The bit below the setting is irregularly faceted into a vertex.  These stones are often removed from Indian jewelry to be cut into Western diamond shapes.  This ends up increasing the value of the diamond.

Photos courtesy of Nash Creations, Tanishq JewelryOnly Gray Matter Matters

Sources: Traditional Jewelry of India by Oppi Untracht

 

Related posts

pakeezah

Dia Mirza as Pakeezah's Meena Kumari

Bollywood beauty Dia Mirza worked with Harper's Bazaar magazine to create a photo remake of Meena Kumari's film, Pakeezah. Meena Kumari, a 60s Bollywood beauty, died two [...]

Aishwarya-Rai

Quiz: Which Bollywood Starlet Are You?

We couldn't help ourselves and just had to make another quiz. We noticed that every TV show and movie has a personality quiz online. But there was not a single Bollywood [...]

lush-and-glamorous-wedding-in-india-1

Bridget & Adarsh's Lush and Glamorous Indian Wedding {India}

Today we are bringing you a gorgeous, artsy wedding straight from India! World-famous artist Adarsh Alphons (seriously, his work has been commissioned for popes and kings) [...]

indian flash mob wedding proposal

An Indian Flash Mob Wedding Proposal You Can't Miss

I love good flash mobs. They can make you so happy, your feet end up dancing away from the computer. When I heard from Arsh the first time, he had so much enthusiasm, I knew this [...]

Azva Jewelry Aamby Valley Bridal Week 2013 Mumbai 0

Chitrangada Singh for Azva Jewelry at Aamby Valley {Mumbai 2013}

Who doesn't love Chitrangada Singh? Really, speak up now or forever hold your peace. Because I totally love her. She just *knows* how to walk the runway and captivate us. It takes a real supermodel to do that.

Pakistani Wedding Kimberly Photos Mehndi-128

Safia & Bob's Pakistani American Beach Wedding {Clearwater, Florida}

With a continued snomaggeden (snowstorm) battering the east coast, I figured we all need a little beach and sunshine. And this white sand Florida beach wedding will [...]