Hailing from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, these brocade saris are made from heavily woven <a href="http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2013/the-silk-road-1/">silk</a>. They have wide borders (korvai) made of either colored silk thread or zari (fine gold thread) and their pallus feature simple stripes that come from tribal tradition.
After reading about the <a href="http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2013/the-silk-road-1/">history</a> and <a href="http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2013/the-silk-road-part-2/">process</a> of silk-making, you are probably a bit curious about the different kinds of silks. Obviously the most common type of silk is the mulberry silk produced by the Bombyx mori silkworm, but that's not where it ends. Each state and region in India has its own unique take on the silk sari and there is a plethora of different types.
The silk industry in India is HUGE and earns millions of dollars every year. It starts with raising the silkworms which produce silk cocoons. The most common type of silkworm used worldwide is the <em>Bombyx mori.</em> These worms produce what is generally referred to as mulberry silk (because they eat mulberry leaves exclusively).
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.
If you've been reading our <a href="http://thebigfatindianwedding.com/2013/indian-jewelry-guide-glossary/">jewelry series</a>, 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.
Jadau is one of the oldest styles of jewelry craftwork in India today. It was originally worn by Mughal royalty and it only ever used pure gold and precious stones, most commonly uncut diamonds. The somewhat rough-hewn quality of the gold base around the uncut Polki diamonds makes the pieces look antiquated and almost tribal.
Lac jewelry is jewelry for the masses. You can walk down a street in a bustling Indian city and find half a dozen craftsmen curling the lac around a wire base, pressing small beads or mirrors into the rapidly-cooling resin, and hawking their chunky bangles at passersby.
Created during the Mughal reign and favored by Rajasthani royalty, Kundan jewelry is a bit of Indian history preserved today for the modern South Asian bride.
Navratna jewelry is the most widespread jewelry form to come out of India. While it is discussed at length in the <i>Vishnu Purana </i>from before the 11th century A.D., it is also spoken of in the scriptures of other Asian countries, including Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapor, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
India is home to a variety of tribes that almost exist within their own cultural bubble. The Bhutia tribe are Sikkimese of Tibetan ancestry and they live along the right arm of the Indian subcontinent. Bhutia jewelry is unlike most traditional Indian jewelry even though it is just as old. It is heavily influenced by Tibetan and Chinese jewelry and has some origins in ancient Persian superstition.