Indian ethnic jewelry and accessories are famous all over the world. Renowned for its delicately-made exquisite jewelry pieces, India is a land known for its gold jewelry. One such fascinating process of jewelry making is Thewa art. This beautiful jewellery art form originated in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan in the year 1707 and this method of jewelry designing has mesmerized generations and broken all conventions. The process was started by Nathu Ji Soni and the art has been passed on since generations. The motifs used in this jewelry portray Rajasthan’s deep culture and heritage, the land renowned for its art. The jewelry form is deeply influenced by Mughal architecture and the intricately crafted Thewa art jewelry narrates the stories of passion and bravery that Mughal’s history had witnessed during their rule.
The Thewa art jewelry is made by embossing intricately worked-out gold on a glass sheet. Gold is so delicately embossed in this process that skilled artisans sometimes have to spend even a whole month to produce a single piece.
How is Thewa jewelry made?
Thewa is an art of fusing multi-colored glass into 23 Carat gold. It is a very intricate and detailed process. A 23-carat piece of gold is beaten to a very thin sheet first. Using a very fine chisel, intricate designs are inscribed on those gold sheets. This gold layer, called “Thewa Ki Patti,” is attached to a lac-resin paste that is applied over a board by slowly warming the lac and then placing the gold layer over it. The transparent work pattern is perforated through these gold sheets. It is then mounted on the board covered with lac-resin by knocking off the portions that eventually generate the intricate template. The gold layer is slowly stripped off by heating it.
The gold patterned surface is now thoroughly cleaned, and a mild acid is used to extract the additional substances. A slice of glass similar in size to the gold pattern is wrapped in a silver alloy case. While it is still hot, the silver alloy rim and gold film are slipped delicately over the edge and pressed on to the glass surface. The object is then heated up until the glass and the gold get tightly bonded. On the other side of the bottle is placed a thin silver foil to provide the final coating. The flat piece of transparent glass used as a background for the gold pattern comes in various colors like maroon, green, blue, etc.
The themes used in Thewa art range from floral designs, historical Mughal court scenes, battle scenes, portraits of queens, and scenes from Hindu mythology, the most famous of which are Krishna Leela scenes.
Adorn yourself with Thewa jewelry on special occasions
This jewelry can be worn at weddings or at any traditional event that needs glamour and sophistication from an ethnic perspective. Some of such items of jewelry can also be used for celebrations and other events. Thewa jewelry immediately brings a factor of elegance when accessorized with a sari or a lehenga. Ornate-looking Thewa pieces, particularly due to the modern age trends and designs, can make anyone look regal and elegant.
Evolution of Thewa jewelry over the years
This art form has evolved to a great degree but the basic style and foundation remain the same. The magnificent variety of colors, textures, and patterns play a significant role in identifying the simple crux of jewelry and accessories from Thewa. Vibrant and rich designs adorned with precious stones, pearls, rubies, and diamonds have made this style of jewelry famous across India and far beyond. While the European influence is found in the current Thewa jewelry, it is the other way round as well. Owing to their elaborate and flamboyant appeal, inspiration from Indian ornamental style has been taken in designing jewelry in the West. Global artists have mimicked Thewa jewelry’s simple designs to create their own jewelry styles and impersonations.
Like any other type of jewelry, a Thewa jewelry’s real worth or quality lies in the ability and time it takes to craft each beautiful piece of jewelry, rather than the inherent value of gold.