Old in Gold: How Zoya’s Jewellery Revives Forgotten Techniques


Zoya brings back long forgotten, centuries-old jewellery making techniques through its eloquently designed and produced pieces that embrace the Indian woman in modern times. Here is a window into these techniques, pieces and celebration of Indian craftsmanship!

By: Jiya Sharma

Posted on: December 11, 2020

You wake up one morning in the extreme wilderness of the calm and pristine forests of “is it the Sundarbans or perhaps the Nilgiris?” you ask yourself. Birds you’ve never even seen before chirp and feed their babies as the wind blows. Drops of fresh rain fall off the leaves onto your face, refreshing you as they do. As you sit up, you begin to hear a distant, yet prominent sound of a waterfall or perhaps a stream. The morning dew hasn’t melted away yet as rays of the sun do their best to make way through the thick canopy. As the animal kingdom awakes and begins their day, you embrace this opportunity for what it is: a chance to embrace your most primal, true, raw self. Zoya’s latest collection ‘Rooted’ is a reminder of that very side of you. 

Awadh Collection by Zoya

Kathak Dancer's Flowing Lehenga necklace from Zoya's Awadh collection

Zoya, a chain of luxury diamond boutiques from the House of Tata, is ‘India’s answer to Timeless Luxury’ as per many of its customers. Yes, Zoya designs, develops and sells exquisite jewellery, but it is so much more than that. “An enchanted world where inspirations from around the world come together and come to life” is how Zoya identifies itself. With expert craftsmanship and fine design, Zoya is an exclusive gallery of fine art that embraces and celebrates a side of women that they don’t bring out. 

Jewellery is not a modern concept and is traced back to modern-day Iran between 3000 B.C. and 400 B.C. It is but natural, therefore, that techniques of jewellery making have evolved and become more transformed over centuries. India especially has had an extensive journey with jewellery with Indian women adorning themselves since the eras of Ramayana and Mahabharata. From Sita Mata’s Chudamani to Lord Rama’s signet ring that Hanuman carries across oceans for Sita Mata and Lord Shiva’s Rudraksha beads and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Koh-i-Noor, jewellery techniques are rooted deeply in Indian culture, but not all make it as prominently to modern-day designs. With its craftsmanship, Zoya brings back one such technique called ‘gulabi minakari’.

Banaras Collection by Zoya

Lotus Flower earrings from Zoya's Banaras collection uses the Gulabi Minakari technique

‘Minakari’ is a Persian art form that involves colouring the surface of metals by fusing different colours. It literally comes from the word ‘Mina’ which translates to ‘heaven’ in Persian. The art form was brought to Indian soil via the Mughal empire in the 1600s and continues to have a large base in Banaras even today. 

Banaras Collection by Zoya

Lotus Adorned with Leaves necklace from Zoya's Banaras collection uses the Gulabi Minakari and Partaj technique

‘Gulabi Minakari’ is characterized by pink (gulabi) strokes on white enamel, where the pink remains predominant. Zoya revived this dying art in its Banaras Collection, where the technique brought to life the delicate beauty and vibrant blooming of lotus flowers, both as motifs as well as accents throughout the collection. A tribute to the ‘city more ancient than time itself’, pieces from the Banaras collection were inspired by the mystique of the holy land and used exquisite stones such as malachite, turquoise and pink opals.

Awadh Collection by Zoya

Tranquil Chambers of Awadh bangles from Zoya's Awadh collection

Zoya takes pride in keeping the ancient traditions of Indian jewellery making techniques alive via limited edition, capsule collections. They often incorporate some lesser-known techniques or even innovate within existing techniques to bring out certain nuances of their inspirations in the jewellery they create. Their Awadh collection is a great example of the same. 

Awadh Collection by Zoya

Zardosi Spring earrings from Zoya's Awadh collection

The Awadh collection narrates tales of culture, art and traditions of opulent living in the historic city of Awadh. Pieces were crafted with gold, diamond and polki, inspired by Awadh’s glory. Polki is an uncut and unpolished diamond, used in its natural form without any physical or chemical treatment. It is one of the oldest forms of cut diamonds, originating in India long before western cutting methods were born and remains one of the most demanded features in bridal jewellery. The Awadh collection showcased the rich layering of polkis through the Pachchi technique. 

Rajputana Collection by Zoya

This ruby ring with polki from Zoya's Jewels of Rajputana collection uses the Piroi technique

Partaj work and Piroi (gem stringing) are also commonly used in Zoya’s collections. 

With its fine work, Zoya is steadily shifting consumer perception of fine jewellery from being mainly a store of value towards aesthetic and pride in ownership. Patrons of the age-old Indian karigari, Zoya prides itself on designs that give a contemporary form to traditional craft. Zoya’s pieces are brought to life by the steadiest of hands and sharpest of eyes as it enters its tenth year of empowering and celebrating women across India with exclusively created and designed luxury jewellery. With its heart in India and an eye on the world, Zoya is redefining the way fine jewellery is experienced in India.

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