Jewelry scenario in Delhi and its environs
They say “the past reflects the future”, and it is amply so for
capital India .
If one were to look at the current scenario for jewelry in Delhi , one needs to understand the past glory
of the city. A glory which transcends time, and goes back to nearly 5000 years.
Delhi is said
to be the erstwhile capital of the Pandavas in the historic epic Mahabharata
founded in 2500 BC and was called Indraprastha. A village by that name did
exist till the early 19th century. The description of the jewels
worn by Royalty in the historic Mahabharata is reflective of the trade in gold
and precious stones even then. The earliest archaeological relic from Delhi has been traced to
300 B.C. Delhi
What is available
It was not as if the techniques developed in
most techniques and exquisitely manufactured products made their way to Delhi . Over time
craftsmen also settled down in the bylanes to offer some of the finest in
jewelry. If the craftsmen did not like the environs to work, the traders
ensured its supply by contracting out to the workers in whichever part of the
country. In Delhi the main centres of Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk together
have as many as 5000 retailers. The export from the Northern Region Delhi and
its environs can easily be worth Rs. 4000 – Rs. 5000 crores in a year. Delhi
Such is the fondness for jewelry that even small neighborhood shopping complex, every area has more than one such market, has at least 2 – 3 shops to boast. So in
almost all types of jewelry making thrives. Though organized in its own right,
the trade functions in a scattered manner and to the outsider would look
disorganized. Most jeweler families are hereditary tracing their business to at
least 3 – 4 generations earlier. Their working is done through hereditary
craftsmen who have been associated with the family for over generations. It is
only rare that such arrangements are broken.
What is interesting is that in
, a cultural melting
pot where its people are drawn from all parts of the country, the jewelry
craftsmen also come from all parts of the country, bringing together a
collection of techniques, skills, designs and motifs. Most of them migrated to
the city to cater to the population from that particular part of the country.
However with time, they become part of the cosmopolitan population of the city.
Thus it is possible to see craftsmen from all most all parts of the country and
the diversity of jewelry offered is amazing.
For example, Prakash Works operating in Delhi South Delhi
are a team of craftsmen from Kerala (2814 kms from ) who specialize in light weight
jewelry. Similarly, Karmarkar is another goldsmith from Delhi West
Bengal (1461 kms from ),
who operates from Karol Bagh specializing in bangles, karas (bracelets). It is
these craft workshops which are the hallmark of jewelry trade and making in the
city. They have their own repertoire of designs or execute designs given to
them by designers and bigger jewelry stores. They can procure their own metal
or alternatively the gold is provided by the customer. A lot of designers work
in this manner. The craftsmen usually work on a contractual basis. Delhi
Highlight – In case you are looking for designs pertaining to a particular community, the best bet is to look up an “aunty” or an “uncle” well versed in the tradition of that community. They will refer you to a good craftsman or local jewellery of the community. Or even discreet enquiries of which jeweller they source their jewellery from and you should be on your way.Insider Tip – Be careful to check the hallmarking on gold. In many cases it will be difficult to sell it off to another jeweller who will claim that the quality of gold is inferior. Ask the friendly source on the purity of gold and if the jeweler will buy back the gold jewellery. When selling jewellery studded with stones, the stones are never valued. It is better to re-set the jewellery into some new pieces.