Meenakari is the process of painting and coloring the surfaces of metals and ceramics through enameling. It is practiced as an art form and commercially produced in India. Meenakari art usually involves intricate designs and is applied as a decorative feature to serving dishes, containers, vases, frames, display ornaments and jewelry.
The word Meenakari is a compound word composed of the words Meena and Kari. Meena is a feminine variation of the word Meenu which means paradise or heaven in Persian. Kari means to do or place something onto something else. Together the word Meenakari means to place paradise onto an object.
Meenakari was introduced to India by the Mughals? Raja Man Singh of Mewar is regarded as the patron of the meenakari art in 16th century Jaipur. Due to his efforts, Jaipur became the hub of meenakari art with the influx of highly skilled craftsmen. In a few years, the talent of the craftsmen made the place a specialized center of meenakari designing. The beauty of this art lies in the intensity of technical skills required for its creation which gives perfection to the ornaments.
Since ages, gold has been a preferred metal for meenakari art as it can hold the enamel in a better manner. Not only this, but the usage of gold in meenakari works also enhances the luster of the art while bringing out the colors of the enamels beautifully. The usage of silver in meenakari work was introduced later which was mainly used for making bowls, boxes, spoons, and art pieces. Later, copper was also introduced in meenakari art after the Gold Control Act which forced the jewelers of India to look for metals other than gold for creating meenakari jewelry and other art pieces. Voylla brings exquisite collections in meenakari on fashion jewelry with brass as the base metal.
Meenakari is a special skill perfected by Jaipur artisans over generations where each color is separately filled in each small part of the jewelry piece. The piece is then slightly heated to ensure that the enamel color makes a bond with the base metal. In case there are multiple colors the entire process of application, heating, and cooling is repeated multiple times. Since the entire work is very specialized and intricate, it is completely done by hand. After the heating and cooling process, the jewelry is dipped in special chemicals to increase its luster and create a protective coating on the jewelry thus giving the jewelry longer life. The motifs most often seen in the jewellery of the region are Phool-Patti (flowers and foliage), peacocks, parrots, and elephants.
In modern times there has been a lot of experimentation with meenakari jewelry. It is being used with multiple different styles of jewelry to create new fusion jewelry.
Voylla has created some beautiful collections based on
- Oxidised jewelry- The exquisite collections like Indigo affair & Maandna exhibit the use of meenakari on oxidised jewellery.
- Kundan jewelry- Udaipur & Kundan stanza collections are the best representation of the original styles of using enamel with Kundan jewellery with a modern touch.
- Fashion jewelry – Collections like Nakhrali and treasure from the trunk achieves the new combination of meenakari with the new fashionista jewelry.