Exclusive handcrafted jewellery collection by Mohini


Meenakari: A Regal Emblem

Who are you?

Part of the "Timeless Jewellery" series by Mohini

India is a land of diversity. Our cultural heritage holds an eminent place in the world. Even the mindfully curated stones for ages have a story. The imperial legacy of Rajasthan reflects the same with its artistic jewellery design. Meenakari is one of the classic art forms born in Rajasthan. It entails enamelling of the metal surface by painting and embellishing them with alluring designs and later firing with kiln. The hot oven enables the fusion of colours and metal. From royal outfits to contemporary, meenakari has an impactful influence on every woman. The intricate designs have pulled every celebrity and bride. 

The motifs are inspired by flora and fauna that beautifully blends in to give a kaleidoscope look. The stained-glass look enhances the dazzling and enchanting appearance of the art. 

The colours used in Meenakari are a blend of metal oxides and powdered glass. The oxide content controls the colour obtained. The colours are added depending on the intensity, starting from highest. The mixture shows colours when treated in the furnace at a certain temperature

History of Meenakari

The word ‘meenakari’ derived its name from the Persian word mina or minoo, meaning ‘heaven.’ The contemporary jewellery still holds the reminiscence of the Persian style in jewellery. 

In the 16th century, an aristocrat Raja Ram introduced the art form in the court of King Shah Jahan. The King was profoundly charmed by the intricate art of meenakari and decided to set up a workshop in Mewar, Rajasthan with the help of Lahore’s artisans. The immense dedication of art in Mewar made Rajasthan the epitome of Meenakari. 

Moreover, it is believed that the art form was used to decorate walls, pillars, and roofs, but the begams of the King were deeply fond of the art and insisted on keeping the art alive on jewellery. 

Gaining enormous love in Rajasthan, Meenakari gradually grew its popularity in other parts of Punjab, Lucknow, and the Mughal Empire. The art of colouring on gold soon spread like a fire across India and developed a unique style in different states. 

Lucknow’s meenakari designed the art using green and blue predominantly. Whereas Banaras craftsmen embellished the gold with dusky pink colour and lotus motifs. This specific style dates back to Persian artisans in Lucknow’s Avadh. ‘Pratagarh’ is a painting art on glass that became renowned simultaneously. 

Although tracing the presence in the Mughal era, Meenakari art flourished in India and was widely accepted with eminence. The infusion of art by different rulers and cultures created a variety of meenakari products right from anklets, necklaces, brooches, jewellery boxes, photo frames, and many more. Gold is primarily used as a framework owing to its colossal fondness in India.

The Process of Meenakari Art

The technique of making Meenakari is tedious and involves several artisans to craft a piece of Mina. It is believed to be no piece of cake and demands immense dedication and exceptionally skilled artisans. 

  1. The goldsmith (Sonar) initially creates a framework, where the designers (Nacquash) design the art. 
  2. The engravers (Kalamkars) and enamellist (Meenakars) together carve the gold surface with enamel colours. 
  3. The engravings filled with enamel colours are exposed to heat in a furnace that enables a firm setting of colours and metal. 
  4. Later, the piece is polished by polishers (Ghotnawala), and a stone setter (Kundansaaz) sets the stone.
  5. At the final stage, the stringer (Patua) gives the final touch to the art. It is cleaned with a mixture of tamarind and lime to enhance the lustre and give a dazzling look. 

Extraordinary Strains of Meenakari Jewellery

Khula Meena

This style of Meenakari amalgamates four naturally occurring colours- blue, red, white, and green. The literal meaning of khula that is ‘open’ is crafted by applying a thin layer of enamel on a gold surface to utilise maximum space for designs and motifs. The enamel used is translucent rather than opaque, which highlights the golden base.

Panchranga Meena

The Panchranga meena is crafted using five distinctive colours. Two of which are shades of blue colour and others are red, green, and white. The colourful layout of these five colours gives Pachranga meena a distinctive look. The golden base outlining the colourful motifs creates an enthralling piece in the end. 

Band Meena

The Band or ‘closed’ meena is created by applying a thick layer of enamel colour on a yellow gold base. Even with an opaque surface, the gold outlines the jewellery, giving a delicate finish. This style beautifully coalesces vibrant colours, such as parrot green, pink and turquoise. 

Banarasi Meena

Banarasi or Gulabi meena is the paradigm of meenakari jewellery from Varanasi. As the name suggests, pink is the dominant colour used in art, along with other complementary colours. The style has gained extreme honour in craftsmanship and has received a Geographical Index (GI) tag.

Meenakari in Contemporary Era

The art is rare but still crafted by several artisans in different parts of the country. Along with rose pink meenakari in Banaras, enamelling over the gold surface is popular in Delhi, Jaipur, and Banaras. Likewise, the golden frame is replaced with silver in a few states including Nathdwara, Udaipur, and Bikaner.  

Besides embellishing ornaments, enamel colours are also widely employed in the making of home decor arts such as fruit baskets, keychains, trays, and many more.

Maintaining the Jewellery

Meenakari jewellery often remains intact for a longer period of time. They can be used daily. However, it is important to take care of the jewellery to increase life even more. Meena loses its lustre over time, so it is crucial to carefully wrap them in a dry cloth and cotton. Some of the meenakari arts are also made of brass and copper. Such jewellery can be cleaned with cleaning agents like Brasso and Min Cream. 

We at Mohini, hold immense pride in crafting Meenakari jewellery. Our artisans are especially skilled in this art form to create a phenomenal Meenakari piece. The royal heritage is intricately designed and ranges from minimal jewellery to bridal wear.

Jadau and Indian Bride

Jadau jewelry has made its way in every bride’s heart, especially after the Bollywood trends have rolled out in recent years. The Rani Haar, Chokers, and Kangans are mandatory jewels that are matched with the majority of regal outfits. Nevertheless, it is essential to sustain the royal essence of Jadau in jewelry. 

Grab authentic jewelry for your special occasion. Mohini believes in preserving and cherishing the royal essence in every piece of jewels.