Actress Revathy Inaugurates Indian Antique Jewellery Exhibition @ Cathedral Road Showroom
Prince Jewellery, with more than 80 years of experience in jewellery design and marketing, celebrates its historicity yet again this year with the 18th edition of Ancient Secrets 2016. As the fourth generation of jewellers enters business, Prince showcases antique jewellery to celebrate history and tradition.
Actress Revathy inaugurated the exhibition by lighting the traditional kuthuvilakku. The Exhibition witnessed an array of unique, rare collection from a bygone era and relish in pieces long forgotten from Chettinadu, Malabar and Travancore era. Starting today, Prince will divulge the Ancient Secrets at its showroom in Cathedral Road until 17th July 2016.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Joseph Prince, Director, Prince Jewellery stated that, “Prince Jewellery is a pioneer in reviving the interest in antique jewellery through its annual event, Ancient Secrets, conducted since 1999 in Chennai. From ornaments for the head – to rakodi and chutti, ear and neck pieces, waist belt to bangles and bracelets, from all over India, Prince Jewellery has put together an enviable collection that connoisseurs will recognise for authenticity, intricacy and elegance.
“This year’s highlights are the numerous nagas pendants with the theme of deities – Mahalakshmi, Ganesha, Siva Parvathi, Mahavishnu with his two consorts and Gopalakrishna – in gold with antique finish as well as engraved with precious stones such as ruby, emerald and uncut diamonds. There is also a necklace made with seven-stone ruby studs set in gold”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Princeson Jose, Founder, Prince Jewellery said, “Traditional jewels instantly create a feeling of emotional richness, evoking the hidden Princess in the wearer. I personally suggest and supervise the designs to recreate the traditional designs, but in a way suited for the modern woman”.
The speciality of Prince’s Ancient Secrets collection is not just the display of antique jewellery but the novel designs Prince has introduced embedding these traditional pieces into tasteful modern settings that will appeal to young and old alike. For instance, rakodis, not so much in favour now, have been used as pendants; seven-stone studded ear pieces have been used to embellish necklaces; the traditional pambadam, thandatti and koppu too heavy to be worn as it is, have been converted to elegant jhumkas.
Ancient Secrets has several masterpieces which includes:
Nagas crafting – Indian culture and mythology are closely linked, and goldsmith were not above it. Nagas work is the beautiful rendering of mythology in gold, with the deities ensconced by rich foliage, vines and flower motifs. This popular work can be found in the necklaces and waist belt. This year will have on display pendants of Mahalakshmi, Ganesha, Siva Parvati, Mahavishnu and His consorts and Gopalakrishna.
The Chain of Coins – made with the stringing together of gold coins – was a way of saving as well as displaying wealth. While this was popular in Tamil Nadu, a variant – available in the Ancient Secrets collection – is the Pavan Sara from Mangalore. Here, one can see the face of Queen Victoria at different stages of life, with the central piece containing the image of the queen as the Empress of India.
Addigai – Another popular traditional piece from Tamil Nadu, this has Burmese rubies set singly in closed setting. There are many variations to this – both in design as well as the rubies used.
Mullai Mottu – Jasmine is a favourite flower of the women in the south for its fragrance and beauty. But while jasmine fades, gold does not. Mullai Mottu – jasmine bud – design has been popular across generations as it recreates the beauty of the bud in gold.
Replicating Nature – Gooseberry mango leaves have caught the imagination of designers for centuries. These are a popular design replicated in gold and worn as long and short necklaces and chain.
Rudraksha Malai – Rudraksha is a holy symbol in the Indian tradition. Multiple lines of rudraksha beads encased in gold ending in a broad pendant is a delightful visual treat. Sometimes, rudraksha beads were strung without the casing but with a gold pendant, making a stunning contrast.
Gauri Shankaram – While Siva on Nandi with his consort as padakkam at the front end of the rudraksha long necklace is common, what is rare is the pendant on the upper side with an upturned image of Krishna. When this is worn, the Krishna image will fall upright at the back. This is a piece from Chettinad in Tamil Nadu. This was primarily worn by mem and is the equivalent of kali-tiru, the marriage necklace of the women of this community.
Pratihar – Navaratna or nine stones are said to counter the negative effects of the nine planes. Pratihar from north India is the nine stones set in a gold chain.
Chettinad Thali – This majestic and unique design comes in varying sizes and is the pride of the owners.
Navaratna pendant – The nine stones – ruby, emerald, pearl, coral, blue sapphire, cat’s eye, garnet, yellow sapphire and diamond – are of great significance in the Indian tradition. Commonly worn as a ring, now a pendant of these stones is also available.
Head, the Leader – Nagar is a hair ornament made of gold worked in repousse and filled with lac. Worn below the rakkodi, it represents Ananta nag, the serpent on which Lord Vishnu reposes.
The use of snake symbol is significant as it represents fertility. Also, jadai nagam along with rakkodi and other jewellery for the head (chutti, surya.chandra prabha) were believed to harness the portent energies president in the topmost chakra – sirasachakra. This year, one can also see pendants of the snake coiled around the damaru, both symbols of Siva.
Ears, the Microcosm of the Body – According to Ayurveda, the ear is representative of the body. The entire cartilage of the ear was pierced for better physical and mental health.
Pambadam, A traditional ear piece from Tamil Nadu, the pambadam is an amalgamation of geometric forms, and ending with a serpent or bird face. It is made from sheet of gold filled with lac.
Thandatti, is another variation of the pambadam, apart from the commonly worn jimikki, thodu, rings etc. These are believed to be designed in geometric formats representing snake, worn by Siva while performing the Tandava.
Koppu – Today one can see women wearing multiple studs along the outer ear. But this has been in fashion for several centuries as one can surmise from the koppu, which was on the ear helix.
The Girdle – Adorning the waist, this piece of jewellery comes in a variety – from plain gold girdle to those with intricate designs such as Gajalakshmi nagas work to ruby, emerald and diamond crusted belts. They not only served to hold the lower garment in place but also accentuate the feminine form.
Weight of Responsibility – Bangles too have a rich tradition and variety in Indian culture. From thin bangles worn in multiples to single thick kada to a range of bangles covering the entire arm, the lores attached to bangles are many. The upper arm too has its own adornment, called vanki.
Both come in plain gold nagas work to stone-encrusted patterns.
The Alluring Nath – From tiny studs to large nose rings covering the cheeks, from plain gold to embellished with pearls and precious stones, this tiny but seductive ornament had fallen out of favour but is slowly making a comeback in subtle form. At Ancient Secrets, the nath has been recrafted as a pendant, giving new meaning to this beautiful ornament.
The Ring – The ring was mostly never worn on the middle finger, but on the third finger of the left hand, from where a nerve connects directly to the heart. The designs and variety of even this tiny piece of jewellery can make one wonder. But the real jaw-dropping stunner is a fairly large piece with a three dimensional parrot encrusted with ruby perched atop the ring. A showpiece, another enlarged ruby-encrusted parrot is also part of the Ancient Secrets collection.
About Prince Jewellery:
Prince Jewellery was started by Princeson Jose in 1983, but the roots can be traced back to his grandfather who, in 1933, commissioned a goldsmith in his textiles and spices shop in Ponkunnam village in Kottayam district. He began in a small way, with his wife designing jewellery on request from neighbours and friends. Then, seeing the demand, he started displaying jewellery in his shop.
The next generation continued the tradition and, in 1958, his father established a store in Chennai, and soon after, a manufacturing unit in Trishur, which led to their establishing a wholesale business in gold.
A third-generation jeweller, Princeson Jose and his wife Sheeba Prince are passionate about antique jewellery and diligently add to their collection during their travels. The effort of this year-long diligence is ‘Ancient Secrets’.
Prince Jewellery, started with a 650 square feet showroom in Panagal Park, T.Nagar in 1983. Today, the showroom has grown to 10,000 square feet and has one more in Cathedral Road. In 2008, showrooms were opened in Trivandrum, followed by one in Jayanagar, Bangalore in 2009. In 2016, opened a new showroom in Velachery and one more coming soon in Coimbatore.
Jose’s wife Sheeba Prince takes care of merchandising while Sons Joseph and Antony Prince, certified gemologists from prestigious Gemology Institute of America (GIA), head their gems business.