Pearl trading in Hyderabad started from 1724 onwards when the Mughal governor Asaf Jah established his independent rule over Central India's Deccan plateau. Large quantities of gems & pearls passed through Hyderabad's jewel shops on Patthargatti Road. According to a Sanskrit text, the millennia-old Vedic prayer of Atharvan invokes their special power: "Born of the wind and the air / Born of flashing lightning and starlight / May this shell and in it this pearl protect us from danger."
Hyderabad is popularly known as the City of Pearls where pearl trading has a history of about 400 years. Pearl trading was greatly favoured by the Nizams of Hyderabad and the Qutb Shahi Rulers who led a very opulent lifestyle. The first pearl shop was opened in Hyderabad way back in 1906. In Chandampet village in the outskirts of Hyderabad, entire population is involved in drilling of pearls.
Pearl is known as ‘queen of the jewels’ and is one of the miracles of nature. It is a marine jewel and one of the five most precious jewels in the world. It is also the oldest of all gems used by man and has been used for about 6000 years. Pearls do not require any processing and is best in its natural form. You get pearls in different sizes and shapes, and also in many colors like white, pale pink, pale yellow, cream and grey. Pearl jewellery was worn by most of the great ladies around the world.
The Nizams and Qutb Shahi rulers were great patrons of pearls and pearl jewellery. They brought in craftsmen from all over the world to make exquisite pearl jewellery. The pearls mainly came from Basara in Persian Gulf. Slowly the craftsmen settled in Hyderabad and this city became the main center of pearl jewellery making.
The laborers making pearl jewellery are highly skilled and this art is passed on from one generation to the next. There are two types of pearls, which are natural and cultured. Natural pearls are imported from Japan and the cultured peals are from China and Japan. About 90% of the pearls used are cultures ones.
Pearl jewellery designs vary from traditional designs to modern designs. Various ornaments are made from pearl like bracelets, kudan sets and enameled sets, lacchas, chand bali or moon shaped earring, chokers, hath phool, rassi, chatai, tanmani, waistband and so on.
Beautiful Pearl jewellery sets are available in the market, the cost of which depends on the quality of the pearls and the work done by the craftsmen. For casual occasions you can chose simple sets, even a simple pearls mala will do. For special occasions like a wedding or a party you can choose more elaborate sets contain necklace with several strands and large earrings. They match well with saree, lehenga choli, churidar kurta and so on.
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