< Trends >
Let your subtle jewellery pieces rest in your wardrobe for a while. It’s the season of revival—the designers have come up with gamut of bespoke and fun-to-wear animal motifs to keep you in vogue, writes Surekha Kadapa Bose
Want to become the proud owner of a panther, a peacock, a cheetah, or a tiger? How about a ladybird, a butterfly, a snake, a puppy dog or a frog? Why not own a whole menagerie? You can do it without incurring the wrath of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). No, we aren’t asking you to start a mini zoo at home. It’s the latest trend in jewellery design—animal motif pieces on your fingers, wrists or neck.
Jewellery with animal motifs isn’t new. Archaeological excavations all over the world have thrown up jewellery with motifs of snake, horse or tiger made of gold, ivory, iron and terracotta. This shows man’s fascination for animals, domesticated or wild, since ages.
Of course, Indian history has an array of magnificent jewellery pieces with animal motifs, especially those of snake and peacock. Members of royal families were, in fact, identified by their typical animal motif jewellery. The most popular one was the unisex jewellery with snakes made of gold coiled on arms and wrists of both men and women. In fact, the serpent has been a popular motif for jewellery designing.
Around 18th century, animal motif jewellery started taking a back seat. Other motifs like flowers (especially lotus), mango, leaves, etc. gained immense popularity. Nearly a century ago, in 1914, the fascination for animal motif was rekindled, when limited editions of diminutive jaguar and panther, resplendent with white diamonds, started appearing in the international market from the House of Cartier, known for luxury and high-end watches and jewellery. Since then animal motifs have been invading the market, but it is of late that these designs have really gained tremendous popularity. In the last decade or so, with watches getting treated more as pieces of jewellery, animal and avian motifs have become regular. The most prominent is the Serpenti collection by Bulgari, famous for Italian jewellery and luxury goods. The latest from Cartier has a graceful panther running across the dial along with the minute needle!
In India, many designers like Mira Gulati, Alpana Gujral, Annu Chhada, Mahesh Notandas, Renu Oberoi, Laksh Pahuja and several jewellery houses have animal motif pieces in their collection. These motifs not only get noticed but also win awards in jewellery competitions. Mira Gulati has bagged several awards for her pieces inspired by peacocks and butterflies. Maverick designer Laksh Pahuja has set the jewellery design world ablaze with his necklace of fire-spewing dragon and pendants containing diving dolphins and swimming fish.
Jewellery with animal motifs are fun to wear. Even a tiny pendant or earrings with an animal or a bird theme is likely to attract immediate attention. There is no limit to imagination and creativity. One can use any material—terracotta, gold, enamel, precious stones, etc.With prices ranging from ` 500 to ` 50 million, these pieces can be worn on any occasion.
Sulish Verma of Vikas Chain & Jewellery says, “Though these pieces look regal, everyone can’t carry them off. You need a certain kind of personality. Also, they don’t suit older women.”