Feel like going back to the ‘60s? — when bouffants and georgettes were all the rage and jewellery inevitably meant at least a jhilimili necklace with matched danglers or chandbalis or jhumkas. <...
Feel like going back to the ‘60s? — when bouffants and georgettes were all the rage and jewellery inevitably meant at least a jhilimili necklace with matched danglers or chandbalis or jhumkas. This, here, is one such iconic jewel from that era which, transcending fashion, has become a classic for all times.
The construct is simple but needs the skills of a honed craftsman to realise. Each of the kajal-lata pieces, including the trefoil finials and the neck, are die-struck by hand. You’ll notice, if you enlarge the picture, just above the neck of each piece, a roundrect topped with a single topa. It’s all monobloc actually, hammered into existence all at once. Flat rings, polished, go through these roundrects to string together the necklace, giving it remarkable flexibility so that it can be worn as a choker (very effective!) but also as a conventional ornament worn around the base of the neck.
Rings on the tips of the trefoils allow the sasa-dana lametta to be dangled and these highly reflective droplets are what give the necklace its name.
In the jhumkas, the sasa-dana is used on the main jewel and the jhili-mili droplets fringing the bottom are of a different shape. A ball-cluster hangs low in the middle, and the topa-flower pashas are sedate enough to ensure focus remains on the domes. If you’re looking for more risqué earrings, choose our Jhilimili Jhar Jhumka (of 19th March, 2020) — even the names match! — to go with the necklace. They’re all-dazzle cascade chandeliers in which the lametta is even more pronounced.
Kumkum used to wear these a lot and you’ve seen villainous Nadira display even more elaborate ones, but Sadhana, Mumtaz, Asha Parekh and Nanda have all worn them as well with great success. Deceptively light and of the kind of kitsch that’s tasteful, the jewel offers tremendous coverage and a distinctly filmy shimmer to your ensemble, preferably for evening events. Best to go plain (and diaphanous, if possible) with the saree or, by all means, wear it as a choker and pair it with an evening gown –– you’ll look scintillating. Make a place in your collection of fine jewels for at least one ornament such as this handcrafted guinea-gold Jhilimili Necklace. It’s got the right dose of razzmatazz. And it’s hellish fun.