A rigid cuff bracelet, with or without hinged clutches, in any medium, from clay, wax, bones or stones to any of the metals, varying from an even flat band to those having one section broad and rest narrower, as the one here, solid cast rounded bar with or without a wrought face, or any ring-form flowing around the wrist, has been now for over five millenniums an integral part of jewellery traditions world-over. The cult of adorning a bracelet with beads : more often obtained from stones, minerals, animals’ body-parts, wood, fossils …, is also quite old. As such this bracelet, embedded with turquoise and coral beads, nine those of turquoise, one larger than others, and ten those of coral, two larger than the rest, represents the quest of contemporary mind keen to discover itself, its contemporaneousness, in its great past, in fashions that styled it, gave it its identity, as also its distinction, all colours and contours and every form of culture – the total ethos, the aggregate that shaped the five thousand years long tradition. Apart that number ‘nine’ and number ‘eight’ that turquoise and the intervening coral beads manifest respectively have mythical and mystical dimensions the bracelet charms the eye by its awe-inspiring beauty : a feature defining sometimes things of rarer kind.
Otherwise a plain sheet of silver of good thickness geometrically dimensioned and turned roundish, it is in its elaborately wrought and embedded face that the circlet discovers its bracelet identity. A vertically stretched octagon bounded by two parallel threaded lines with chased repeats of a four petal tiny flower motif in between, marks the space to contain the main design motif of the piece. It is made up of a bold flower-form, obviously a conventionalised lotus, comprising eight petals, two breadth-wise covering the widest stretch of the octagon being larger than the rest, and a circular central part, pistil or stigma, wherefrom the leaves unfold, all consisting of turquoise beads cut appropriately to size and shape. While a beautifully designed socket holds within its circumference the pistil, or the flower’s central part, eight tiny coral beads and as many arching silver stems cover the spaces in between each two of these petals. The flanking spaces on either side have been manipulated by a motif representing a conventionalised flower-bunch : a red flower consisting of a coral bead, another, a six-petalled cast in silver, a third, a spike of white flowers, and two artistically rounded stems. The entire base has been enameled in grayish black for affording to these forms appropriate contrast.
Besides the rare beauty of the bracelet, a little appalling by its bold form and bewitching appearance, the amulet aspect of the ornament, which the finest kind of turquoise pieces – the most popular of all amulet stones and one of the most marketed eight of them in the class, attribute to it, is as much powerful. Initially turquoise was believed to protect horses and horse-riders in mishaps. In Turkey, the place that gave to the stone its name, turquoise was believed to be the horseman’s Talisman. Later, almost by early seventeenth century, it emerged like one of the luckiest stones, the key to success and the harbinger of good luck and love-life. Effective against poison and ill-health turquoise is considered now a strong safeguard against failure, poverty and lack of success. An anonymous verse from late eighteenth century England says : ‘If cold December gave you birth, the month of snow and ice and mirth, place on your hand a turquoise blue, success will bless whate’er you do’.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.