Meet Jhumka – The History of Indian Earrings

(Viewed 233 times since Sep 2021)
    If you’ve ever attended a wedding or special occasion, then the chances are that you saw dozens of women wearing jhumka. They’re a style of earrings popular on the Indian subcontinent and hold a cultural significance, dating back to the Mughal Empire. Jewelry is the ultimate form of self-expression and an opportunity to reconnect with your heritage through a form of living art. You can find jhumka earrings in almost every shape and style, each incorporating the signature bell shape into the design. No woman’s jewelry box is complete without a pair of jhumka earrings. These timeless earrings double as an ornament, giving you a statement piece that is sure to be the center of attention wherever you go.

     

    These earrings have evolved over time – from their beginning in 300BC as jewels that adorned deities in temples before becoming synonymous with nobility during the Mughal Empire. The stunning jhumka earrings have a rich heritage, evolving with fashion trends to become a staple piece that every woman owns. Whether it’s for everyday or special occasions, you can never go wrong with jhumka earrings.

     

    At Exotic India, we think that no outfit is complete without earrings. We have hundreds of earring styles for you to choose from – whether you’re searching for everyday earrings or statement styles to wear for a special occasion. We’re looking at the history of jhumka and why you should be adding more earrings to your jewelry box.

     

    The origin of Jhumka earrings

    When we think of jhumka, we instantly think of beautiful jewelry that dances as we move. Jhumka is the name given to bell-shaped earrings, reflecting the jingle they make as you turn your head. The word ‘jhumka’ roughly translates to ‘bell’, with most of the earrings we see today reflecting this heritage in their shape. 

     

    You can trace the origins of jhumka earrings back to the ancient temples of the Chola dynasty when it was used in temple statues as early as 300BC. The deities in the temple were adorned with these jewels n tribute and recognition of their status.

    Spiral Post Earrings

     

    The jhumka earrings that we know and love today were popularized by Bharatanatyam dancers. The earrings move as fluidly as the dancers who wore them, helping to add to the mystery and allure of their dances. These early jhumka earrings took their inspiration from natural elements while incorporating floral and temple designs.

     

    The admiration for jhumka earrings grew across India, with the accessory becoming particularly popular amongst the nobility and royal families. These groups each took the signature bell shape and made it their own by incorporating different design elements, like gemstones and jewels.

     

    As the nobility – particularly women – were adorned with heavy jewelry for everyday wear, jhumka earrings had an innovative design. These earrings have a hollow interior, making them lightweight to wear without losing the dramatic impact of the style. As a result, jhumka earrings became the preference for generations of women.

     

     

    Ruby Tops

     

    The Mughal Empire took the earring to the next level, often adding a ‘sankali’, an ornamental chain that connected a ‘kanphool’ – a statement stud - to the hair with a small hook. It was added onto the jhumka earring, which usually had long pearl tassels with diamonds and a gold setting. Over time, the dome of the kanphool stud evolved to create the distinctive shape we find today in high-end earrings.

     

    Now a single, oversized earring, the jhumka remains one of the most coveted jewels for any woman’s jewelry box. It’s popular across Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India – as well as breaking into Western fashion.

     

    The modernisation of jhumka earrings

    Cartier is the world’s premium jewels, designing for everyone from royalty to heads of state and celebrities. Few brands could ever dream of having the influence of Cartier on the jewelry world. It was this Parisian jeweler that brought jhumka earrings into the modern era by reimagining their design. Influenced by the tradition of jhumka earrings, they began to create larger earrings, restyling the jhumka earrings with a distinctively Western field. As these earrings took off in popularity, the traditional jhumka earrings did as well.

     

    Jhumka earrings are an evergreen style of ethnic jewelry that has been eternalized by fashion trends. What we love about jhumka earrings is that they’re not a one-size-fits-all design. You can find hundreds – if not thousands – of different styles of jhumka earrings, guaranteeing that you’ll find one which matches your personality.

     

    Graceful Sterling Silver Earrings Studded with Amethyst Gemstone

     

    Traditional types of jhumka earrings

    The beauty of jhumka earrings is that you can find dozens of different styles, all of which incorporate the bell shape in their unique way.  Hanging jhumka earrings are amongst the most popular, characterized by a long dangling section attached to a stud earring. These jhumka earrings are a statement piece, adding instant glamour to your outfit. They’re the earrings you reach for on special occasions or when you want to add a fun and quirky twist to your outfit.

     

    Drop jhumka earrings are similar to their hanging counterpart but made up of two distinctive parts – the stud and the drop. These two parts typically are the same size, giving the earrings a distinctively regal feel. As jhumka earrings are hollow on the interior, this style is easier to wear than most oversize drop earrings. They’re perfect for styling with a saree for any occasion.

     

    One Circle Dangle Faceted Cubic Zirconia Earrings

     

    If you want to incorporate contemporary trends into your jhumka earrings, look for a style with an asymmetrical shape. Abstract and asymmetrical shapes and silhouettes are a contemporary aesthetic that you can often find amongst jhumka designs. Switching out from a symmetrical style means you can have fun with your look and try something new.

     

    For women who think of jewelry as art, the ‘jhumar’ jhumka earrings have a chandelier shape that makes them fall elegantly above your shoulders. They’re the perfect choice for a semi-formal event or if you want to incorporate a unique accessory into your everyday look.

     

    Silver-Colored Giant Jhumka Earrings with Zircon
     
     

    Contemporary styles of jhumka earrings

    One of the most popular contemporary designs for jhumka earrings is the ear-cuffs, which are right on-trend with their intricate design. They’re the style you’ll reach for while wearing your hair in an updo, giving you a feminine and fun look. These earrings typically take a peacock design, carrying the design from the ear cuff through to the bell silhouette itself.

     

    A new style of jhumka earrings that is becoming increasingly popular is quilled jhumka earrings. The quilling trend has found its way from papercraft, and into jhumka earrings, allowing you to turn your favorite earrings into a piece of art. You can find these in dozens of different colors and shapes, helping you stand out from the crowd. If you want jhumka earrings to wear every day, these are the style for you.

     

    Hoop jhumka earrings are another contemporary design that combines two popular earring styles into one. You get the timeless gold hoop with the bell-shaped jhumkas, helping to distribute the weight of the earrings.

     

    Superfine Handcrafted Post Earrings
     
     

    The appeal of Jhumka earrings

    jhumka earrings are a go-to choice for special occasions and weddings. They’re timeless and versatile while still feeling right on-trend. You can incorporate them into any occasion outfit to add a traditional elevate twist. It can be your ‘something old’ and ‘something new’ all at once. It’s this marrying of the two ideas that make jhumka earrings so attractive.

     

    The appeal of jhumka earrings comes from their timelessness. These earrings have evolved from adorning temple statues thousands of years ago to adorning the ears of women all over the world. The jhumka earrings have evolved with time, giving women exactly what they want, when they want. Whether it’s diamond earrings for the court of Mughal or smaller, wearable gold versions for every day.

     

    We can’t deny the charm of jhumka earrings – how they combine creativity with tradition to create some unconventional yet contemporary at the same time. Every designer takes the jhumka earring as a blank canvas, putting their own twist together. Most choose to take the time-honored traditions and fuse them with cultural elements to pay homage to its Indian heritage.

    Lord Surya Earrings with Black Spinel

     

    What we love about jhumka earrings is that they offer something for everyone. They’re amongst the most versatile types of jewelry, allowing you to put your own twist on every style. Whether you prefer ear cuff jhumka earrings or traditional drop earrings, you’re guaranteed to find a style that works for you and your fashion taste. Whether you keep your looks traditional or contemporary, jhumka earrings have a rich heritage and allow you to incorporate a little culture into your outfit.

     

    Are you looking to expand your jewelry box with new and exciting designs? We have hundreds of earrings styles for you to choose from, including jhumka earrings for every occasion. Earrings are an accessory that can instantly elevate your look, taking you seamlessly from day to night – none of them more so than the jhumka earrings.

    Ethnic Jhumki Earrings
     

     

    References:

    History of Jhumka Earrings

    Earring Style 

    All About Jhumkas  

     

     

     

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