Crafts of Andhra Pradesh Ethnic Jewellery of India

Hyderabadi Pearls & Pearl Jewellery of Andhra Pradesh

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Keep Exploring Hyderabadi Pearl Jewellery

Hyderabad is considered to be the main pearl trading centre in India, because of which the city is also known as the ‘City of Pearls’.

The most notable area devoted to the trade is the village called  Chandanpet  just outside Hyderabad, wherein almost the entire population is engaged in the delicate art of drilling pearls, a skill they have practiced for generations. This practice also makes the city one of the largest pearl drilling locations in India.

Background :

The pearl industry in Hyderabad flourished due to the patronage of the Qutub Shahi kings and the Asaf Jahis, who were said to have an affinity for sparkling jewels. 

The pearls were not only part of the traditional regalia of this royal clientele but the pearls’ crushed form are also believed to have healing and beautifying properties.

Princesses were said to be weighed against their pearls during their birthdays while Mir Osman Ali Khan, who is considered the richest among the Nizams, was said to have hoarded sacks of pearls in the basement of his palaces.

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Prior to the pearl trade in Hyderabad, pearls were sourced from Basra, Iraq. The pearls from this city were prized for their hardness unlike those found in the Bay of Bengal, which are softer and thus less durable. 

However, the discovery of oil and the later establishment of the oil industry polluted the Persian Gulf and led to the decline of pearl trade in Basra.

Thereafter, pearl merchants gravitated towards Hyderabad. Many pearl artisans from Basra have also moved to Hyderabad centuries ago.

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Processing :

Once the pearls are drilled, they are boiled for about four days to bleach them and rid them of their dark color. They are placed in glass bottles containing hydrogen peroxide, water, and ether. Then they are left in sun for four or five days in glass sun boxes with a mirror base.

Finally they are washed and separated through series of different shapes and sizes.

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Pearls are also graded according to color. While pink pearls and black pearls are also considered to be of good quality, white pearls have traditionally been most popular.

A good quality white pearl reflects a lovely sky blue color under ultraviolet light while a poor quality one has a green or mustard-colored sheen.

Black pearls that have a green sheen and baroque (irregular shaped) pearls that reflect a rainbow of colors are also amongst the more valuable varieties.

While black and pink pearls are also rare and beautiful, most traditional Hyderabad jewellery is made with white pearls.

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These days several pearl makers are exporting processed pearls to markets in Europe and the US.

With the capital that they gain from this marketing, they are able to purchase machinery for advanced refinement. In particular, equipment that uses enzymes present in thermophiles is able to substantially improve the process of refining pearls.

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Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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