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Strings of elegance

Pearl jewellery in various tones, shapes and sizes are haute with the jewellery buffs



Coloured pearls are in vogue.

TILL DATE Nizam's jugni (two strings of pearls linked with a ruby-studded gold pendant), sat lada (seven strings of pearls, emerald and ruby beads) and jadawi lachcha (choker with polki and other precious stones laced with a string of pearls), the latter worn by Paigah princesses, are still some of the popular buys when it comes to traditional jewellery.

"For centuries Hyderabadi jewellery is based on pearls. Even today you wouldn't mind buying a sat lada that can come from anywhere between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 5 lakh, for its sheer opulence and craftsmanship," observes Mir Khasim Ali of TCS. "Despite having gold and diamond jewellery, you like to wear pearls. A thin chain gives that elegance. My relatives in other cities always ask for pearls when I visit them. My niece wanted a pearl set with American diamonds for her wedding gift," says Sharbani Matthew, a banker.

`Diamonds are forever' and `g for gold' promos have not been able to shadow the sheen of pearls in this part of the world, popularly known as the pearl capital. This romance with the bead, in the absence of any coastline, owes it all to the patronage by the Paigah princes, and their penchant for the beads. "Aap kahin bhi dekho tasveer mein (you can observe the pictures of the rulers). You will find the Nizam sporting exquisite pearl jewellery. He liked pearls. Today you have good artisans who can drill pearls and craft elegant jewellery here owing to the patronage. That's the reason behind the fame of Hyderabadi pearls. Then the market had the now extinct Basra pearls. Today South Sea and South Pacific pearls are available in the market," says Ajay Gupta of Mangatrai Pearls.

At present pearls come in varied shapes, drop, rice and round. Coloured pearls are in, be it at the Pathergatti-Gulzar House stretch or the Basheerbagh pearl bazaar.

"Pink, peach and grey are popular fancy natural shades. You also get applied or dyed pearls in silver grey, green, violet, black and several other tones," says Vikas Agarwal, the sixth generation merchant from Jagdamba Jewellers & Pearls. GenX could not have it better, to match pearls with their ensemble for a college or an afternoon party. "Silver jewellery is also popular with college students— trendy and affordable. A set of pearl string with a pendant and a pair of earrings comes for Rs. 500-Rs. 1,500," says Gupta.

"There are many options for men as well, "pearl ties, tie pins, brooches and kurta buttons," adds Vikas.



The ever green Nizam's "Jugnil" Photo:K.Ramesh Babu.

Pearl goes haute with its silver jewellery avatar--this time the silver is kept in its original tone. Yellow South Sea and black Tahiti pearls, the latter priced between Rs. 80,000 and Rs.1.5 lakh per string are a rage with the I-love-platinum people. The smoky tone is a sure status symbol to go with the formal ensemble.

And black pearls with gold and polki work on its surface are yet another must see pieces. But a single chain of graded round pearls is the flavour of the season teamed with a pair of button pearls for earrings.

As for the foreign clients, "they prefer a single string of round pearls mostly," says Khasim.

The comparatively lesser making charges and the finesse makes Hyderabadi pearls top their must buy list. The USP of pearl being that it is the only natural gemstone that can be worn in its natural shape and easy on the purse, "pearls can never go out of fashion," vouch the pearl buffs.

WHAT'S IN

  • Strings of pearls interspersed with American diamond chakris

  • Beads of rubies and emeralds are other hot favourites

  • Graded pearl necklaces, ideal for workplace and soirees

  • Coloured pearls — pink, peach and black

  • Bangles are passé. Bracelets with kundan are in vogue

    SYEDA FARIDA

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