Regarded as the queen of all precious metals, gold is in a league of its own. From the statuesque women of Greece and Rome who used to wear a wreath of filigree gold leaves on their heads to adorn their golden tresses, to the famed queen of the Nile Cleopatra, who unabashedly swathed herself with gold breastplates and wide cuffs among other precious trinkets to assert her status as queen, to the ubiquitous Arab women for whom heavy, gold jewellery is an essential, gold has never failed to impress and incite!
For us Bengali women, our relationship with gold is even more special. Gold is considered a lifelong investment, and serious attention is paid to it. Ornate, heavy sets are chosen to bequeath on the darling daughter when she is about to begin a new life. The next phase of her life is begun with blessings in the form of gold jewellery. So many emotions, values and traditions are attached with gold in our culture that it enjoys a devotional status.
In the last decade there was a notable dearth in interest in gold jewellery. With the 90s' minimalist approach to fashion, young women shunned shiny, heavily ornate jewellery of the yore and settled for the slinky and soignée pieces. So much so that many brides chose simpler designs for their weddings.
The gaudy yellow gold finish back in the day barely appealed to the hip, urbane women. In the past few years, however, there has been a radical shift in this mindset. With fabulous new dimensions in designs and finish, gold is more en vogue now than ever.
Gone are the days of typical, tacky designs. Brilliant jewellers have upgraded their repertoire with traditional designs that are chic and glamorous. Ancient techniques of jewellery making such as Kundan, Polki, and Jadau have been reinvented with gusto. There are now multiple options on finishes as well. Walk into a wedding and you can witness smart, young women clad in beautiful saris proudly sporting their mothers or their own gold jewellery. These women don't shy away from heavy, ornate sets anymore!
Thick, chunky bangles and cuffs are also very hot right now, as are cocktail rings in Kundan and Polki. With a nod to sporting a one statement piece, these are great style options as well as investments. Also, an intricately crafted piece is enough to add oomph to one's appearance.
In terms of regular wear, small pendants and earrings set with tiny diamonds and pearls are also great as office wear, since they tend to complement saris, shalwar kameezes as well as kurtas. The most attractive feature about purchasing gold jewellery is that one is aware of its value and there is a sense of accomplishment in it. They never tend to decline in value and hardly tarnish, so regular usage is easy and worry-free.
There are great options in small gold jewellery these days due to the advent of many new stores and their affordable options. So the next time you are enamoured by the glitter of gold, do not shy away from indulging your fancies and remember, this is the time to go for gold!
By Sabrina Haq
As good as gold
It seems that possession of gold jewellery has always been 'the dream' for a girl. She finally gets her wish when her mother hands over a family heirloom, or when her father spends all his life savings on her wedding day.
Well, wake up ladies! Stop breaking the bank (especially if it's someone else's) because the reality is that gold has been put on such a high pedestal that it is impossible to reach for most people. Gold jewellery is of course regal, stunning and in a league of its own, but alternatives add a certain class and sophistication in their subtleties to an outfit that gold just cannot accomplish, and we love them all the more for it.
There's just something about silver that screams “bohemian”. A traditional 'deshi' sari, thick 'kajol' and a 'teep' finished off with a heavy silver necklace and earrings leads to an alluring, gypsy-like appearance. Silver is great for experimental looks, especially of the traditional variety.
Aarong boasts an impressive collection of statement silver jewellery in the form of necklaces, earrings, bangles, anklets and rings. Most of the pieces are quite chunky, especially the dangling silver earrings that come in both a polished and a rustic look.
Neckpieces also cater to everyone's tastes, some large and daring, some safer and more conventional. Anklets and bangles start at Tk.800 and earrings and neckpieces start at around Tk.3000.
You can also opt to buy silver jewellery plated with gold, if you want to be a little sneaky, from places like Mayasir, Banani Super Market and Pink City, but we believe that silver deserves to be cherished in its own right.
Pearls and a pastel-coloured outfit…need I say more? This dynamic duo will assuredly lead to an angelic, almost ethereal appearance. You can do one simple strand and pearl studs for a semi-formal look to take you from day to night, or go all out by layering strings of pearls for a more dramatic appearance.
Pearl necklaces go best with Muslin, chiffon, satin and silks. The best places to hunt for quality pearls would be the shops in Gulshan-2 market, Pink City, Aarong and a few that are on the Gulshan-2 circle.
You can get cheaper pearl necklaces at other stores for as little as Tk.350 but in these shops prices start from Tk.700 because they don't compromise on quality. Pearls come in the standard white, pale pink and a purplish-black colour. There is also an option to mix and match.
A typical pearl set, consisting of a necklace, pearl studs and a bracelet, will cost somewhere around Tk.1500-2000, which makes pearls a very elegant but affordable gift. Ultimately, the price of the pearls you are after depends on the length of the string, the size of the pearls and whether they are cultured pearls or naturally formed.
The best part about jewellery made with stones is that you have the option of colours. You can match the colours to your outfit, or choose a completely contrasting colour to make sure your jewellery piece pops out. You can also mix and match these stones to sport a more colourful look.
The most popular semi-precious stones available are strings of rubies, emeralds, garnets and peridots. Strings of emeralds start at Tk.1500. Rubies are more expensive, with a string starting at Tk.2500 depending on the length of the string. Available at Gawsia, Chadni Chowk, Mascot Plaza, Pink City, Gulshan-2 market and Gulshan-2 circle.
By Mehereen Aziz
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Azra, Airin, Kabita
Wardrobe: LS Desk
Make up and styling: Farzana Shakil
Jewellery: Gitanjali Lifestyle
Special thanks to Sayeed Siddiqui
for opening up his studio for Star Lifestyle