What is the Meaning of Nagas / Nakshi Jewellery and How are They Made?

Sep 06, 2023
What is the Meaning of Nagas / Nakshi Jewellery and How are They Made?

What is the Meaning of Nagas / Nakshi Jewellery and How are They Made?

Ever wondered about those intricate jewellery pieces adorning the necks and ears of Indian women? You've possibly well-liked the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into making each piece. Well, let me introduce you to the fascinating world of Nagas or Nakshi rings. These ring pieces are native to parts of South India, specially Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Nagas are made by skilled artisans who intricately weave gold and gemstones into spectacular necklaces, bangles, earrings and hair ornaments. The name comes from the snake-like shape of the jewellery that coils around the neck or wrist. Each piece tells a tale through the choice of gems and the sample of metalwork. If you've ever wanted to study the means, records and making of these jewellery portions that exhibit the richness of Indian craftsmanship, you've come to the right location.

What Is Nagas / Nakshi Jewelry?

Nagas or Nakshi jewellery originates from the Indian state of Rajasthan.This ornate style of jewellery is handcrafted the use of strategies that have been handed down thru generations.

The word ‘naga’ means serpent in Sanskrit, and this jewellery gets its name from the snake-like patterns and shapes incorporated into the design.

Materials and Process

The metals used are primarily gold and silver. Meenakari or enamelling is an important technique where coloured glass powder is fused onto the metal surface using high heat. Precious and semi-precious stones like rubies, emeralds and kempu stones are also embedded for colour and sparkle.

Skilled craftsmen first draw the design onto the metal surface. They then engrave and etch the sample using special chisels and hammers. The enamelling is done section by section, hardening each layer in a kiln before moving on. Gemstones are set in place and secured at the end. A single piece of naga jewellery can take many months of meticulous work to complete.

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Cultural Significance

Naga earrings hold special cultural and religious importance in Rajasthan. The serpent motif is a symbol of fertility and new lifestyles. Peacocks represent beauty and everlasting love. These decorative embellishments are worn by girls throughout weddings, fairs and different unique events as a sign of social status, female strength and appropriate fortune.

Intricate, vibrant and meaningful, naga jewellery is truly a wearable work of art. An heirloom that is exceeded down from era to era, its splendour only grows greater resplendent with time.

The History and Significance of Nagas Jewelry

Nagas rings have a rich record and cultural significance in India. These ornate pieces featuring serpent motifs have been worn for hundreds of years, dating again to the 2nd century BC. Traditionally, nagas were believed to keep mystical powers, so the jewellery turned into a notion to provide safety and appropriate fortune.

The tricky designs and gemstones used in nagas jewellery make each piece a piece of art. The metallic, normally gold, is shaped into serpentine paperwork and encrusted with precious stones like rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The fine of gems and the level of detail show the ability of the craftsmen who handcraft each object.

While nagas jewellery turned into as soon as handiest worn by royalty and the wealthy, nowadays those opulent accessories are extensively utilised in weddings and festivals as a standing image throughout various cultures in India. Brides will often put on nagas necklaces, bangles and anklets at some point of wedding ceremony ceremonies and receptions. The serpent motif is likewise a concept to symbolise fertility and new beginnings, making it an apt preference for newly married women.

The undying enchantment and cultural heritage embodied in nagas jewellery has allowed it to stay an vital part of Indian adornment for ages. So the following time you notice an Indian bride incredible in gold and gems, you will know she's honouring an extended-standing subculture of expertise, mysticism and matrimonial symbolism. Whether you're attending a wedding or truely want to include this component of Indian way of life, nagas rings may be a significant addition to your series.

Traditional Materials Used to Create Naga Jewelry

Traditional Naga jewellery makes use of substances which are locally sourced and keep cultural importance.


Cowrie shells, additionally known as sea shells, are commonly used in Naga earrings. The shells were once used as foreign cash, so they are seen as a symbol of wealth and status. The shells are polished and strung together on cotton threads to make necklaces and bracelets. Some tribes agree that the shells have protective powers and beat back evil spirits.


Glass beads were introduced through trade with neighbouring tribes and countries. Beads are available in a vibrant array of colours like red, blue and yellow. Beads are used to create alluring necklaces, headbands and decorations on traditional Naga apparel and textiles. Certain colour combinations and bead patterns can signify a woman’s marital status or the tribe she belongs to.


Animal bones, including bovine (cow or buffalo) and porcupine quills, are crafted into necklaces and hair pins. The bones are carved and polished into cylindrical shapes with complex designs.  Bone jewellery is more commonly seen in tribes from Nagaland’s Konyak region. The craft of bone carving is surpassed down via generations and calls for an excessive stage of skill.


Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is used to make bangles, rings and ear ornaments. Brass jewellery adds a metallic sheen and tinkling sound when worn. The brass is hammered into thin sheets and shaped using basic tools and heat. Brass jewellery has become popular with younger generations and tourists, though it is not considered a traditional Naga material.

To summarise, the substances used in conventional Naga jewellery each have special cultural meaning and help to symbolise the tribe’s values, fame, and connections with nature. The earrings handcrafted the usage of time-venerated strategies which have been handed down thru many generations.

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The Step-by-Step Process of Making Naga/ Nakshi Jewelry

The creation of Nagas or Nakshi jewellery is a meticulous process that can take skilled artisans days or even weeks to complete. Each piece is handcrafted using techniques passed down through generations.

Designing the Pattern

The first step is designing the intricate pattern. Artisans sketch geometric, paisley, or floral motifs that will adorn the jewellery. These complicated styles are inspired by using nature and intended to awaken a sense of beauty. The sketches are then traced onto silver or gold plates to function as guides.

Cutting and Shaping

The metal plates are cut and shaped into the desired form, whether it’s a necklace, bangle, or earring. The surface of the metal is hammered to create texture and make it easier to etch the detailed pattern. Additional decorative elements like gemstones, beads, or bells may also be attached at this stage.

Etching the Pattern

The etched pattern is what gives Nagas jewellery its distinctive appearance. Using small chisels and hammers, the artisan carefully traces the pattern onto the metal surface. This painstaking work requires a steady hand and keen eye. As the pattern emerges, the piece comes to life.

Polishing and Finishing

Once the pattern is complete, the jewellery goes through numerous rounds of sharpening and completing. The floor is buffed to ease any sharp edges and bring out the etched design. Gemstones are also polished and the whole piece is cleaned earlier than a final inspection.The advent of those opulent rings pieces is surely a hard work of love. Naga or Nakshi rings are supposed to be loved and handed down via generations, the designs symbolising an unbroken cultural way of life of splendour, nature and craftsmanship. Treat your piece with care and it'll maintain your joy for years to come.


So there you have got it, a creation into the stunning global of Nagas earrings. These great gold adorns were a necessary part of South Indian way of life for hundreds of years and stay quite coveted to this present day. With their tricky designs and craftsmanship, every piece tells a unique story. The amount of time, ability, and dedication that is going into making them is clearly extraordinary. Maybe you will even be inspired to begin your own collection of those undying treasures.

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