Gold and Silver Jewellery

Traditional ornaments from Awadh

Gold and Silver Shops in Chowk,Lucknow (2023) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

The silver business has been traditionally centered around the sarrāfa in the Chowk area in Lucknow. The demand for silver ornaments came from the city and from the rural areas as well. Today there are shops, in equal numbers, selling gold and silver ornaments. The shops on the main road do brisk business and the workshops (kārkhānas) are located in the maize of bylanes just behind the main Chowk. The lathe machines for producing gold and silver sheets and wires are also located in this area. The kārkhānas employ local artisans but over a period of time, migrant kārīgars from Bengal have become much sought after for their superior craftsmanship.  

Traditional gold paunchis, bracelet of gold beads attached to a base of wound cotton and gold thread (1950/1975) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Gold and silver ornaments can be in the form of kaās , bangles, pauncīs and bracelets to adorn the wrists.

Gold balis (1930/1950) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Plain studs for the ears as well as balī and jhumkī  are popular. 

Gold buttons on a chain for a kurta (1950) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

There are chains and necklaces of varying designs and lengths. Gold buttons are used singly, or joined with chains and worn with mulmul cikan kurtas paired with satin ġarārās.

Silver kardhani (waist band) (1950/1960) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Silver kardhanī for the waist is worn with both sarīs and lehngā.

Silver kardhani (waist band) (1950/1960) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Silver kardhanī (waist band), from the early-mid 20th century.



Silver jewellery for the ankles is popular such as nūpur, lachche, pāzeb and the delicate pāyal. The toes are usually adorned with a single silver bichiā. In a mahāvar, two bichiās, one each for the big and little toe are connected to each other by running clusters of ghunghrūs. Intricately designed gold bangles, kaās and torās also find favour as ankle adornments.

Benipan, in the shape of betel leaves, an ornament for plaited hair (1900/1935) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Benipān, in the shape of betel leaves, an ornament for plaited hair, from the early 20th century.

Scroll down to see some gold and silver ornaments...

Kantha (necklace) with cotton and gold thread work done by a patua, Unknown, 1875/1935, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Kada (bracelet) in embossed gold, Unknown, 1900/1935, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Traditional mala (necklace) of gold and pearl beads, Unknown, 1930/1940, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Gold cutwork danglers, Unknown, 1930/1940, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Necklace and earrings of pumpkin-shaped gold beads, Unknown, 1910, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver paunchi (bracelet), Unknown, 1900/1935, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Traditional cotton thread necklace with silver tablets and pendant, Unknown, 1900/1935, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Paazeb (anklets) in gold with tiny embedded rubies (1940) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Pāzēb (anklets) in gold with tiny embedded rubies, from 1940.

Silver payal (anklet with ghungroos) (1930/1960) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Silver pāyal (anklet with ghugroos), from the early-mid 20th century.

Silver payal (ankle ring with ghungroos), Unknown, 1900/1975, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver lacche (ankle rings), Unknown, 1950/1975, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver payal (ankle ring with ghungroos) (1900/1955) by UnknownLucknow Bioscope

Silver pāyal (ankle ring with ghungroos), from the early-mid 20th century.

Silver toe ornament (mahavar) with rings for the big and little toe, Unknown, 1930/1950, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver toe ornament (mahavar) fixed to the big and little toe, Unknown, 1930/1950, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Back view of silver toe ornament (mahavar)., 1930/1950, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver kardhani for a little girl, Unknown, 1950/1960, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Silver anklets for a little girl, Unknown, 1900/1975, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Nath with moti and chunni, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Gold lacche (circular anklets), Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Lucknow Bioscope
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Much in demand, often, because of its resale value, plain gold and silver jewellery is looked at as an investment.

Credits: Story

Curation: Noor Khan & Saman Habib
Photography: Ayan Bose, Tasveer Hasan
Team: Mariyam Imran, Saman Habib, Noor Khan
Text, Editing and Translation: Saman Habib, Noor Khan, Sabiha Anwar, Isha Priya Singh, Waseem Ahmed,Stuti Mishra, Stuti Mishra, Divya Joshi

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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