Meenakari jewelry is a very famous form of jewelry in India. Preferred by numerous Indian families as traditional jewelry, Meenakari is very different from other types of jewelry. The art of Meena work came to India with the arrival of the Mughals. During the 16th century, the Maharaja of Rajasthan, Raja Man Singh introduced the Meenakari jewellery to Rajasthan. Due to its rapid increase in popularity, Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan became the hub of Meena work jewelry.
Meenakari is essentially enameling or decorating the metallic surface of jewelry with colors. Considered to be one of the most technical forms of jewelry, the art of doing Meena work requires perseverance and an eye for detail. Enameling was basically done on gold, but these days it is being done on metals like silver and copper. Meenakari involves a long procedure in which the first step involves fixing the jewelry on which Meenakari is to be done, on a stick of lac. Engravings are done on the jewelry which forms shallow depressions in which color is filled.
The enamel dust of a particular required color is then poured into those engravings and is heated in high temperature. The heat melts the color to an extent that it gets disseminated uniformly within the engravings. This process is repeated until all colors are set in the desired position. The colors are filled in accordance to their resistance to heat. White is the most heat resistant and is applied first and the last color or least heat resistant is the red color. After the jewelry piece cools down, it is polished with agate for luster. In India, the most famous centers for Meenakari are Jaipur, Delhi, Banaras and Udaipur.