Oxidised jewellery has become integral to the wardrobe of any woman trying to experiment with ethnic jewelry and modern attire for an understated appeal. Available at comparatively affordable prices, oxidised jewellery has shot up in popularity among the younger generations over the years.
Origin of Oxidised Jewellery:
India, a land of mind-boggling diversity, has always boasted a variety of jewelry respective of its regions. Oxidised jewellery is found across multiple tribal belts spread across Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chotanagpur Plateau among the Bhils, Santhals and Gonds, over the centuries. The history of metals can be traced as far back to Harappa-Mohenjodaro when copper and bronze were the metals of choice. Later, the Vedic civilization in the Indo-Gangetic plains ushered the age of iron and gold. Initially used for utilitarian purposes, the metals were later used in the creation of a variety of ornaments like necklaces, bracelets, amulets, earrings, anklets etc. Oxidation, a natural process of oxygen-induced degradation of metals, causes blackening of silver, which became the chief component of oxidised jewellery later on. It was first done manually around 1100 AD with the use of sulphur and later gold-plating was added.
Making of Oxidised Jewellery:
Silver is the primary metal for making oxidised jewellery. Hence, the most commonly practiced procedure for making oxidized jewelry is the blackening of silver on exposure to Liver of Sulphur, added to an alloy. Such alloys can be made of copper, zinc or nickel to add different shades of colour. Oxidation has be done to brass as well. The second method is the use of Silver Black which contains Hydrochloric Acid. This process is risky and must be done under safety guidelines. Oxidized jewelry is used on a multitude of innovations, from earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, anklets, toe-rings to jewellery boxes.
Maintaining Oxidised Jewellery:
Oxidised jewellery should always be stored in jewelry boxes to prevent exposure to sunlight, or even indoor fluorescent lights and bulbs. If it is not regularly used by the wearer, it is preferable to store them in airtight containers layered in cotton rolls. Furthermore, no tarnish removers like silver polish and paste should be used to polish oxidised surfaces of the jewellery. Only polishing cloths made for cleaning jewellery should be used to gently rub over them, along with cotton swabs to reach the more difficult spots. The jewelry should also never come in contact with hot water or steamers.
Present Trend of Oxidised Jewellery:
The desirable factor for oxidised jewellery is its compatibility with a varied range of attires. From the minimalist khadi or taanth saree paired with statement necklaces to formal outfits accessorized with simple stud earrings, oxidised jewellery carves its niche almost anywhere. Ethnic to modern, it is a comfort for most consumers. Currently, it has become a beloved among celebrities like Aditi Rao Hydari, Kiran Rao, Rani Mukherjee, and Sonam Kapoor, who wore it at the Cannes Film Festival. Eccentric and eye-catching, oxidised jewellery is here to stay.