The return of jhumka: A timeless piece of jewellery

Over time, these ornate, dangling earrings have transcended cultural boundaries to become a universal symbol of elegance and grace.

Munira Fidai

Munira Fidai

The Daily Star


File photo of a woman adorned by a pair of traditional jhumkas. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR

January 23, 2024

DHAKA – Ever fashionable and versatile, the timeless jhumka has its origins in centuries-old temple jewellery. Evoking a picture of feminine allure and playfulness, jhumka literally means a bell, alluding to its most distinctive feature, a tinkling bell dangling from the ear.

When it comes to statement jewellery, only a few pieces can rival the evergreen attraction of jhumkas. Over time, these ornate, dangling earrings have transcended cultural boundaries to become a universal symbol of elegance and grace. Above all, jhumkas are known for their intricate craftsmanship and their ability to effortlessly elevate any outfit, making them relevant to the fashion scene at every age and era.

One of the many reasons for the enduring popularity of jhumkas is their deep connection to cultural traditions. While the original ornament was worn with jewelled chains woven into a woman’s hair, the Mughals came along and gave the world their version of the jewellery — without chains, and with a kanphul, the modern-day jhumka. With elaborate motifs on the kanphul as well as the dome, the tinkling jhumka continues to tell a tale of rich cultural heritage, and a connection to a timeless aesthetic to this day.

The distinctive silhouette of the jhumka is part of what makes the earring so popular. Drawing attention to the face, the design enhances facial features and creates a sense of symmetry. The gentle sway and delicate chime of jhumkas as they move, add an element of drama, capturing the eye and making a statement without overpowering the overall look. This balance between boldness and subtlety is what makes these ornaments unique, and a favoured choice for those who appreciate understated elegance.

The versatility of jhumkas is another major driving force behind their popularity. Whether laid with pearls, beads, or gemstones, jhumkas can effortlessly transition from traditional to contemporary ensembles. They have the unique ability to add a touch of glamour to a sari or bring an element of tradition to a modern dress, a definite boon for those seeking simplicity, yet hoping to make a statement.

Finally, if one is on the topic of jhumkas, the meticulous artistry that goes behind its production simply cannot go without a mention. Crafted with the utmost precision and attention to detail, jhumkas often boast delicate filigree work, gemstone embellishments, and exquisite metal craftsmanship. Not surprisingly, therefore, the earrings are often the very first choice for brides when they set about putting together their wedding looks.

Not restricted to occasion wear or weddings, however, modern women sport jhumkas with virtually every outfit. Be it fusion wear such as frock style kurtis or crop tops with ethnic coatees, traditional Lucknowis worn over denims, or heavily embellished shalwar kameezes and saris, the jhumka alone does today, what an entire set of jewellery would do in the decades past. As the popularity of chunky jewellery, especially during the day, has hit an all-time low, the jhumka is often seen to be saving the day as the sole, faithful ornament carrying the entire ensemble on its delicate domes.

Model: Borno
Jewellery: Uzmah
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
MUA: Sumon Rahat

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