Rajasthan as a historic state has numerous factors that makes it culture scintillatingly colorful. One such factor is the traditional jewel-making art of Thewa. Rajasthani literal for ‘Setting’, Thewa is known for its intricate designs enriched with vibrant colors.
The art of Thewa was originated in Pratapgarh, a southern Rajasthani district, during Mughal age. It is believed that a goldsmith named Nathu Lal Sonewal invented the art in the year 1707. Afterwards, in the year 1767, Maharaja Samant singh of Kishangarh Mewar, made Thewa art popular. Not only that, impressed by the creativity of Sonewal, he even gave his family the title of Raj-soni (royal goldsmith) rewarding him with a Jagir (a piece of feudal land).
Thewa has now become a patented art of jewelry making, known by only those who have gained this knowledge from their ancestors. That way the actual knowledge of the art is kept only within the families. However mystified the art maybe, it is clear that it consumes a lot of time. An authentic Thewa jewelry takes up to a month’s time to get completed.
Another well-known fact about the Thewa jewelry is that it uses pure 23 carat gold in its making. It is believed that the gold used in the making of a thewa jewelry is beaten into a thin sheet, known as Thewa ki Patti. Then, as per the customers’ desire, intricate patterns are hand inscribed onto it. Thus created Thewa ki patti is then added to a frame which is already embedded with lustrous colorful glass. After that, the whole product is heated until the glass and the gold are fused together perfectly.
The final product thus created has nice glittery colorful background embellished with antique floral, or other exotic patterns, made of pure gold. The piece is then strung with beads of the same color as that of the background glass. The most common colors used in Thewa jewelry include red, maroon, green, and blue.
Thewa is considered as one of the most important part of art and craft culture of Rajasthan. To demonstrate the significance of the art, Government of India has even published stamps showing the Thewa art. Moreover, on the royal wedding of Prince Charles of Britain, Indian government has gifted the couple with an antique Thewa jewelry as one of the prized gifts. Indeed, it appears that Thewa has now become one of the signature symbols of, not just Rajasthan, but India.