Antique Indian Necklace, Kolhapuri Saj (Saaz), Maharashtra, 32 Pendants, 51.5 Grams
This is just such a beautifully made necklace. The information on Wiki suggests that it takes a Indian jewellery silversmith one week to make these old style necklaces. Today they are mechanized. The antique necklaces are usually made from gold - but this one is made from high grade silver and was originally gilded. There is still evidence of this in on the beads and pendants.
In some areas, the primary marriage symbol ornament must be in gold, a metal considered to be ritually pure and sacred to the gods, while in others, silver is also highly regarded, especially among people of lesser means.
This is a 19th century traditional handmade form of the Maharashtran necklace known as Kolhapuri Saj (Saaz). The single row silver marriage necklace is made up of thirty-two small thin repousse, three dimensional relief pendants from a silver sheet, each with a different Vashnavite symbolic meaning, and also symbols of ashtamangala.
The necklace has a central marriage ornament pendant of a stylized lotus (padma) surrounded by two rows of gajre balls. There are two silver fluted bicone beads in between each pendant (68 beads in total). The gajre balls and small bicone beads have been filled with lac or wax.
Each pendant has been filled with wax also and a silver backing plate added. Because the silver sheet is very fine - the wax element helps to keep the pendants from being damaged. The pendants have a set of three delicately made decorative bells (ghunghrus) - there are a few missing from the necklace. The small decorative bells have also been filled with wax - just amazing work!!
The necklace 32 pendants are listed from the central lotus up to the sliding bead on each side.
1. Chaphe-kali (frangipani buds)
2. Matsya (fish or incarnation of Vishnu)
3. Precious Umbrella
4. Sun (Sun is the Symbol of Spledor)
5. Naga - Snake (Symbolizing union)
6. Kirti Mukh (A good luck charm)
7. Precious Umbrella
8. Chandra (moon)
9. Two Peacocks (Symbol of properity and luxury)
10. Conch (Symbol of Divine Sound)
11. Rose (Symbol of Love and pioneer of scents)
12. Bel Patra (Three united Leaves)
13. Bitter Gourd Leaf (Life giving herb)
14. Two Peacocks (Symbol of properiety and luxury)
15. Chandra (moon)
16. Precious Umbrella
The Kolhapuri saj is strung on a cotton cord thread - The silver beads length measures 53 cm (21") and the cotton cord extensions 27 cm 10 1/2" each side. Extends to - length = 107 cm (42").
Central Pendant: 2.5 cm (1'")
Pendant Beads vary: Length: 2.5 cm (1") including bells
Width: 1.3 cm (0.5/8")
Total weight: 51.5 Grams (1.850 oz.)
Silver Tested: High Grade Silver