India, Uttar Pradesh
This elaborate ring is KUNDAN set with turquoise in the shape of the marigold flower or sun. The reverse is decorated with enamel.
In India turquoise is known as PHIROZA and is the birthstone of December. In Asian countries, like India and Persia, people had a belief that wearing turquoise promoted good health, prosperity and protected one against evil. In Persia people believed that the reflection of the moon when seen on a turquoise stone would bring good luck to the person wearing it. It is said that when you give turquoise stone to someone, you send them a message saying ‘don’t forget me’ and it is a best gift that can be given for anniversaries.
Enamelling on jewellery was an art that the Mughals brought from Persia along with a love for naturalistic beauty and perfection. What is interesting to note is the fact that the goldsmiths used the purest form of gold to make these elaborate jewels and enamelling was done simply top reserve the beauty of the pieces against wear and was never meant to be seen.
Today one is fascinated by the various motifs enamelled on the back of fabulous traditional Indian jewellery and often the enamelled side is preferred to the front of the piece. Historians and experts use these motifs and colours do date these jewels. Enamel jewellery is one of the most outstanding in the ranges of Indian jewellery. Akbar, who was one of the chief patrons of art and craft, encouraged the production of meenakari, enamelwork, in his imperial karkhanas, workshops. The art flourished and peaked during the reign of emperor Shah Jhan. Different states in Northen India are each characterized by various enamel work, expressed through color use and techniques and iconography. Indian enamel is known for its high quality and designs, luster and transparency. The most reputed of all the centers of enamelling in India is Jaipur.
Gelder, Bernadette van Traditional Indian Jewellery; Beautiful People, page 166-167