Hampi Jewelry Collection by ISHARYA
The inspiration for our glamorous Hampi collection can be found east of Goa in India’s northern Karnataka state. Hampi is home to the ruins of the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire that ruled most of southern India from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries (1343 – 1565). Its name derives from the old term for the Tungabhadra River on whose southern banks it was was built, Pampa, which was anglicized into Hampi and it is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The central part of the site is spread across some 6,000 acres which includes palaces, shrines perched on hilltops, temples and an amazing cache of art.
Ancient Hampi ruins
The beauty of Hampi secured it a prominent place in the Ramayana as the location of King Vali’s citadel Kishkinda, where Prince Rama arrives to search for his abducted wife, Sita. The scene in which Rama meets the old woman Shabari, who advises him to seek assistance from Hanuman – said to have been born in nearby Anjanadri hill – is set north of the river Tungabhadra, in Pamp Sarovara. And in Hampi’s Rishyamukha hills, Rama meets Hanuman, who leads him to the king Vali ousted, his own brother Sugreeva. Sugreeva then shows where he hid the jewelry Sita dropped as she was being kidnapped by the king of Lanka, Ravana. A grateful Rama kills Vali and restores Sugreeva to the throne and in return, Sugreeva agrees to help Rama free Sita by waging war against Ravana.
War is a fact of Hampi’s IRL (in-real-life) history. It was originally selected for its strategic location – defensible hills on three sides with the lively Tungabhadra river on the fourth – and it is valued today for its unusual topography, archeological artifacts, large stones from which statues have been made of Hindu deities, temple remains and the distinctive stepped structures. These are characteristic of the architecture of pre-Vijayanagara times, notably the Jain temples, shrines to Devi and the Shaiva shrines dating from the ninth-tenth century AD with striking stepped pyramidal superstructures called vimanas.
To recreate these step structures in designer jewelry, our creative team used a technically challenging technique which dates back to Ancient Persia. The Iranian craftsmen of the Sassanid era (224 CE to 651 CE) invented a form of enameling that fused powdered glass without backing, allowing it to become transparent. They named the stained-glass like result in honor the azure color of heaven, Mina. Meenakari was then spread to India and other countries by the mobile Mongols. It was the French, however, who brought the charm (as the French do); noting the way this enameling technique lets the light shine through, they dubbed it “letting in daylight” orplique-à-jour.
Sketch by ISHARYA design team
From the famous steps to the equally evocative arched doorways gracing so many of Hampi’s structures, good design is good design, be it in buildings or costume jewelry. We are so proud of how our Hampi collection of modern Indian jewelry turned out – here are some of our favorites:
Hampi collection by ISHARYA Jewelry
Fringe Earring: Perfect for dining, cocktailing and other fun nocturnal activities.
Hedron Ring: Math not your thing? That’s OK because this 3D structure – with its flat faces, sharp corners and straight edges known as a hedron – falls into the category of Fashion Math. Which always adds up!
Hampi Necklace: Walks on the modern edgy side.
Statement Cuff: Where sacred geometry meets the secret of style.
We’d love to see how you style your own Hampi faves! When you post pix, don’t forget to use the hashtag #Isharya!