Not me. Of course, I am the rare gem, but the post is not about me (not entirely at least).
I am not a jewellery person. I don’t hate jewellery, but I don’t care for them either. This is unusual for a TamBrahm woman in her forties, because usually TamBrahm women in their forties, and thirties, and fifties and eighties and all in between (at least the ones in my married side of the family) are decked like the idol of a prevedic goddess. I don’t think jewellery suit me either. I wear the wedding necklace during the day (it goes on to my side table at night), not because of any sentimentality, but to avoid arguments with the oldies around me – there was one lady in my family who threw a tantrum because I forgot to wear it one day and she was convinced that bad things were going to happen to my husband. My father gives me a hard time even now because I refuse to wear the silver toe ring that shows me to be a happily married woman. The mangalsutra (the wedding necklace) that my husband’s family made for me was like one of those ropes used to tame an oxen – It weighed 7 sovereigns (56 grams), not counting the various dingbats that hung from it. Within six months, I changed it to a 1 sovereign chain to hold the dingbats, which displeased my in-laws to no end, and I was told that a 1 sovereign chain would never hold the paraphranalia that weigh 3 sovereigns and that my chain was going to break and become inauspicious to all concerned. It has been fourteen years that the eight gram chain has been bearing the load of 24 grams of additives.
But that is not in any way related to what I aimed to write about. As with any TamBrahm family, my family gave me tons of jewellery during my marriage – all of them being family heirlooms that had been handed down over at least a couple of generations. After the wedding, my better half and I promptly returned them to the family, for safe keeping. It has, since then, been under multiple locks and keys, in a safe place, and checked once a year and put back in the safe, while I went around either not wearing any jewellery at all, or fashion jewellery under extenuating circumstances.
Today was the day I checked the jewels in the safe. They were all there (touch wood), waiting to be handed down to the kid at a later date. I saw this most beautiful period jewellery that I had to show to the world (or an infinitesimally small subset of the world that visit me).
This is a piece of jewellery called “rakkodi”. It is a hair clasp of sorts. I remember trying to wear it at my wedding but giving up because it was too heavy, and it seemed to be an unnecessary burden to carry. Besides, I don’t have enough hair on my head to be able to hold such a heavy object. But there are others in my family with stronger hair, who have worn this for various occasions. This rakkodi could easily be a couple of centuries old, because it was inherited by my grandmother from her grandmother, who had told her that it was a family heirloom. It is an intricate design of “kemp stones” (which I gather are “Cabochons”, which again, I learn from Wikipedia, are “gemstone that has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted. ” If you turn the image about 30 degrees anticlockwise, you can see the swan set in stone (the red stone being the face of the swan) in the center. These days, such types of jewellery are called “temple jewellery”, I gather, and are worth a considerable sum of money.
So, the much spoken about Rakkodi.
I show this to my kid and she says, wow, it must be expensive. So maybe we can sell it and become rich. This is the kid who wont throw out a speck of dust from her room. Sigh !