Roots: Traditional jewellery of the Indus Valley
7th May 2020
Jewellery is part of what makes us human. For thousands of years we have used this form of ornamentation as a way of expressing ourselves and reflecting the world around us. At Sacet, we’re transparent about our approach to this, and openly use our name (which translates to ‘consciousness’ from Sanskrit) as the centre of our focus. However, this is nothing new. People have been using jewellery in this way since some of our earliest civilisations, and one of the finest examples of this ancient form is the traditional Indian jewellery of the Indus Valley.
Over 2500 years ago, stretching from northeast Afghanistan to north-western India, there lived a population known as the Harappan civilisation. One of the three significant early civilisations, these people made some of the finest examples of ancient jewellery to have ever been discovered.
It is clear just from looking at the intricate jewellery of the Indus Valley, that the Harappan civilisation practiced highly advanced craftsmanship. The elaborate designs of their beads, the detailed imprints of their gold necklaces, as well as the intricate craft of their amulets and rings, have amazed historians and jewellers for years. The array of stunning jewellery that these people created, proves the importance they placed onto it. To dismiss this jewellery as being merely decorative would be to misunderstand their meaning and purpose.
It is believed that the Harappan used jewellery for spiritual purposes. Their amulets, for example, are thought to have been used for protecting against evil. These pieces were worn on a beaded necklace around the neck, to give the wearer spiritual power. Some of the finer examples have included the swastika image which (contrary to its later connotations) was used as a symbol of the supreme principle of the universe and may even symbolise one of the earliest, conceptual notions of an all-being God.
The spiritual consciousness of the Harappan people is reflected throughout their jewellery. Many of the ancient graves which have been excavated, show that people were even buried with their jewellery – the most common example being their beaded items. This is clear indication that these people believe in an afterlife and that offerings were made as a part of this process. Their jewellery far transcended the aesthetic purpose and was a powerful tool to reach a higher level of spiritual being.
In present times this might appear illogical, when in fact it couldn’t be further from it. We still exhibit the same relationship between our consciousness and our jewellery. Consider the wedding band, for example. This piece of jewellery is more than a piece of aesthetic ornamentation. It symbolises an unending commitment and an ever-existing love. The ring has no beginning and no end – the love it represents, as well as the commitment you make by wearing it, is meant to transcend this world and reach into the furthest stretches of the afterlife. When you think of the wedding band in this way it is plain to see that we still have a deep connection to our jewellery, much like the ancient civilisations of the Indus Valley.
Sacet’s mission to reflect our consciousness through jewellery is deeply rooted in the practices of the people that have come before us. Our desire to reflect inner beauty through the external beauty of our ethical jewellery is simply an extension of ancient beliefs. We don’t harbour the hope that we will remain in this sense – it is our wish that all jewellers will eventually reflect their consciousness through their jewellery, much like the Harappan civilisation from the Indus Valley did, thousands of years ago.