A khanti necklace




India, Rajasthan (Jaipur)


19th century


Forging, enameling, gem-setting, weaving


Gold, diamonds, emeralds, enamels, glass, silk


Length (without cord) 291 mm; width 68 mm

The gold necklace consists of a large central pendant and sixteen hanging palmette-like elements that are decorated with polychrome enamels on both sides. All of them are connected by a single silk string and alternate with small recessed gold beads. The central pendant is shaped like a six-petaled flower head with a pair of small leaves at the top. It is set with one uncut diamond, one rose-cut diamond and two carved emeralds on the obverse side, therewith it is supplemented with three hanging drop-shaped emerald beads on wires at the bottom. Furthermore, the enamel decor of the central pendant includes six small flower heads on the obverse side and a songbird among flowering plants on the reverse. There is a metal-thread cord (sarafa) with a tassel for attaching on the neck.

COMMENT. Khanti is a type of Indian women's necklace, which does not fit tightly around the neck, unlike guluband. It consists of a many elements that are movably connected by means of one or two silk threads. The necklace usually includes a larger central element in the form of a stylized flower head and is often fitted with a similar pendant. The presented necklace demonstrates the high quality of work and the characteristic features of the Indian art of enameling, known as "minacari / meenakari". The term "minacari / meenakari" itself is translated from the Persian language as "enamel work". Although each regional school of enameling in India specializes in their own variations of technique and style, almost all of them prefer cavity fusion enamel or champlevé. The metal base is first chiseled, chased, repoussed or etched with depressions according to the conceived pattern. The enamel colors are applied and fired in order of their hardness. The most heat resistant colors are applied first, as they are re-fired with each additional color. Once the last color has been fired, the piece is cooled, polished and cleaned. Indian enamellers (minakars / meenakars) have learned to produce beautiful transparent, translucent and opaque enamels on different metals like gold, silver, copper and copper alloys. The best base metal is pure gold, which not only perfectly holds the enamel, but also enhances its brilliance. The minakari / meenakari art was appeared and spread widely in India during the Mughal period (1526-1858), but it is still preserved in many traditional centres of enameling, including cities such as Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi.