The attraction and appeal of jewelry is very high in India, compared to other art works and artifacts. Indian Jewelry has carved a special niche for itself all the world, for its wide range of designs and craftsmanship. The attraction of diamonds and the love of gold is universal across all strata of the society in Indian homes.
Jewelry made of Gold and precious metals is often expensive and hence buyers also search for cost-effective alternatives that are no less attractive. The state of Andhra Pradesh boasts of an exclusive tradition, wherein a village is entirely dedicated to the manufacture of imitation jewelry, which is simply stunning. The village of Chilakalapudi near Machilipatnam in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh is renowned all over for some of the best quality imitation jewelry manufactured here. The Imitation jewelry made here by most of the families in this village is also called as ‘Chilakalapudi Bangaram’.
The Machilipatnam jewelry has brought livelihood opportunities to the rural belt of Krishna District in AP, and it has also filled a crucial need-gap, by aiding the budget of middle-class buyers, providing them with rolled-gold jewelry. The metal used is silver or copper on to which either rolled-gold or gold is electroplated, followed by addition of embellishments which is done painstakingly by hand. Here the community involved in imitation jewelry also create multiple pieces, which are embellished with different colored stones for matching various outfits in their wardrobe, which is usually prohibitively expensive in pure gold. There are more than 200 units engaged in the industry which provides employment to thousands of artisans and their families. Right from Bangles, earrings, necklaces, trinkets and nose rings to ankle jewelry, the place is synonymous with attractive jewelry that mimics designs made with pure gold.
Chilakalapudi has become the most sought-after market for imitation jewelry which attracts customers not only from AP, but also rest of India. Customers can find really stunning pieces of jewelry of various shapes, sizes and designs that look like original gold jewelry, with similar finish and shine. Chilakalapudi Bangaram is also used by artists trained in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi or Kathak, since Jewelry forms a crucial element of presenting the dance form. The Indian Imitation jewelry is not only worn by people of India but also sourced by customers all over the world, which has resulted in more demand. India is rated as one of the largest exporters of imitation jewelry from a long time.