LAST ONE: This is an authentic vintage JHUMKA or hair/ear adornment worn by the tribal gypsy Banjara women in Rajasthan. They are made from 'gypsy silver' or 'gillet' an alloy of melted coins. Each of these JHUMKA had a wad of waxed twisted fabric in the top that was used to hang the ornament around the ear or attach it to the hair as a hair weight. I have used a twisted strip of the same hand dyed, hand printed Rajasthani Balotra fabric to turn these JHUMKA into necklaces. Modernisation and education means old tribal customs and clothing are being sold and no longer worn. Five (5) only are available. Due to their age and history these pieces have dents and are not perfect. Some small parts might be missing (see photos). Each one is different and is a slightly different size ranging from 5.5 to 6.5cm. The one photographed measures 6.5cm (metal component) and including the twisted cotton part for wearing around the neck, measures 42cm.
The Banjara people are originally from Afghanistan and have migrated to Rajasthan and other regions of India. Traditionally they are cattle herders b ut now are moving into agriculture and trade. Women wear colourful and beautifully embroidered clothing like phetiya (ghagra/skirt) and kanchalli (blouse) and have mehendi (tattoos) on their hands arms and faces. They use mirror chips and often coins to decorate their clothing and jewellery. Women wear thick cream plastic (previously ivory) bangles (bandiya) covering their arms. When the bangles cover virtually the entire arms this indicates that the woman is married. Other ornaments worn by the women are silver rings, ivory/plastic bangles, coins and chain and hair pleats tied together at the end by chotla.