The history of ornaments is last in time. Female have occupied the central stage since the inception of human beings in to this world and due to the excessive attention and interest she has aroused and received from men, she has always strived to be more attractive, more beautiful and more eye catching in order to keep the males involved and engrossed eternally. As some females have remained in power in ancient times and even have been given the status of goddesses for their extraordinary appearance, beauty, wit and wisdom, they created and innovated new means and ways to retain and reinforce their exalted grandeur and elevate their sublime status. Greek (Hellen), Egyptian (Cleopatra), Hindu (Seta) and medieval mythology is replete with the examples of such goddesses who were revered and adored for their astounding attraction and were declared as paragon of beauty. Being in position of aesthetic sense and hypersensitive observation faculty, these remarkable creatures innovated and discovered new horizons to strengthen their status and maintain their position as an object of worship. They unearthed the sparkling gems, glittering gold and shimmering silver to achieve their objective. Later through their gifted innovative faculties, they learnt the art of making ornament and jewels that reinforced the beauty of the metal and quadrupled the beauty of the exhibitionist.
The ambitious and ostentatious fair ones of Swat have always been in the front line to defend their status and retain their empire of beauty. The talented artisans of the valley extended their helping hand and created such outstanding ornaments and jewels for their lady lovers that their artwork has been regarded as the emblems of beauty and treasures of antiquity.
Swat is a region that has its own unique and peculiar culture of its own and the skilful gold smiths of the enchanting valley have created jewelry and ornaments, which are typical, indigenous and territorial. These artistic forms of jewelry art have remained in vogue for the last several centuries and have adored the delicate and symmetrical physiques of the beautiful daughters of Swat.
Jhoomer is an ornament with intricate designs fixed in the tresses and hung over the forehead. An ancient tale is associated with the creation of Jhoomer by the goldsmiths of Swat. It is said that during the Buddhist era, the queen (Monja Devi) of Swat was arrested by a severe headache. She called for her sage to cure the malady and he contrived golden Jhoomer that she was to hang over her forehead for some time to get rid of her headache. When her courtiers saw this, they considered it as an embellishment to her beauty and became a fashion and tradition in the empire. Teek and Zanzerona are the different virgins of Jhoomer with more beautiful designs and embellishments.
Ogai, which has now become a part of antiquity, was a u-shaped heavy silver ornament wore around the neck. Ameel is the more modern virgin of Ogai lighter and decorated with intricate hanging floral arrangements. Taweez (Amulet) was a rectangular small golden box, studded with gems, sometimes with holy verses inside for blessing wore around the neck. Zanzeer (Chain) is the simple and most commonly used golden chain wore around the neck even today.
Piercing ears and decorating it with golden jewelry has been a long lasting tradition in Swat. Junkai, walai and Deeday are purely Swat oriented with hollow bell like shape and small golden hanging tassels, which are sometimes very huge and can even produce tinkling sound like a bell. They always made with gold but in the bygone era when gold was rare and beyond purchasing power, people usually made these ornaments from silver that were cheaper and easily available.
Natkai and Peezwan are the larger versions of Mikhakay, which is a tiny golden flower with a gem in the center and a small hook for fixing in the pierced nose. Natkai and Peezwan are a little bit larger and elaborately designed with golden hanging leaves and intricate designs. Dandar is the simplest golden ornament in a shape of a ring fixed in the nose, which reinforces the beauty of the red, succulent lips, white teeth and antimony lined eyes.
Bangary or bangles are the new versions of Bao and Karai, which are heavy, laden with gold and delicately designed. Bao and Karay were usually made of silver, as it needed formidable amount of gold but still the opulent ladies made golden Baogan and Karay to show off their influence and riches. Rings have not been transformed considerably with the age and are still greatly relished with beautiful and pretty designs and shapes. These beautifully designed ornaments exaggerate the beauty of the delicate, lean and hennaed hands. Shash is the most elaborately designed golden ornament for hands. A huge golden bangle with floral designs is chained with four finger rings studded with gems and stones forms a Shash. It is not in the proximity of everyone to acquire it and only wealthy families adore their brides with this ornament.
Pekaray was huge and carefully designed golden or silver chains with hanging golden leaves and flowers and wore around ankles. They produced wind chimes like sound when the lady walked and drew the attention of everyone around. They have lost their significance now and have become a part of antiquity. Panzib or Payal is the modern and more advanced form of Pekara, which is lighter and exquisitely designed. Pashto literature is full of poetry that extols and exaggerates the beauty of the beloved wearing Panzib and walking like a gazelle.
Valley Swat has undergone several tests of history and has seen numerous dynasties and hierarchies rule over its pristine frontiers. These different rulers have left indelible footprints in the culture and civilization of Swat, which have been happily inherited and accepted by the beauty worshipping citizens of Swat. The ornaments and jewelry of Swat has passed through the blazing furnace of goldsmiths and have evolved to new forms and symmetries.