The traditional jewellery of Sri Lanka represents ornate and stylised work, chiefly in gold and silver. The gold and silver artisans are organised in caste-based artisanal 'guilds', and represent a family tradition that has thrived on the patronage of royalty and the wealthy. Foreign occupation of Sri Lanka and the decline of royal rule did affect jewellery-making, which was a highly traditional skill, closely related to royal patronage. However, the tradition survived and continues, owing to the combination of adornment, wealth, and investment that gold and silver jewellery represent in Sri Lanka. The beneficial effects that certain metals and gems are supposed to confer on the wearer has also been important in the continuity of the tradition of crafting jewellery.
Although the craft is present in almost all parts of the country, yet Kandyan gold and silver jewellery is especially well-known. There is supposed to have been much engagement between Kandyan jewellery stylisation and that of south India, chiefly due to inter-marriage between Kandyan kings and south Indian women, and a steady stream of Indian goldsmiths to Sri Lanka. Aside from this, some European influence, chiefly in the context of imperial-colonial interaction is visible.
At the Sri Lanka National Design Centre a lot of innovations in designs are being done for jewellery especially with foreign collaboration. Due to the recent awareness about the importance of preservation of ecology, jewellery is being made with natural raw materials like wood, raffia, shells, leather, fibre, stone and even coconut shells.
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