I grew up with Paneer roses. Sweet smelling, light pink flat roses with bright yellow pollen, brown stamen and petals that would threaten to fall off if you wear them in your hair. As a child, I would tend to the rose shrub at home tenderly, feeling sad when the flowers withered away. I am not sure of the English or the botanical name for it but Google suggests that it could be either the Edward rose or Damascus rose. I am not even sure if the rose is called Panner roja (rose) in other parts of India (particularly North India) for paneer in Hindi means cottage cheese. Now that would be very weird.
This fragrant rose is commonly used to make Gulkand ( a sweet rose petal preserve and home remedy of circulatory problems) and Rose water (paneer) thereby earning its name. Gulkand is more Arabic than Indian with it sweet exotic flavour and is consumed as a digestive.
I remember my mom feeding me gulkand as a kid but I never really liked it. But back then, I never really liked anything sweet. But I loved to eat the petals. I would pluck them secretly from the flower in my hair pretending that I was eating only the petals that were falling off. Oddly enough, they tasted slightly bitter and made my mouth feel weird. But I would go back for more. Then, I saw my mother eat some too. She shrugged nonchalantly and said “They are good for your heart”. And when I looked suspicious she would say “That is why they put them in Gulkand” and smile sheepishly. Even today, I reach to pluck petals of Indian roses to eat them. However, I stop myself thinking about all the pesticides and fertilizers that would have been used on them at commercial farms.
Paneer roses bridal set – Process
After a long time, I made a bridal flower jewelry set in Light pink for an Indian Bride in France. She wanted me to create roses to match her pink saree which had an odd pink hue. During our discussions, the need to have a subtle shimmer on the roses also came up. however, there was no way it was commercially available. So I decided to dye off white mulberry roses. (40mm ones found here)
This was easier said than done. The flowers were either too dark or too light. They either had too much shimmer (alarmingly close to glitter) or they were dull and floppy. I had to change my approach. I decided to hand paint each flower after working out their size and placement in the piece.
The color selection process took almost one day. I finally settled on a combination of crimson, white, lilac and copper. the painting took another 2 days as I had to get every nook and cranny in multiple coats. The resulting flowers were reminiscent of the paneer rose color with a little bit of coral in them. Thereby the name for the set, even when the flowers that I used were bud roses. The flowers have a beautiful sheen and the photographs do no justice to them.
Paneer roses bridal set
Apart from the usual bib necklace, earrings, and haath phool, this set also has two hair/head ornaments. One is the half matha patti (for right side of the head) and the is a Jhoomar. The bride wanted an elaborate Jhoomar with five plus flowers but I had got my hands burnt during my previous experience of making Gota Jhoomar. I applied the lesson that I learnt there and made it smaller and sweeter. It is about 4″ long ad 3″ wide. I had to redo it a couple of times to get the balance right. But I was quite happy with it in the end. Here is the picture of the full set with flowers of variosu sizes.
The pretty paneer roses bridal set finally reached Paris. The bride is quite happy with it. I hope that it suits her and that she has a beautiful wedding.
Even it took so many hours, I was happy to work on a bridal set after a long time. Plus the end result was totally worth the effort. What do you think? I hope you found it interesting
I hope you found it interesting