This blog post was updated on October 1, 2018.
The large, diverse country of India is known worldwide for its gorgeous handicrafts. Here are my top five recommendations for handmade souvenirs to bring home from your next trip. If all of the Indian art and home goods I’ve inherited from my grandmother and aunts are any indication, what you choose will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Block Print Textiles
India is known for its breathtaking handmade block print textiles. From scarves to bedspreads to tablecloths, block print textiles come in many shapes and colors. Some block print textiles have geometric prints that cover the entire swath of fabric, while others have an ornate border and plain interiors – there is so much beauty in the diversity and craftsmanship of these unique pieces. Well-made block print accessories and linens hold up well to regular use, making them striking, practical souvenirs.
Indian etched brass, whether vintage or new, is one of my favorite things to collect. The vintage pieces have amazing, ornate etchings and rich patina, and the new pieces boast shiny surfaces and crisp, clean designs. Etched brass comes in the form of dishware, serving pieces, vases, and wall hangings (to name a few). These classic pieces mesh well with virtually any type of home décor.
Sterling Silver Jewelry
India is known for its sterling and gemstone jewels. Designs range from ornate (special occasion jewels) to simple (pieces that you could wear everyday). Artisans trained in traditional methods make one-of-a-kind pieces that will “wow” all of your friends back home. Smaller accessories, such as charms and stud earrings, make wonderful gifts.
Some of the most beautiful embroidered textiles I have ever seen hail from India. Embroidered goods can take the form of clothing, thick scarfs, table linens, decorative bed spreads (and more). Embroidered textiles tend to contain rich jewel tones that will add an exotic touch to your home décor. Like the block print textiles, embroidered textiles are easy to fit into your suitcase!
Carved wood bowls, candleholders frames, statues, room screens, and other lovely goods make wonderful, timeless souvenirs. Smaller pieces can slip easily into your bag, and you can always arrange to have larger pieces shipped home.
Photo: Kelly L.