ARSI - Thumb mirror ring - Invention or truth?

ARSI - The mirror ring of the right thumb

The round mirror ring of the right thumb has a small mirror in its center, usually round but sometimes it can also be heart-shaped.

When worn on the right thumb it is traditionally called ARSI in the northern regions of India. Although this is originally a Muslim ornament, like other forms of Mughal (Mughal) jewelry , it was accepted by Hindu women and is still widely used by both Muslims and Hindus.

Ari - Right thumb ring with mendi

This type of ring has been part of the Mughal tradition for more than three hundred years, as attested by visitors to the court of the same name. One of these was Niccolao Manucci, a Venetian traveler who spent sixty years (1656 to 1717) of his life in India and died near Bombay.

A doctor and part-time soldier, he personally witnessed events in the reigns of Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Bahadur Shah and Farrukhsiyar.

ARSI right thumb ring - DEVIDAS model

On many occasions he was able to observe court life up close and was even admitted to the "women's quarters to administer medical treatment". In his first-hand account, "Storia do Mogor" (1653-1708), an extremely valuable storehouse of information, he wrote: "I have not relied on the knowledge of others; and I have not spoken of anything that I have not seen" .

She gives us a vivid description of the jewels of court women , including the following: "On the fingers [of the women of the seraglio] there are rings , and on the right thumb there is always a ring, where, instead of a stone, it is mounted a small round mirror , with pearls around it. They use this mirror to look at themselves, an act they are very fond of, at all times".

IRIS model right thumb ring

What are the traditional shapes of the ARSI thumb ring?

Arsi can take on many variations. It can be made of gold , silver , copper or brass , with the mirror surrounded by precious stones , colored glass units with cabochon-treated or enamelled sheets, or it can be entirely made of metal, without stones.

ARSI - Right thumb mirror ring

In North Indian women it is used as a hand ornament, and is called hathphul ( hand flower ). It is worn on the right thumb and is a set of five rings, one for each finger, joined by chains and connected with a chain on the wrist.

Do you have any ARSI rings with mirror?

Naturally! We are passionate about oriental craftsmanship, we can't do without it.

The ring with mirror also pushed us to create earrings inspired by the shape of the Arsi ring and to create a small series using our circles of life and soloTe rings which can be found here

Handcrafted mirror ring The world of WIt


Bala Krishnan, UR, & MS Kumar, Dance of the Peacock: Jewelery Traditions of India , India Book House Ltd, 1999.

Stronge, S., N. Smith & JC Harle, A Golden Treasury: Jewelery from the Indian Subcontinent , Victoria & Albert Museum/Mapin 1988.