This fascinating craft of enamelling is believed to have been invented during the Sasanian Empire in Persia (224-651 CE). In Persian the word Mina means heavenly colours and is the most likely origin of the word Meena, for enamel in Hindi.
Travelling with the Mongols to many parts of Asia, the craft made its way to India during the Mughal reign. Raja Sawai Jai Singh, a connoisseur, invited Meenakars from Lahore to settle and develop the craft in Jaipur. This led to Rajasthan emerging as a centre for Meenakari trade in India.
Emperor Akbar is even said to have had a special department in his court for Meenakari.
Meenakari uses various metals as base for colourful enamel work on engraved sections. The bright enamel colours are obtained from metal oxides mixed with a tint of finely powdered glass where the oxide content controls the shade.