Do You Know Where Gajra Jewellery Art Originates From And Its Manufacturing Processes?
Gajra Art / Jewellery is truly inspired by the culture and traditions of the Kutch community in the State of Gujarat. Born from the need to defend themselves in the forests from the wild, the jewellery pieces were curated to form the self-defence tools for the women about 250 years ago. From there, a lot of thought and science has been put into this form of Jewellery Art, where today they have been designed to have a healing effect on the person who wears them. The silver necklace, hand, leg and even the rings worn on the fingers are designed to include the specific ridges with the twists and bends that hit the right acupressure points on the bodies.
This traditional Indian art form has been passed down to generations and the jewellery pieces are crafted for all genders and age groups. One such family who is traditionally crafting this art form for more than 4 generations is the Pomal family. I was fortunate to interact with Mr. Mukesh Pomal, who is not only pursuing this art form but also representing the culture on a national level at the Craft Pavilion organized by Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI), at India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) in August 2019 hosted in Mumbai.
The most fascinating thing about this jewellery art is that it is untouched by heat, soldering, or any extensive machinery. Simple tools like the tweezers, pliers and customized wooden pieces are used to create the twirls, twists, and bends for the different jewellery types.
Here is how these simple tools are used to create these artistic jewellery pieces:
- It starts from a simple long silver wire, the width of each wire is dependent on the type of jewellery and the weight desired.
- The property of metal to be easily malleable comes into play and we are able to twist and shape the jewellery as desired with the minimal basic tools.
- There are a variety of jewellery including the Bangles, Necklaces, Finger and Toe Rings, Leg jewellery like the Payals and Kadas; curated by this form of the process but they all have a symmetry in their structure.
- The hooks and loops in the jewellery are also created from the same wire to lock the jewellery in place. Just one single wire is used to complete the jewellery piece.
Mr. Pomal told me that each piece of jewellery would take about 5-7 days in his father and grandfather’s time but newer and modern technologies have enabled them to create these in just one day.
The jewellery pieces are not limited to the women and girls in the Kutch traditions and therefore there is a variety of jewellery available for men as well as young boys. Once the boys hit puberty, they start adorning a specific kind of necklace that is part of their customs. During the wedding, the men wear a different necklace which becomes a piece of wedding jewellery for married men.
The traditional jewellery pieces were quite heavy in weight ranging from approx 250 gms to 2 kgs and are bought either for their aesthetic appeal or as an investment as they can be sometimes expensive. These jewellery pieces can also be customized for specific client requirements.
About GJSCI: Gem & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) is the nodal entity for skill development of the Indian Gems & Jewellery industry. It covers skilling under all the areas and functions of the industry such as diamond processing, colored gemstone processing, jewellery manufacturing, wholesale, retail and exports.