Ghadayi’ is the process of making the skeleton or framework of the jewelry piece. Firstly, thin gold strips are prepared from a rolling machine. These are cut, coiled, shaped according to the design chosen by (or given to) the karigar using small tweezers and fine tools.
These are placed or ‘set’ on a wax board to exactly replicate the design and then soldered together to form one solid piece such as an earring or a pendant. The black residue on the piece after the soldering process is cleaned using mild chemicals and then dried. Lac is heated and poured into the creeks, which are supposed to hold the gems.
Gold strips being soldered together to form one solid piece
Gold strip being shaped according to the design
Soldered strips being set on wax board to exactly replicate the design
The pendant framework, finally taking the shape of the intended design
Lac being heated and poured into the creeks, which are supposed to hold the gems
‘Khudayi’ is the process of engraving or etching the pattern on the front or back (or both) of the jewelry piece. Though most of the motifs are floral or inspired by nature, some are geometric as well.
Exquisite engraving requires a steady hand, high precision and immense concentration.
‘Meenakari’ is the technique of decorating the jewelry with enamel. It is an intricate and laborious process. Mostly red, green, blue and white are used. Combination of these with the color of gold is called ‘Panchranga’. These colors are applied with thin needles or spokes in the engraved pattern.
The jewelry piece has to be fired as many times as the number of colors used. Firing could be done in an electric kiln or on the coils of the domestic heater using a thin iron mesh. This fuses the color to the gold. Once all the colors are filled in and fired, the piece is scrubbed with a filer to enhance the gold outline of the pattern. Then this is boiled with a mild acid for sheen and sent to the next karigar for stone-setting.
Stones being heated & placed on lac
24 ct Gold foil made soft & malleable by hammering
‘Jadayi’ is the process of gem setting by inserting a gold foil between the stones and their mount. Diamond, sapphire, emerald and ruby are the stones commonly used.
To provide depth and refraction, a piece of silver foil is placed under the stones, making them gleam.
These are heated and placed on the lac, after which, pieces of 24 carat gold foil (made soft and malleable by hammering) are set into the sides of the gemstones till they grip on tightly.