A display of superior craft skill, the silver jewelry of Kutch is more than just ornamentation. They serve as markers used to differentiate various tribes of the region. Their simplified forms and elaborate textures employ techniques of high precision. Each piece of jewelry has a definitive purpose and is worn as per the age, handed down by the ancestors as heirloom wealth.
Bhuj’s silver work includes lifestyle products like dining sets, tea pots, cups, cutlery, bowls to ‘Jhulas’ (in-door swing set), candle stands, ‘Jhumars’ (chandeliers) and furniture apart from the traditional jewelry made for the numerous local tribal communities. The jewelry made is used differently by different tribes.
Once the marriage is fixed, the girl escorted by womenfolk singing folk songs is taken to the silversmiths’, where she picks and chooses ornaments from a plethora of options. In Jobat, the craftsmen still continue the craft of making tribal jewelry for Bhils and Bhilalas.
The jewelry is made out of silver and white metal these days and adorned by the tribal during festivities. The men too are fond of jewelry and are seen wearing bracelets, rings and ‘Kadas’. Various types of earrings, chains, chokers, bangles, anklets, toe-rings and hair ornaments are crafted with this regional silver jewelry craft.
Locally known as ‘Bharai kaam’, Dhokra is the art of sculpting brass using the ancient technique of lost – wax casting. Practiced in West Bengal, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, this metal craft finds different forms of expressions in its pure folk motifs and figures within the different tribes.
The bell metal casting technique is used to make a variety of objects ranging from household items to accessories. It is used to craft figures of elephants, horses, cattle and peacocks, utensils and jewelry.