Lac (Wax) Jewellery
Lac is a resinous substance produced by a female Lac insect. Even though Lac jewellery was originally developed from the city of Bikaner in the Indian state of Rajasthan, this famous traditional handcrafted ethnic jewellery is also made in other cities of Rajasthan including the famous Pink City called Jaipur. Though this type of jewellery is normally referred to as ‘Lac Jewellery’ it is in fact ‘Lac Filled Jewellery’, as Lac or wax is filled in the hollow silver foil piece to give it strength. Among the various items in Lac jewellery, the bangles need a special mention. Bangles made of Lac are of bright colour and glass work done on them makes them more attractive. Rajasthani people believe that Lac bangles bring good omen to those who wear them.
The process of making Lac jewellery is complex and varies from making Lac earrings to Lac Bangles. The many stages when making such highly artistic, elaborate Lac earrings with stylish patterns, embellishment of rhinestones and beads are explained below:
Creation of Design and Mould
The design of the jewellery (earring or necklace) is first drawn and given to the mould maker. A solid brass metal mould is made by etching out the design on top of the mould. A separate mould is made for the front and one for the reverse of the jewellery piece.
Imprinting and Stamping
Once the mould is ready, a thin sheet of silver foil, on which the design is to be transferred is placed over the mould and is hammered gently with a rubber headed mallet. This process is called imprinting and the same process is done for the reverse side of the mould. The two pieces of the imprinted silver foil are then fitted together to form a delicate hollow silver shell.
There are a total of nine main colours that are used during the enamelling process. These are: White, Gold, Pink, Blue Parrot Green, Red, Bottle Green, Turquoise, Orange and Black. Depending upon the desired colour, the whole shell is painted with one of the 9 colours and then placed in a hot cylindrical kiln for the enamel to set permanently.
Prior to filling the silver shell with Lac wax, it is covered with clay mud in order to protect its delicate state. Once the mud gets dried, the shell is placed over hot plate/sand to heat up the clay, making it easy to insert Lac through a needle straw into its hollow silver shell. Once the shell is filled with Lac, it becomes solid and is strong enough to be used as jewellery.
Cleaning and Polishing
Once the Lac filling has settled inside the silver shell, the protective clay mug is washed and cleaned with soap and a gentle brush until the pieces give a lustrous shine. Each piece is then gold polished usually to create outlines and borders, places where the base enamel did not settle. The final finishing is done by touching up where the gold polish and enamel is distorted.
Depending upon the design, Rhinestones are pressed into the silver foil and set in the wax and beads are attached to finish each piece.
Kudan/Polki is one of the oldest arts of jewellery making in India that found great patronage during the Mughal Era in India. The word “Kudan” refers to the type and method used to set stones and gems on a piece of jewellery. Authentic Kudan jewellery is made in 24 carat gold. However pure silver or silver with gold polish is also widely used today to create mesmerising pieces that are relatively low in price.
Kudan Jewellery is not entirely made out of gold or silver. Highly refined gold/silver is used in conjunction with a special material called Lac to create a mould in which stones, crystal or glass are set. Provided below is a detailed look into the entire process of making a single Kundan jewellery piece:
Step 1: The process starts with a goldsmith creating a gold stencil followed by a designer outlining a design on the gold/silver surface and polishing it to make it stand out.
Step 2: Next the engraver lowers those areas of the metal that will take the enamel and pours in enamel colour. The enamel filled surface is then heated up to fuse the enamel with gold/silver thereby evening out the surface.
Step 3: Each individual piece of jewellery with tiny depressions is first made separately out of gold or silver. These pieces are then soldered together to make the whole piece.
Step 4: Lac is then laid into these depressions and once dry, a thin layer of highly refined gold/silver is poured into the depression to cover the Lac. Only then are stones, crystals or glass pushed right in, into the still pliable Kundan.
One significant reasons why Kudan jewellery is still desired by many jewellery lovers is because it was once worn by kings and queens of India, which makes it even more attractive.
Semi-Precious: Silver & Gold Plated Jewellery
At Punjaban Diva, our “Goddess” collection includes classic traditional Indian jewellery with craftsmanship of the 16th Century which gained patronage of the kings and nobility. These often ‘One-Off’ pieces are made using silver and are sometimes gold plated with 18 kt gold. Our “Goddess” jewellery also uses semi precious stones, with the exception of a synthetic diamond like stone called Zirconia.
Note: At Punjaban Diva, our photo editors take utmost care to accurately represent the colour and appearance of all the jewellery and accessories on our website. However, variations in shades inevitably occur due to variations in colour settings of each computer/laptop monitors. In light of that we aim to provide descriptive names for colours and shades present in our jewellery pieces and accessories so as to give you the most accurate idea of each product.
Punjaban Diva makes every effort to ensure all goods dispatched are in excellent condition and well packaged. All of the merchandise sold on our website is imitation, costume, fashion jewellery, unless otherwise clearly stated and will require proper care taking as many pieces are delicate in nature. This guarantee does not cover customer neglect or damage.