This ornament is close to my heart as this is the first piece of jewellery that I bought (beginning of my junk jewellery journey, though this does not exactly fall into the “junk” category”). This is made of gold plated silver. I bought this hand crafted jewellery from a Rajasthani store that set up exhibition in Hyderabad a couple of years ago.
About Minakari Art:
Enamelling or minakari is the art of colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design. Gold has been used traditionally for minakari jewelry as it holds the enamel better, lasts longer and its lustre brings out the colors of the enamels. Silver, is a later introduction.
Minakari is a hereditary craft and it is rare that outsiders are allowed to acquire any knowledge of this craft. The process followed is long drawn and complex in which a single piece of mina may pass through many expert hands before being completed.The minakars engrave the surface of the metal with intricate designs using a metal stylus which is then filled in with colours. The mina is then placed in a furnace where the colours fuse and harden to become one with the surface. Thereafter its gently rubbed with a file and the mina is then cleaned with a mixture of lemon and tamarind that helps to highlight the lustre of each colour. Enamel colours are metal oxides mixed with a tint of finely powdered glass where the oxide content controls the shade obtained. Before the enamel is applied, the surface of the ornament is carefully cleaned. In their raw form these mixtures do not always show their true colours, which emerge only when they are fired in the kiln. The average firing temperature is about 850 degrees Celsius.
Delicate floral designs with imaginative blend of traditional patterns and colors give Minakari jewellery a rich distinctive look.