I just happened to see a beautiful silver pendant set bought by my friend- a piece of exquisite craftsmanship from the ‘Tarakashi’ artisans of Cuttack, Odisha.
‘Tarakashi’ or silver filigree jewelry is an age old craft which is supposed to have originated in Egypt and Mesopotamia and then spread to Asia. It is truly a manifestation of brilliant artistic skill which is passed on as a family tradition from one generation to the next. Hundreds of families in Cuttack are engaged in this work of delicate workmanship.
Forms of ‘Tarakashi’ work
Silver filigree forms an important export item from Odisha and some of the forms in which this work has become popular are ornaments, decorative items and utility items.
Jewelry for women is one of the products which is much in demand, with pendant sets, necklaces, toe-rings, brooches, hair pins, bangles, anklets topping the sale lists. Some exclusive silver crafted cufflinks and tie pins are also available for men.
Decorative forms, which include flowers, birds, animals, boats, miniature handbags are also quite popular. Souvenirs made in ‘Tarakashi’ work derive their inspiration from the Konark Temple and Chakra, gods and goddesses or scenes from ancient epics like the Mahabharata and are a great hit with the foreign as well as the Indian tourist.
Traditional utility stuff like vermillion boxes, betel nut boxes, incense containers, spoons to start a new-born’s first solid meal all become exceptionally beautiful as they are crafted in the intricate designs of this technique. ‘Tarakashi’ jewelry is also used to grace the idols of Goddess Durga during the highly celebrated Durga Puja Festival.
Tarakashi Jewelry- Unique Process of its Making
The making of this jewelry doesn’t involve engraving, carving or moulding metal blocks into jewelry; here silver is drawn into finest strands of wire by passing it through a series of holes whose size goes on consecutively decreasing. The skilled hands of the craftsmen transform these fine metal strands into brilliant pieces as they bend and solder the metal into varied shapes and designs with the help of pincer and scissors.
Silver being the most ductile and malleable metal after gold can be drawn into such gossamer shiny threads to form an intricate mesh of glitzy patterns.
How to Order Online
Today, the consumer has access to world markets, thanks to availability of almost all items online. A couple of vendors have their own website which showcases the painstakingly crafted pieces of filigree work. Each product has a unique code which can be conveyed to the relevant vendor through email or phone. Delivery is free of charge for any place in India. Time of delivery varies depending on the destination. Cash can be paid on delivery and hence the customer need not fear about losing his money. A wide range of products are available and one can flaunt the exclusive creations during the various festive occasions celebrated in the country.