Do you know that the city of Cuttack in Odisha is called the ‘Silver City’? In fact, Cuttack is famous not only in India but all over the world for silver jewellery. Silver jewelery made in this city is not common, but special workmanship is done in making them. Very finely designed designs are made from silver wires, which is called ‘silver filigree’.
This art is called ‘Tarakasi’ in the local language. Just as there are meenakari and kundan designs in the jewelery, in the same way very beautiful and attractive jewelery is made from the fine designs of fine silver wires. This art is called ‘Tarakasi’ or ‘Tarakashi’. It is said that when this art was started in Odisha during the Mughal rule. Not only ornaments but also utensils and decoration items are prepared from it.
how is filigree
First of all, ordinary silver bricks or biscuits are bought. Then it is melted and made into silver wire based on different designs. Artisans make these wires finer so that they can be used in the design of jewellery, utensils or other artwork. Some tools are used by artisans to make ornaments from these stars. Most of this work is done by hand. Especially that the work of making jewelery with silver wires is done by hand. Different dies are used to shape the wires.
This whole process takes a lot of time and effort. Sometimes two or three craftsmen work on a small design. So that when that thing is ready, there will be no scope for any question. Fire and heat are needed for this work. Most of the artisans work in their own small workshops or shops. Therefore, it is their endeavor that maximum work of making filigree should be done in the winter season. Because in Odisha it seems impossible to do this work in summer.
After the jewelery or artefacts are ready, they are thoroughly cleaned, washed and then polished on it. In Filigree, you can buy a wide variety of utensils and decorations ranging from ear, neck, hand and foot ornaments. There used to be a time when artisans did not even have time to breathe because they used to get so many orders. But due to the increasing demand for artificial jewelery in modern times and the changing trends every day, this unique star of Odisha has started getting limited somewhere.
From dance to wedding
It is said that the ornaments of Odissi dancers are made of filigree. According to Odia culture in ancient times, the use of vermilion donation prepared by Tarakasi was mandatory in marriage. At the same time, no bride’s makeup in Odisha is complete without taraksi bichiya and anklets. Also, Tarakasi art is used in various pandals during Durga Puja in Cuttack. The ornaments of Maa Durga are also made by Tarakasi which are very attractive.
Hundreds of families in Cuttack get employment from Taraksi itself. However, with the passage of time the design and demand for jewelery has changed a lot. In today’s era, where the trend of people towards new types of jewelry has increased. At the same time, the trend of foreigners is moving towards Indian crafts. Today many small and big startups are selling silver filigree jewelry in other countries.
Nisha Agarwal, co-founder of Silver Linings, says that she is constantly getting orders not only from Indian customers but also from abroad. Nisha, an MBA graduate, says that her family has been associated with filigree work for many years. “However, I never paid much attention to it. I completed my studies and worked in companies like Infosys. But once I was in Cuttack, a craftsman told me that he wanted his son to do MBA and work in a big AC office,” she said.
When Nisha asked him the reason, he said that filigree work hardly costs a month while he works hard day and night. At the same time, those working in AC in companies get much more salary. Nisha says, “He was absolutely right. The amount of hard work you put into this craft is not that much earning. Because artisans do not have such platforms where their work can reach the country and the world. Then I felt that there is a need to take filigree not just to other parts of India but to every part of the world.”
The demand for taraksi is increasing in foreign countries:
From the year 2016, he started his startup and promoted Taraksi not only in India but globally. His focus is on connecting the youth with this craft. He said, “We have decided to launch it on the online platform due to the declining demand for Taraksi for some time now. There is a need to keep pace with the changing times in every field, so why lag behind in silver filigree? We are bringing traditional jewelery to the masses along with modern jewelery like bracelets, anklets and nose pins.”
Nisha says that at present she is getting orders from countries like America, Canada, Australia. Especially from such countries where there are dance schools and in these Indian dance art Odissi is also taught. She is getting very good response for Odissi Dance Jewellery. “Odissi dance form is very famous. People in other countries also practice it, but till now they did not have any means so that they could get the special filigree jewelry to be worn during this. But now we are providing this jewelery to them online,” he said.
Apart from this, they are also getting retail orders from abroad. Nisha told that gradually their orders are increasing and now they have started getting a lot of bulk orders as well. Johnathan, London, who orders jewelery from Silver Linings, says he had bought some items for Christmas and that he and his wife loved all the jewellery. At the same time, Arithra of America had ordered armbands for dance from him and she says that when she got armbands, they were more beautiful than pictures.
Silver filigree is as heavy as it looks, in reality the jewelry is lighter. Therefore, nowadays this filigree is being done not only in silver but also in gold and platinum. Its appearance is also changing with the changing trends and India can take advantage of this to further its craft.
If you want to buy Tarkasi Jewellery, you can click on https://silverlinings.in/.
editing- G N Jha
Also read: If you want to see ‘Jacob Diamond’, which is counted among the world’s largest diamonds, then come here!
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