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My journey exploring the jewelry of India


#1

I found that she was creative and when I complimented her on her
paintings she also showed some costume jewellery that she made.

I was totally in awe because those things I have seen only in
emporiums and in big stores.

I asked her if she teaches how to make jewellery and she said no. I
told you that in India they dont share

I returned disappointed for two reasons. One because she said that
she did not teach. The other because I could not afford to buy that
piece of jewellery. It was priced exorbitant.

Those gemstones and findings were haunting me.

Being research oriented, I started searching the internet. Did not
know where to start!

First I was searching for sterling silver findings (I know now that
the name is findings, earlier I did not know. There are so many
jewellery jargons that you need to know before learning to make
jewellery) I found so many shops in Jaipur that sells that. The
website of the seller was colorful and I found that the bead caps
(again I did not know that they were called bead caps and seed
beads) my friend had used in her jewellery, was there in the shop!

I was so thrilled. My journey started there. For more than a year I
spent time reading about jewellery and the business. Not a clue
where to buy what.

More research led me to shops situated in my city where they sell
beads etc and I started making fashion jewellery. I also gave it to
one of my friend who owns a shop. The very day evening she called me
and said that one of my piece was sold and it was a customer who
does not buy that easily. I was thrilled! Not very long I could
continue in the fashion jewellery.

I did not want to continue in fashion jewellery because the trend
changes so fast and the materials that you stock becomes obsolete
quickly.

And you spend a lot in buying them. So I wanted to move into silver
jewellery making. Again a search and a quest! Again a year passed in
researching for

One of my another friend runs a shop. Since she said that she
designs and makes all the jewellery, I asked her if she can teach.
She was skeptical and said that I have to work in heat and all that
and its difficult. It was her way of telling ‘No’.

Then I read about the courses in Mumbai and went there and learned
both basics of manufacturing in silver and enamelling. Travelling to
a new city, staying in a shared accommodation with unknown people,
leaving your kid at home in your native, spending a lot, going
through lots of doubts whether you are going in the right direction
all together was frustrating. But then learning the art of jewellery
was the only solace that I had. The course was not so intensive but
I learnt that jewellery making has to be learnt in years and not in
months!

To top it all, there is a bazaar in Mumbai where you find all the
jewellery findings and gemstones at a wholesale price!. My friend
took me there and we were exploring shops(not the gemstone ones) and
it was getting late. She then said let us go to the wholesale
gemsstone place. She insisted but I told her that its getting late
and let us go home. We were travelling back in taxi and her husband
called panicky and asked where we were. We said we are travelling
back to the city. He then told that the place that we were supposed
to visit to buy the stones, was just bombed! We were away from
danger just 20 mins! The timing! if we had gone we would have also
been in that exact location!

We both were in a shock and the magnitude of the situation hit me
only when I saw the place where the bomb blasted and the injured
people on the TV.

I told my friend that God has better plans for me. I think he wants
me to do something and that was the reason we escaped. More than
something happening to me, I was scared for my friend because she
has come to help me buy

Today I am a bit confident that I can make jewellery in both silver
and gold. But again when I see Orchid gallery I get my doubts. Miles
to go.

I want women who are interested to make jewellery to learn easily
and not run around like me. So I have started to teach basics of
jewellery making.

Thanks.
Regards,
Kavitha Balakrishnan.


#2

What a frightening story, Kavitha! It certainly illustrates how
dangerous some places can be, and how fortunate some of us are to
live where such violence is less prevalent.

Please continue on your quest to learn jewelry making! Through your
sharing of photos of many beautiful pieces, andthe meanings behind
them, it’s evident that you live in a culture that values personal
adornment. I think many western women could be envious of such showy
traditions.

Linda in central FL where the coyotes are having a party out on the
newly mowed hayfield.