Friday, May 8, 2009

Indian Treasure

It's been a whole month! I spend a vacation in India and now I'm back in Wyoming and it's pouring rain.... it was 110 F a few days ago!

Thank you for your nice messages in the meanwhile Kristin, Kathleen, Susana and others! I have to see what you've created within the month!

The vacay was wonderful, although it was a bit too hot for my liking, but what wouldn't you do for the family, right.
Oh, an explanation would be helpful - I didn't write about myself much in this blog yet: my husband is from India and that is also where we got married (twice :))) - once as a civil ceremony and a few years later in a proper grand Hindu ceremony), so logically we take regular trips to see our family.

So it hasn't been all sightseeing and travel, it was mainly about spending time together, eating loads of homemade food and sleeeeeping!
But this time I made a point of searching for some things that can be used for unusual jewellery pieces. And as I am still recovering from my post-travel cough and jet lag and back-to-work syndrome, I'm not sure when I will start playing with all those wonderful things I brought with me, but I can at least share what they are - and belive me, it IS an Indian Treasure!

If you are interested in the traveling itself, please see our photo website on - this is where all the pictures will be (it will take a while to upload and describe this trip, but you can see the previous trips and our wedding there too).

Here are some wonderful old coins, most of them not valid anymore, all lost and again fetched from the waters of the holy waters of Ganges river (not by me).
BTW - Doesn't it sound even more interesting adding such a description instead of just writing 'old coins'? They are really fished from the Ganges and sold by very poor people in Haridwar - one of the seven Hindu holy cities.

Here are two amazing stone necklaces that I found in Musoorie, a town in Himalayas - amethyst and carnelian - the amethyst one is definitely my favourite, it is an antique row of graduate amethyst stones cut in China.

This is Rudraksh - a holy nut-bead that you might have seen wearing Indian sadhus (the holy men) and Shiva devotess. These beads have actually healing properties and are supposed to help improve the health of their wearer.
I have 3 different sizes of the beads, all purchased in Haridwar.

Some soft wire finished necklaces, just ready to get pendants on. These (and more elaborate variations) are used a lot in India for costume jewellery.

Detail of the wire necklaces:

Here come the tools - I have a brand new ring mandrel and bracelet mandrel!

Here is a sheet of copper and cutters for it, pin wise and a small-sized hammer.

Sheet of brass and copper and brass chain (needs some cleaning, but the shape is so cute).

I'm not sure what this is called - it's a mold for metal (surely it can be used for a million other things, even with art clay or polymer clay), the guy whose workshop I raided explained, that you use a clay or playdough, place it on a metal sheet, place this mold on the other side of the metal sheet and keep banging with mallet or hammer on the dough which will push the metal into the mold and eventually you will get a plastic image of the mold in the metal sheet (it will be raised). I'm not sure if I will be able to recreate his words... but I will definitely try!

The last thing I have are these metal stamps, made on order - just a few letter to start with to see how it works for me. I can always get some more - I'm sure this guy will remember me, I must have been the first foreigner in his workshop ever...
Can you see the OHM? There is also a lotus flower and letters that spell LOVE.... I am quite stroke by this find.
You can find all sorts of things in India, only if you speak Hindi though. It usually starts with asking in a jewellery shop (this is in our town Pune, Maharashtra):
"Do you sell the parts? Do you sell gemstones?"
"You have to go to this and this shop and ask for Amit. He will know."
"Hi Amit, this person from this shop is sending me. He says that you sell xxx."
"I don't, but if you go to this and this shop, ask for Jasmeet and tell him I sent you."
"Hi Jasmeet, Amit sent me. Do you sell xxx?"
"Aaah, I know what you mean. You actually have to go to Sanjay's worshop and talk to him."
"Hi Sanjay, Jasmeet sent me......."
-Most of the streets in the market area don't have manes, so to find the shop or workshop, you have to get directions like 'two blocks straight, when you see Ahmed's paper shop turn to the right and ask for Venkat's workshop'.
We have discovered a tiny workshop on top of another workshop in the maze of the tightest little streets... if we didn't make all the acquaintances, we would never in the world have found it. Let's say that the entrance within the other workshop only looked like a set of shelves on the wall - that small and tight the staircase was.
What an adventure!