Just for a lark, really, this one. Had a few of these cut-garnet hearts lying about among the stone sachets and thought they might be put to good use in a revivalist necklace-earring set that harks...
Just for a lark, really, this one. Had a few of these cut-garnet hearts lying about among the stone sachets and thought they might be put to good use in a revivalist necklace-earring set that harks back to the late-‘80s when Sinthee began to rise as the newest conglomeration of Bengali gold-craft artisans mainly using twisted wire (pak-tar), granulation (reji'r kaaj), and ball-work.The necklace uses all of these three to wondrous effect, but the result is a champion of aporia : you either love it or hate it.
The workmanship involves two elements : the belt sections and the decorative pieces.The former is articulated with tremendous artistry : two v-chains — plain wire and twisted wire –– clubbed together on two sides framing a march of filigree hearts. Divided into four segments, of note is the way the chains are cut and capped with chhela topis to accommodate the side- and centre-pieces while following their respective contours. The rising rows of ball and satkarai-phul interpersed with plain and twisted-wire make the central heart a brilliant showcase of reji-paktar open-work and the roundel on top follows the idiom.
The kalka-katai edging at the bottom is lavish and culminates in a polished half-jhumka with an oversized ball-karai clapper. The sidepieces adhere to the form and features of the central heart but are less detailed, though a quartet of ringed satkarai flowers takes a bow on the inner flank of each. No half-jhumkas here, just a trefoil ball finial to soften the tips of the hearts.
Note how the terminal-ends are triangulated canvases of myriad motifs from different parts of the necklace while the earrings are nothing but the centrepiece scaled down, though without any garnet in the pashas.
Ah! – the garnets. You’ll find the faceted red hearts within the heart of each heart, and they’re the reason for that revealing flush on the rich yellow guinea-gold of the necklace and earrings.
This isn’t usual –– for garnets in fancy shapes to be set into jewels made the traditional Bengali way. But love isn’t a very usual thing, especially not in a time when our homes have become refugiums and our hearts homes to fears we’ve scarcely known before. If the garnets enspirit the jewels and the jewels enspirit us, well and good. And if they beautify us both, even better.
We may well claim most of our handcrafted fine gold ornaments to be mithridates of a kind, but the sweet hearts of this one put it clearly in front of any other of that ilk.