Jewellery is an essential part of a woman’s everyday dressing. There are a number of patterns, materials and elements that are used in designing jewellery that appeal to women and become style trends. No matter how expensive your outfit is, without the right accessories, it just seems incomplete. Among the many sorts of jewellery, is the latest trend of terracotta accessories, which are handmade, and closer to nature. With the ethnic and classy designs artisans are transforming the clay into accessories that are hugely popular among women today.
Terracotta literally means ‘cooked earth’ in Italian and its history dates back to the Harappa and Mohenjodaro civilisations. During several archeological excavations, a number of ornaments like earrings, pendants, necklaces, and bangles have been dug out from the remains of these civilisations. Even back then, the terracotta jewellery had intricate designs and were coloured in vibrant hues. The designs were inspired by earthy elements like flowers, leaves, animals and traditional motifs. A number of terracotta beads of various shapes have also been found from these excavations, depicting the sense of style that was prevalent even in that era. As the time progressed, tradition of terracotta jewellery was passed on to the generations, with a number of tribes also using these accessories to create a rustic appeal.
While from a distance turning a piece of clay into an ornament may seem like a simple task, the reality is far from it. It takes tremendous amount of dedication and skill for the artisan to process the terracotta clay and design it into wearable jewellery.
Terracotta Jewellery Making: A Process Driven Art!
For the artisans who love the clay, making terracotta jewellery is a way to channelize their creativity and passion into designing various forms of ornaments that are trending or could be new fashion statements. While terracotta jewellery making is an art, there is also some amount of science involved in designing the jewellery which requires both time and skill.
To start with, the clay is filtered to remove the dust particles that may be present. After the filtering, the clay is kneaded well to obtain the right texture and remove air from the clay. The next step is to mould the clay into a desired shape. Shaping the clay requires finesse, and the artisans use various types of knives to cut and model the piece to perfection, especially along the edges. While the clay is still wet, it is easy to use patterned moulds and tools to carve out intricate designs on the moulded structure.
After the patterns and designs are carved on to the clay, it is then kept for baking, which may take place in a kiln or under the sun, depending upon the type of clay used. Baking the terracotta clay is also an interesting part of the process. When the clay is fired it gets a brick red colour, however baking the clay under anaerobic conditions could turn the jewellery black in colour, which by itself looks beautiful too. You can even experiment baking terracotta jewellery at home in an iron pan covered with saw dust. The secret here is to get the right temperature, as baking under lower temperatures could result in the clay not drying completely, while baking under higher temperatures than required could cause the jewellery piece to crack or break. If you are baking the clay under sun, it may take you about 3 days until it has completely dried up; however if you are using a kiln or the gas using the saw dust method, it could anywhere between 5 and 6 hours for the clay to be completely baked.
After baking the clay, the artisans use various types of colours, to paint and finish the ornaments, turning them into beautiful sets that women love to flaunt. Various types of paints are used to decorate the jewellery, using the base that bring out the right texture and finish on the terracotta clay. In fact, some pieces are left to the natural brick red and black shade too, which has its own charm and beauty. Glazing the terracotta pieces adds to the sturdiness of the ornament and is hence an additional process that most artisans do to make the ornament stronger.
Terracotta: A Must-Have Fashion Basic!
Terracotta jewellery today is one of the most popular accessories you can own to make your own style statement. The patterns in terracotta jewellery range from big beads to painted faces, to various textures. From the traditional jhumkas to geometric earrings, there is something for everyone in the terracotta jewellery segment. Terracotta jewellery can be styled with both indian and western wear. The traditional designs are ideal for special occasions and functions when paired with sarees and anarkalis, while the more contemporary ones go well with western outfits.
So, now that you know what goes into making that terracotta jewellery, you can now take pride in your terracotta jewellery collection and yes, without a doubt indulge and buy more!