|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 18, Tuesday October 26, 2004|
Of laces and lasses
The cumbersome task of lace hunting, through endless stuffy shops in the blazing Ramadan heat could be anybody's nightmare. However, many women willingly brave the heat, the noise, the monotonous snail-pace traffic of Dhaka city to hunt for that pretty piece of lace that could change the face of their Eid attire. Lace, beads, or sequin hunting can be a smoother, and certainly even an enjoyable process if we knew where to look, and what to ask for.
Rajani Store (located at 40, Chadni Chawk Market, 2nd floor, Building No. 1.) is the oldest lace shop in Chadni Chawk, with a very good range of sequins, beads and lace that caters to all tastes. This Eid, antique, kundan, and sequins (or rather, chumki) seem to be the more popular choices. There is a whole array of different kinds of sequins that are available, and these are loosely sold in jars.
Devdas Chumki: This sequin is a specialty of this store. It is shinier in quality than other sequins, and some of the more appealing colours include pearl white, pale two-tones, grey, pink, and so on. 12.5 grams or a 'tola', as the shopkeepers term it, would cost Tk 100.
Rambo Chumki: These are shaded sequins, and they come in attractive colours such as mauve, bronze, sea-green and oyster pink. Rambo sequins come in both pastel and bright colours, and the latter come in eye-catching shades of moss green, royal blue and deep purple. These are Tk 15 per tola.
Iron Chumki: These sequins come in different shapes, some of which include star, flower, geometric, and of course, the regular round ones. It is called Iron chumki because you can actually iron it onto your clothes and it will stick. Matte golden, silver and bronze are some of the shades that may be found. Other colours are available as well. Iron chumkis are Tk 200 per tola.
Dollar Chumki: Remember Zeenat Aman, spruced up like an Arabian Nights princess, wearing a headscarf with golden coin-shaped sequins dangling from the edge? That would be the Dollar chumki, flat, round, and of all sizes. The largest would be the size of a Tk 1 coin, and these are Tk 1 per piece as well!
Iron stones: Alongside sequins, there are stones such as the Iron stones, which can be added to your sarees to create that subtle, desirable shine. Like Iron Chumki, pressing it on the cloth with your ironing machine makes it stick. Yet again, these have a wide range of different colours, orange, shades of blue and green, white, silver, and golden to name a few. These come in all sizes, and the cost ranges from Tk 40 - Tk 100 for a hundred of these stones.
Kundan: There's the regular, opaque kind, which look quite fetching on a lot of clothes, especially blouses, and a hundred of these Kundan stones will cost Tk 20. Then there's Cutting Kundan, another specialty of Rajani Store. These are basically cut kundan, which make them shinier, and they have some lovely colours one can choose from. These include aquamarine blue, pale emerald green, bronze-ash, coffee, lemon, lavender, light gold, and tiger shade. Cutting Kundan also come in various shapes, such as square, round, Marquis (eye-shaped), tear-drop (better known as Prodip to shopkeepers), rectangle, barfi, and centre holes (round with a tiny hole at the centre). Some are extremely small, and come in the size of bindis. Both kinds of kundan can be stuck with fabric glue, available at these lace shops. Cutting Kundan will cost Tk 50 - 200 for a hundred pieces.
Beads: Beads may be found in abundance at all lace shops. You can get the regular round kind, which are found in all kinds of attractive festive, warm and / or pale colours; you can opt for pipe beads and half pipes (shorter than pipe beads) as well. All beads are Tk 10 per tola.
Lace: A wide range of lace may be found at Rajani and all other lace stores at Chadni Chawk. Some are exclusively for sarees (such as some of the netted sequin lace, which seem to be quite popular these days) while others are sold loosely. These come in both matte as well as shiny gold threadwork and sequins. Some netted lace have a combination of sequin and kundan, others have zardosi work on them, and yet some more have a combination of all three. The single zardosi lace comes in two colours, golden and silver, and include both matte as well as the shiny kind. Sizes vary from thin strips to broad bands. Single zardosi lace are Tk 30 -Tk 250 per yard.
Chumki lace:These are thin strips, and come in double or single sequin layers. As always, a wide range of shades is present, including two-tones. The double strip costs Tk 35 while the single ones are Tk 6.
Flower saree lace: These have elaborate embroidery work on lace, with flower shapes cut and stitched onto the lace itself. Light colours, such as combinations of pink and blue, light green and beige, and so on may be found. A Flower saree lace costs Tk 900 for 9 metres.
Dopka Applique: These are singular pieces and come in different shapes such as flowers, crescents etc; some are embellished with kundan. This will cost you Tk 10 - Tk 15 per piece.
Tissue Ribbon (these are all two-tones and have a glazed look. Tissue Ribbon is usually used for wedding purposes, but can also be used on clothing as well. Four sizes are available, quarter, half, 1 and 2 inches. The price ranges from Tk 10 to Tk 40).
Tissue Lace: These are quite lovely to look at. Embroidery threadwork is done on lace and have flowers and leaves motif; the chosen patterns and the combination of matte colours such as light lemon and peach flowers, or light magenta and greenish blue flowers with paste green leaves and vines, lends it a Victorian look. The price ranges from Tk 20 - Tk 45.
As if that wasn't all the lace in the world you'd ever need, you will find more kinds in the market, and these include: Chemical / Synthetic lace, Antique Chumki (double-lined and cut in wave-like strips), Joined lace (unlike other kinds of lace, these are used in the middle of clothes, not on the edges), Tissue Par / Border lace (some include zari par), Zigzag lace (comes in all colours, and in zari such as silver and matte gold; costs Tk 2 - Tk 4), Cotton lace (1 and 2 inches in width; Tk 5 - Tk 30), Zari lace (comes in only three colours, silver, golden, and matte golden. Tk 10 - Tk 30), Zari Beni / Braided lace (Tk 2 - Tk 5), Jhallor or Tassel lace (some are encrusted with sea shells, others have beadwork on them; Tk 10 - Tk 40), Gota (these are more traditional, used on batuas, dupattas, sarees and lehengas; they are 1 and 2 inches in width and cost Tk 40 - Tk 60).
If you are looking for silver buttons and jhumkas to wear with your kurtas, kameezes or fatuas, these may also be found at lace stores in Chadni Chawk. Tiny trinkets in antique, bronze, white silver, matte gold and oxidized are also sold loosely in jars; these are usually attached to the ends of dupattas and so on. Prices of jhumkas will range from Tk 2 to Tk 50 per peice, depending on the size. There are other stores that you can browse through, such as Bhai Bhai and Mammi at Chadni Chawk, or AK. Traders and Jahangir and Brothers at Gawsia.
Armed with all this information, lace hunting could certainly turn out to not only be a pleasant experience, but a rewarding one as well. The final outcome for your most becoming ensemble (thanks to all those pretty sequins and lace), appreciative glances, compliments and the like, would be worth all the pain.
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