Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 39, Tuesday, April 5, 2005

 

 

 

 

The aura of Silver

Who can resist the aura of this moon-polished precious metal? Silver is timeless in its appeal, and could be said to compliment the Bengali woman as much, if not more, as gold. Unlike the latter, silver jewellery is versatile. Whether you embellish your Pohela Boishakh saree or kameez with dangling 'jhumkas' or a filigree necklace, or pair up a funky locket and a handful of bangles with jeans and a fatua, you are no doubt creating your own fashion statement.

The "In" thing
Since 1984, silver jewellery has fast gained in popularity, and thanks to the likes of Aarong, it is back with a vengeance in the fashion milieu. Aarong is one brand name that houses some of the most exquisite of designs in silver and which they claim get sold rapidly. Their oxidised range that comes in both light and deeper finishes is very popular; that isn't to say that white silver falls short in terms of being in demand. Aarong has a collection of silver with Meena work that is dwindling fast due to its immense popularity. Silver with stonework includes both the transparent kind, such as crystals and AD stones, as well as opaque ones

such as coloured sandstone, 'Probal', Black Onyx, and Tiger Eye amongst others. A combination of silver with pearls is also available. Faiza Rahman of Aarong mentions that their traditional line has always been as popular as their newer, more modern range, which follows International trends. Trinkets, toe rings, dainty anklets, chunky lockets and silver bracelets attract younger girls, while older women are inclined towards the slightly heavier sets on display. At the end of the day, Aarong's entire collection of silver jewellery never seems to have a scarcity of clientele, namely due to their tasteful and attractive designs. On the occasion of Pohela Boishakh, the fashion house is highlighting a new line of traditional silver jewellery that includes 'jhumka', 'tikli,' key rings, hair pins etc, and which is certainly check-out worthy.

An artisan's craft
Tangail has its hidden charms--whether it is the allure of moonlit nights, its sea of glittering fireflies over the expanse of paddy fields, or its gorgeous handloom sarees. Not many are aware though of the fact that the district has its own group of dedicated artisans producing exquisite silver jewellery, and which happens to be a traditional trade that dates back to their forefathers. The silver workshops are based in Kagmari (near the city) and Pathrail, both locales within Tangail, and the raw silver is sourced from Dhaka as well as India. Tangail in fact, is the largest supplier of silver jewellery for fashion houses such as Mayasir, Aarong, and Aranya.

Also, the biggest producer of silver jewellery in the country is a village called Bhakurta near Savar, where over three thousand workers are employed. The village supplies silver products in masses to different districts of the country, including Taati Bazaar of Old Town, which in turn supplies shops all over Dhaka (with the exception of most shops at Gausia Market; these get their silver jewellery directly from Bhakurta).

The artisans are dependent on traders when it comes to conceiving designs. The latter (for instance shopkeepers in Gausia) study the market, choose patterns from Bangladeshi and Indian fashion catalogs, and order designs to be made. Brand names such as Aarong have their own in-house designers who create a certain piece, then have the artisans make a sample before approving the final product.

Silver in many forms
Asides its aesthetic appeal, silver is certainly more affordable, and those that prefer gold but cannot buy, opt for gold-plated silver. Aarong has its own line of such gold plated jewellery. Gausia Market is another place where you may find a host of shops that have a humongous collection of gold-plated products. There is much demand in the market for such items, and whether they have the antique gold, copper, or glazed gold finish, silver is the base metal for all. Traders at Gausia declare that gold-plated silver is 'in' right now, especially those with coloured AD stones, kundan, beads and / or pearls. (It is worth noting that, even though a relatively huge chunk of what you may find in Gausia is quite clunky or tacky, you will certainly come across the occasional eye-catcher.) Gausia silver shops also cater to a certain section of clientele that prefer to order out of catalogs. Pieces in white silver are scarce; still, these shops always have a flood of customers coming in to purchase decorative key rings, hair pins, 'bicha,' and anklets, especially for festive occasions such as 'Holud', Pohela Boishakh, and so on.

Silver jewellery is undoubtedly a favourite accessory of many women; whether it is in the form of pure white silver, oxidized, or gold-washed, it simply captures our hearts and imaginations. And unlike some others, this fashionable precious metal is here to stay!

 

By Rubaiyat Khan
Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Jewellery: Mayasir


 
 

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