Lac bangles are made plain or with lehariya designs
on them or studded with glass, precious and semi-precious
stones. In handicrafts the use of lac is well known in
making jewellery, lacquer toys, and furniture. Lac
bangles are considered a sign of good omen and are worn
by married women on all auspicious occasions in Gujarat and
Rajasthan; red and green are the traditional colors. Lac is
a resinous substance secreted by an insect called kerria
lacca, and is the source of resin, wax, and dye. Lac is
available in different qualities – dark black, brown, and
light golden – the latter being the best and most expensive.
India is one of the largest producers of lac and its
principal exporter. Ayurveda stresses the importance of lac
in medical therapies, and it is widely used in food
processing, textile, leather, cosmetics, varnish, and
printing industries. Bio-degradable and eco-friendly, lac is
becoming highly popular.
Who practices this craft?
The lac itself is collected from forests in Bihar, Madhya
Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal,
and Assam. The most popular lac bangles are
made in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Hyderabad, and Bihar. Lakhera
laheri is the hereditary artisan community of Hindus
involved in lac bangle making. Lac bangles are
also worn by Hindus. In Rajasthan lac bangles are made by
Muslims and worn by Hindus.
What materials and tools are used in this craft?
Tools: Angethi (coal burner with
flat steel plates), kadai (shallow vessel), wooden
rod, stone piece, hattha for pressing and shaping
lac, iron bangles for sizing, tin foil, khali (round
wooden rod for shaping bangles), cutter, tool for
picking sequins, haddi (bone shaped wooden tool);
(black lac), Orange chapdi (light golden lac),
Beroza, Giya pathar
powder, Coal, Sequins, Semi-precious stones, Powdered colors
including pevdi (yellow), Safeda (lithophone),
Mirgam (copper), Green, Chamki (gold).
What is the Craft process?
The insect hosts itself on the branches of certain trees
(kusum and papal) and forms a red encrustation around it.
The coated branches are cut and the material obtained is
washed to remove all impurities.
Lac pieces are melted to a semi-molten state in a kadai. Beroza,
giya pathar powder, and color are added, and the mixture is stirred
continuously. The coloured lac is put on the end of a wooden stick.
The lac (without pigment) stuck around a wooden rod is heated slowly over
angethi. It is pressed with a stone or a wooden tool called hattha
at regular intervals. When it is sufficiently warm and soft, it is wrapped with
the desired color by rubbing the colored lac stick on it evenly. For this
purpose the colored lac stick also has to be warm. After the color has been
applied to the lac base it is shaped into a thin coil with the help of hattha
and cut off from the plain lac rod.
The coil is heated over the burner so that the ends can be joined together
to form a bangle. It is then slipped through a round wooden beam with a tapered
end, adjusted for size. The bangle is ready to be embellished with sequins,
semi-precious stones, and other decorations. The sequins are placed on tin foil
and heated. They are warmed in order to melt the lac surface on which they are
placed, staying there upon solidification. The process requires great precision,
and takes a long time when working with small sequins.
Product categories made with Lac Bangles
Decore, Table, Storage, Jewellery, Desk Accessories
Lac Bangles Extended Documentation