Add a piece of artistry to any outfit, from everyday to an evening out with a pair of Channapatna earrings! Made using a centuries old process, these earrings are as special as the region for which they are named, making them both an accent and a fun conversation piece.
Our hand crafted lacquered wooden jewelry celebrates a 200 year old tradition in Channapatna. Made by 5th generation artisans in Southern India, the craft and the village now share a name. The artists start with a wood called ivory wood, or milk wood, which is very soft and easy to work with. First, branches are pruned in a manner to ensure longevity in the tree itself. They are cut into smaller logs, and seasoned in gunny sacks for 30 days. These logs are then cut into rough shapes, finely carved, and sanded to an incredibly smooth finish. Then the Channapatna / Lac part comes in to play. Shellac itself is a natural substance made from a secretion of the lac beetle. It's actually the same coating approved by the FDA to be used to give shiny candies their glossy sheen! To start, natural colorant is mixed with the lac and dried to make a color stick. Red comes from vermillion. Orange comes from saffron. Yellow comes from turmeric. Green comes from vegetable leaf extract. Blue comes from indigo. After the piece is spun on a lathe to get the precise shape and smoothness, the color stick is pressed against the piece as it spins one final time. The friction of the wood against the color stick builds heat, which melts the lac, applying a layer of color and shine. This finish is smoothed and polished with a dried agave leaf. The piece is then removed from the lathe and ready to move on to the next step of assembly or surface embellishment. The process can be slow and the competition fierce as Chinese markets have started marketing knock offs using the style, but not the non-toxic coatings. There are 72,000 people in the Channapatna region, the majority of whom are involved in the making of this craft, whether through the sawmills or the 500 little artisan workshops. In an effort to protect their livelihood, they've begun making things aside from the toys they have been known for, such as earrings and bracelets. Who would have thought such a simple little piece of jewelry would carry the history of one little village from the 18th century to today and hopefully for centuries to come.
- Made by hand in India
- Wood and shellac
- Earrings are orange with red top and bottom
- Overall height 2-1/8" including ear wires