Travel Stories: Bangladeshi Jewellery Artisans
Hand-made crafts are fading away
It was beginning of this week, I decided to take a trip around the belts of Beribadh, to visit rural areas near Dhaka City. I have been meaning to learn about how jewellery is made in this country , who the people are, behind such beautiful array of designs.
Our tradition in this industry, dates back to decades old craftsmanship. Hand-made, every item made was a work of art. Years of apprenticeship, hardwork and patience put into making intricate jewellery out of mere metals and materials.
Now we are just nothing but cut, copy and paste. The years of learning is rapidly replaced by machines to mass produce everything and lower the prices. But the final product doesn't have a lowered value as much, rather the income that used to be generated by the craftsmen has reduced by 3 folds. The importers of raw materials and retailers of such jewellery are reaping all the profits.
Somitra and Supriti, silversmiths working at their home studio.
The people are actually spending hours to put together the pieces, under the heat, are now given a minor portion of the entire value chain. With that lost is the art of hand made craft and the need to make small batches.
I met families who work together all night, starting from designs to making different molds of the designs, teaching their younger generation how to make small components of each part of one bangle or a necklace. It's beautiful honestly! The peace they harbour despite all hardship and the love for their craft lives on.
This had restored my faith, that no matter what, you cannot replace humans! You cannot replace the timeless efforts to establish an industry. I hope we start realising that, not everything is about profits. We need to take on sustainable practices that protects these craftsmen, their family heritage and in a larger scale that protects the essence of Bangladesh's legacy.