A NATURE'S MIRACLE : SHAJAR STONE OF BANDA
An Introduction :
A nature’s gift to mankind this Stone is a geological wonder with very high and gemological value. At the volcanic age of earth when everything was in liquid and semisolid form, the liquid minerals (mostly Manganese and Iron) get deposited within the layers of silicon oxide (Agate) in such a way that they created so many types of patterns. Like shurbs, trees animals & scene giving it a uniqueness,
Geologically it is of Quartz family stone in the category of agate with the hardness of seven on Moh’s scale nearer to sapphire. Though it is categorized as semi-precious stone but all the three qualities of precious stone are found in it, that is rarity, stability & grace.
There are myths about this stone that it gives strength & mental ounce ti the wearer &minter piece to the wearer & even ALL MIGHTY IS pleased with him; It is revered as a holly stone by Islamic communities and a good Talisman for the people who wear it.
About four hundred years ago Nawab of Banda (Son of Raja chhatrasal & courtesan mastani) patronized a "Song Trash" (stone cutter ) Rumdas for his artistic stone cutter rends for his artistic stone & jeweler work Once while passing though a village of his regular tour rends had an urge for tobacco smoking one of the villager provided him a stone chip and Iron strip with COTTON to lit fire the artistic Ramada saw a very unique pattern in the stone while using it . He collected some more pieces of stones and applied his crafty to them ,”LO” he found beautiful patterns on that .He mounted them in silver &gold and presented to his Nawab who honored in for it. It was the begging of the “shear stone “(stone with pattern of trees in them) craft of Banda.
Method of madding shaker stone :
It is crafted nib a very old traditional fashion with a woken bow bad a thin steel wire as string called "KAMAN". Stones are are mounted over a wooden stons called " KHUNTA and sliced by this bow with the help of silicon carbide powder in 2 to 4 mm. thickness These stone slices are than disigned, trimed shaped and polished with utmost care and precision as the depositions are in micron thickness only
An ordinary useless looking pebble when cleaned and crafted by skilled artisans becomes a beautiful Hazard stone with impression that goes beyond imgination A finished & polished stone when set into precious metals become a lady’s delight and treasure.
The Variety, quality and singularity are so that no two stones are similar in any way. Once you have a piece it is rare and only one because nobody can present duplicate of it. It is mostly used for ornamental purposes like pendants, ear rings, rings, curio item like paper weights. Pill boxes, sindoordani etc.
Vanishing Craft :
Banda (India) has the distinction of having National fame craftsmen of Shazar. They have been honored at National and International exhibitions. It is really a matter of pride that his stone is crafted only at Banda in India. Banda stone are far more better and fine than it’s only competitor “Montana Dendrite Agate”. It has great export potential and can earn foreign enhance provided proper Govt. help and opportunity to the craftmen are given.
There was a time in early 20th century when about workshops and about 200 artisans were involved in the craft. Now there is hardly one tenth and they too are facing financial and marketing problem. The Raw material; is becoming scarce and costly with increasing production cost and hard bargaining by the old buyers causing this unique craft to disappear for ever.
Though revered and honoured every where in India and abroad the proper marketing and promotion are yet to be done.
It’s market value depends on size, pattern and colour of the impression on the stone. For more details and trade enquiry you may contact on Frontpage address or telephone numbers.