In Meenakari jewelry, precious stones are set and then enameled with gold. Historically speaking, the art was introduced to Rajasthan artisans by Raja Mansingh of Amer. He invited Lahore-based skilled artisans to his kingdom, and their intermingling with the locals craftsmen resulted in an amalgam, which came to be known as Meenakari. Meenakari is also a team work, where specialization of skill is of paramount importance. As it is generally done on the reverse side of kundan jewellery, meenakar has to work with goldsmith, engraver or ghaaria, designer or chitteria as well as jadiya.
The art requires higher skill and its intricacy calls for application
of technical mindset. In Meenakari, the piece of metal on which the work
is to be done, is fixed on a lac stick. Designs of flowers, birds, fish
etc are engraved on it. This leads to the creation of walls or grooves,
to hold color. Enamel dust, of required color, is then poured into the
grooves and each color is fired individually. The heat of the furnace
melts the color and the colored liquid gets spread equally into the
groove. This process is repeated with each color.
Subsequently, each color is individually fired. Colors, which are most
heat resistant, are applied first, as they are re-fired with each
additional color. Once the last color has been fired, the object is
cooled and burnished or polished with agate. The depth of the grooves,
filled with different colors, determines the play of light. Silver and
gold are used for the base of Meenakari. Choice of colors, in case of
silver, has to be green, yellow or blue, as these are the colors which
stick with it. As for gold, all the colors can be applied to it and this
is also the reason why the metal is preferred for Meenakari jewellery.
Meenakari work in Indian jewelry is done with gemstone and then enameled with gold. Know more about Indian Meenakari jewellery.