One thing that I really wanted to buy during the trip to Rajasthan was Lac Bangles and I bought a few!!! Wanted to share with all of you of what I learnt about Lac bangles!
Rajasthan is known for Lac bangles. The word bangle is derived from a hindi word ‘bungri’ which means glass. Traditionally bangles were made of sea shell, copper, bronze, gold etc.
Use of Lac in bangle making started in Utter Pradesh (a Northern Indian state). When the king of Amer instituted the capital he moved these Lac bangle craftsmen who were known as ‘Manihar’ to Amer.
Lac is a resinous secretion of Lac-producing insects such as Laccifer lacca, Carteria lacca and Tachardia lacca. These pant sucking insects colonize on the branches of host trees to produce scarlet resinous pigment. Later the coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested as sticklac. These sticklac are crushed, sieved and washed several times to remove impurities. The process of obtaining lac is carried out in mud ovens. Semisolid lac is then placed is large placed coated with oil. The semisolid lac dough is then rolled into poles and is then distributed to women across the state. Women use stoves, metal plates, tweezers and wooden batons to turn lac into bangles.
Lac is originally brick red in color, wax is added to increase cohesiveness, titanium is added to increase volume and various other coloring agents are added.
Different colored lac is used to create bangles. Wooden batons are used to create bangles of various dimensions. The beauty of these bangles is that you can use various things to enhance the beauty; like use crystals, mirrors, semi-precious stones etc.
Various customs of Rajasthan require women to dress in specific ways. Each celebration can be identified easily by the type of bangles and dress/saree women wear; for example, “Gulali Chooda and Hara Chooda”or red bangle is worn by brides during the weddings, pink bangles are worn during holi or festival of colors.