Organic Jewelry Part 2- Bamboo -Horn and Bone jewelry
by Sheweta Dhanuka
Organic jewelry is the amazing blend of old and new phase that is instinctive raw material used for crafting stunning jewels using modern techniques and designs. Thus, this article endeavors to provide the related information about the natural material used for making organic ornaments such as necklace, bracelets and earrings.
Human being came into existence in this universe millions of years ago and so is his/her passion for ornaments. Initially, the objects utilized by them for making jewelries were all the natural material that required intense search in forest instead of mining. They used to look for horns, bones and teeth of animals, bamboo and wood for making jewels. Today precious and semi precious gemstones are widespread in every corner of the world but the stuff used by our ancestors for jewelry also exists. These are named as Organic Jewelry. It is new contemporary funky items created using intrinsic stuff like bamboo, hardwood, horn & bone and tusk.
Jewelry lovers could add these unique pieces in their collection. Organic jewelry is the amazing blend of old and new phase that is instinctive raw material used for crafting stunning jewels using modern techniques and designs. Thus, this article endeavors to provide the related information about the natural material used for making organic ornaments such as necklace, bracelets and earrings. The details proffered are the basic facts that would help in understanding and knowing these natural materials to some extent.
It is the natural grass that grows in long cylinder shape thick from outer circumference while hollow inside. The colour of this innate material varies from light green, yellow or brown. It could be either striped or spotted black in colour. Black bamboo is very rare but valued most. It is tan yellowish and the colour varies from medium brown to chocolate brown. The natural designs and patterns on the solid part differ from one piece to other like it could be burnt design, one-flare colour or tapering effect.
The bamboo jewelries are always created using cylinder shapes. It has natural protective cortex that is the outer surface of bamboo therefore, while making other flat shapes the protective shield needs to be detached. Once the cortex is removed this natural material becomes unsuitable for jewelry, as it gets permeable and less firm.
The circular shapes are cut in form of rings from the diaphragm or membrane of the cylindrical bamboo. The rings are thick in the front while hollow at the back. No two rings have identical look therefore, it is very difficult to match for making jewelry pieces in pairs.
In order to have the smooth insertion of jewelry made up bamboo, it is pre-oiled when it is in its raw form. It should be always oiled else it becomes difficult to retain the shine and wear it. The jewelries must be seldom washed. Only mild herbal soaps or solutions must be used for cleaning. Immediately, after washing it should be wiped off completely with the cotton cloth and oiled before storing it.
The cost of this basic material is determined by its diameter. It is measured in gauges, inches or millimeters. With the increase in the diameter in terms of gauge the price also increases. The length of the bamboo pieces used to make captivating jewelries is usually short, something between 1/2 to 3/4 inches long.
High quality hardwood is used to make fascinating jewelries. It is all handmade jewelry as it involves manual carving and sanding. It is ideal for making earrings, as mostly ear gets less wet when compared with wrist, fingers and neck.
The different varieties of wood used for making exquisite ornaments are Chechen, Ebony, Chakte Kok, Granadillo, Katalox, Olive and Maple. All comes in varied colours. Olive and maple are found in bright yellow colour base with dark yellow or brown natural groves on the base. Ebony is dense black in colour. Reddish orange with black or dark brown streaks is the colour for Chakte Kok. Chechen and granadillo are medium brown and dark brown colour respectively, both consists of darker shades grains on the base colour. Katalox is very dark brown colour that looks like ebony black.
In order to make attention-grabbing jewels diverse shapes are cut from thick wood logs. Pieces have to be cut from thick logs because small pieces with less thickness tend to break in due coarse of time. These shapes are joined together to make appealing jewelry items. Only few regular shapes such as cylinder, round, oval, square, one flared, saddle, nail, taper and spike are possible to cut, as wood is relatively stiff. However, many versatile designs are created with inlay. Inlay means that a solid piece is drilled to make it hollow then some other gemstone or small wood bit is inserted in the empty space. In the center of the saddle piece, 3-D concentric circles are made highlighting it outwards. The solid piece is even engraved with some designs like stars, sun, flower and so on. Sometimes, even these are carved in inimitable forms and hand painted in colourful colours. The options for creating exclusive pieces in unlimited, it all just depends on the creativity of an individual.
Price of these amazing natural material is determined through three main factors viz. wood used, artwork and size. All the different types of wood mentioned above come at a different price. Similarly, all diverse artwork calls for a special cost. Inlay tends to be most expensive as it involves the cost of solid wood piece as well as the gemstone/wood plug inserted inside the main solid. Rest all varies with the quality and quantity of the work done on the wooden piece that is used for making jewelries. Finally the size of the wood, with the increase in the size cost also goes up.
All hardwood jewelry in the end is oiled utterly as it fills the empty pores and leads to smooth insertion. These ornaments similar to bamboo jewelries must be washed occasionally with mild soap and water, completely dried and oiled again before storing. Olive oil, peanut oil or jojoba oil could be used to do the needful.
Horn Jewelry and Bone Jewelry
In ancient times, when civilization started people used to wear jewelries made up from horns and bones of the animals. In those times, jewelries were common to males, females and even children. They used to collect the bones, make similar shapes and put it together in a string to make necklace, bracelets and so forth. Ear and nose piercing with sharp animal horn was also proverbial amongst the females. The horn and bone body jewelry continues to be worn by tribes in few parts of the universe till date. Today, these unique ornaments are not only restricted to tribal group but has become the trendy funky style statement in the fashion industry across the globe.
Horns are always found in dark colours like dark brown, black or gray. These are sharp, translucent and could be yellowish or brownish tan. It is made up fibrous protein called as Keratin. Due to keratin, the horns are very hard and taut. As all animals have two horns therefore, for making any jewelry item the pair of identical horns is easily acquired. Bones are composed of calcium carbonate and protein collagen. As calcium is present in large quantity, bones are white or off white in colour.
There are different varieties of horns found like double flared, saddle shaped, plain hollow and hollow with amber inserted ( any other gemstone could be inserted in place of amber like turquoise, bloodstone, opal, moonstone etc ). Fancy and remarkable designs could be engraved on the horns in double flared or saddle shape. Also, bone dust and semi precious gems are also used creatively in unlimited designs. These are referred as saddles or double flared with inlays. Inlays signify to bone dust or the stones. U shape, hair-do’s, yoni shape, spiral, compact spiral, triskels, wicked spiral, java style hoops, plain claws, monster claws, labret shapes, tusks, septum pinchers and flying dragons etc are unique mesmerizing shapes. These are never seen before shapes in any other gemstone or jewelry material.
Same as horns, bones are shaped as saddle, solid or hollow. The diverse designs as created in horn are not possible to produce in bones, as it is more porous. It becomes more porous due to the presence of calcium carbonate in its composition. Round, square, teeth, tusks, claws and more are the regularly found shapes.
These two jewelry raw materials are mostly obtained from water buffalo and cows. Indonesia is the main source for both these animal. India is the main supplier of black cow horns. The horns and bones are attained only after animals die. It is valued very high thus cost is lucrative. The main price determinants are size and country. Indonesian water buffalo horns and bones are priced maximum.
Tusk are long pointed tooth that protrudes from closed mouth as in elephant, warthog or wild boar. Each single unit obtained from different animals is exceptional and has its distinctive specialty. Boar tusk are short, white and sharp curved. Warthog tusks are same as the former but are more heavy and tan yellowish. The last but most important are the elephant tusk. These are valued maximum and the cost is as high as sky. These are ivory white, strong and very large.
Unfortunately, people with their selfish motive kill innocent animals for its God gifted tusk. It is against the ethical standards to make jewelries using tusk and wear the same. This convention is now obscured with other old traditions. Therefore, only small piece of information is offered about tusk.
Apart from tusk other organic stuffs viz. bamboo, hardwood, horn and bone continues to be used for creating spectacular body jewelry. This funky fashion is idyllic for casual attire. In spite for being so old it persists to have the clout to grab the attention in the mass. It is certainly worth to keep up the old things. So try getting organic !!