Dhokra (or Dokra)(Odia: ଡୋକରା, Bengali: ডোকরা) Jewelry - What is it?
Dhokra (Odia: ଡୋକରା, Bengali: ডোকরা) also called “Lost-Wax” casting technique is one of the most ancient forms of metal casting methods available in India. It is a traditional technique known to have been used in the making of several artifacts dating back to even the Mohenjo-Daro days.
A brief history:
To understand how unique Dhokra jewelry is, it is important to understand a short history about the metal casting technique.
Origins of Dhokra dates back to over 4000 years. This technique of casting non-ferrous metals was popular in the ancient regions of the present day West Bengal. The name is derived from the tribes of West Bengal who go by the name Dhokra. These tribes are nomads known to be expert metal smiths.
The lost-wax technique or Dhokra technique is an extensive, long metal casting process.
To help you understand how unique each piece of Dhokra art piece is, let us give you a brief description of the process of making a product by this casting method.
Here are the few main steps involved:
- Making of the core:
Once the size of the end product is finalized a clay core, smaller than the product size is made. This core is then allowed to harden.
- Wax modeling:
Over the core, a wax model of the product is made. This is made as thick as the final product is intended to be. Natural resins from Sal tree are used for this modeling of the product in combination with oils. The model also bears all the detailing that is required in the final product.
- Forming the mold:
The actual mold is them formed out of clay. This mold is built around the wax model. This mold thus carries the details in the model. Few additional layers of clay are also added over the first layer around the model. This mold is left to harden. The mold also includes channels for pouring the molten metal in the later stages.
- Removal of the wax:
The wax model is then removed. This is done by heating the hardened mold to allow the wax to melt. This molten wax which is removed from the mold is reusable. Once the wax comes out, there is a cavity then bearing the fine details that were included in the wax model.
- Metal casting:
This is the main step where the molten metal is poured into the mold. It flows through the channels into the cavity where the wax model once was. It takes around 6 hours for the metal to completely cool down and harden.
- Taking out the finished Dhokra artwork:
The outer clay mold is removed. The final finishing touches are made on the metal structure by scrubbing off any clay residues and filing any uneven surfaces.
This is a brief outline of how the process is done by most Dhokra metal smiths. Some of them have their own evolved methods and variations.
Fun facts about Dhokra art form:
Dhokra technique that we know today has been handed down over several generations.
The nomadic tribes have now moved and settled in several areas of India and have carried and spread with them the popularity of the art
One of the famous artifacts, the “Dancing Girl” obtained from the remains of Mohenjo-Daro town is a famous example of Dhokra artwork
Dhokra art forms are hand crafted and are known for their intricate detailing
Making of a single Dhokra product might take months
Dhokra jewelry and other Dhokra art pieces are gaining steady popularity all over the world.
Like other Dhokra art products, Dhokra jewelry is made of a single piece of metal, hand-crafted by skilled metal smiths. They lack the mirror-image symmetry as in the metal jewelry made by machines and this is what makes them all the more unique. The jewelry pieces mainly focus on minimalistic themes of nature or tribal variants.
The unique technique used to cast the metal gives the jewel a vintage look. The unique color of the metal and the finesse in detailing make the jewels so popular. A tremendous amount of efforts goes into the making of a single piece of jewel. This makes them special.
Owing to their non-lustrous matte finish, Dhokra jewelry blends perfectly well with any outfit. If you pair it with a traditional outfit, the classy jewel will smoothly complement the traditional look. You could also don it with a western wear to make a style statement.
So why choose Dhokra jewelry as a gift for someone?
The craftsmanship in each Dhokra jewel itself makes it a great gifting option. If your loved one likes vintage stuff, Dhokra jewelry is just the perfect choice. And antique jewelry is the current trend. The versatility of the traditional Dhokra jewelry makes it easy to be worn with any outfit. This would mean that people of varied tastes would love Dhokra jewelry. When you gift someone, it is often to express your love for them and to make them feel special. What better way to make someone special than with a handcrafted piece of jewelry that can add so much charm to their accessories collection! The simplicity of the jewelry also makes it a great choice for daily wear.
The fact that Dhokra jewelry is made of non-ferrous metals is also the reason behind the fact that these don’t easily rust or corrode. This means that they stay as good as new for years. The ancient artifacts retrieved from the Indus Valley Civilization period, which were crafted by Dhokra technique are proofs for the everlasting beauty of these metal jewelry pieces.
We bring authentic Dhokra jewelry to you directly from the artisans who still follow the ancient techniques of lost-wax casting to patiently carve each piece of jewelry. So if you ever dream of buying jewelry that is handmade especially for you through crafting techniques dating back to over 4 centuries ago, Dhokra jewelry is the best choice.
There are very few places to get genuine handcrafted Dhokra jewelry. Check out our unique handcrafted genuine pieces of Dhokra jewelry that make wonderful gifts.