Daily Prompt: Bespoke

via Daily Prompt: Bespoke

There is no woman who is not fascinated by jewels. In India, women are not just fascinated by jewels, they will invest a fortune over that. It is not one-time buying. Year after year, and also on auspicious days, they go on jewel-buying spree. No wonder jewel merchants are raking in money. But who is making the jewels? Not the shop-owner. Jewel making is an art. In India, jewels are made by traditional workers. They belong to a particular community. In Tamilnadu, they are called ‘Asaris’. About fifty years ago, jewels were ordered with the bespoke goldsmiths. They took measurements of the wearers and asked them to choose a design. Invariably, the ‘asari’ (goldsmith) also suggested a suitable design that will be appropriate to the face-cut, skin colour (fair colour is at premium here) and appearance (and also the age – though the goldsmith would never bring in that subject outwardly) of the woman in question. Naturally, such bespoken jewels would enhance the beauty of the wearer. As such, the goldsmith was always a friend, philosopher and guide of the women folk. (‘This design will suit you madam’, ‘For your round face, this is the right design’, ‘you have curly hair, this necklace will adorn your neck the best’ and so on). But slowly and steadily, the business was taken over by rich business men. They opened huge shops in suitable localities, engaged goldsmiths to make jewels, displayed them in glass show cases and sold them for huge profit. They also ‘invented’ new auspicious days for buying gold articles. Now, the independent goldsmith has become a daily wage-earner at the mercy of the business man. Modern advertisement and management techniques have ensured a regular clientele. The individual bespoken jewel is replaced with the mass produced jewels. But the jewels are still made by the same goldsmiths in the back rooms of the big shops. What is the difference between an individually made jewel and a mass produced jewel? The same as between tinned eatables and freshly cooked food.



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