Lakh bangles are nothing but lacquer bangles. These model bangles are customary in places like Jaipur and Udaipur. Many versatile designs of Lakh bangles are available. So much so, they are part of every woman's accessory box.
Making of Lakh Bangles
Artisans make Lakh bangles from lacquer, which is a gummy substance. They get this substance from the female species of a bug found in India and Thailand's forests.
The manufacturing process of Lakh bangles is a bit complicated. Lacquer is available as coins. After melting and mixing with limestone, the manufacturers make a dough or mixture. Limestone adds strength to the finish. This dough is the raw material for making Lakh bangles. The artisans will roll them and mix colours to make them as the bangles.
Heating the bangles slightly and slipping them onto a wooden rod is the best way to get them into a round shape. Heating the bangles a second time is necessary for embellishing them. Beads, pieces of broken mirror, and semiprecious stones form the embellishments. The craftsmen first heat the embellishment materials over a flame.
When placed on the Lakh bangle, they melt the lacquer below them and stick to the surface. The artisans stick the piece one after the other. Local vendors then buy these bangles to sell them in their stores.
A majority of the Lakh bangle artisans hail from Manoharpur in Uttar Pradesh. Many of them then moved to Jaipur. The Manihari women make the bangles while the husbands make ready the raw material.
Lacquer - The raw material
Tiny bugs live on the LakshaTaru and secrete a scarlet-coloured resin. The seekers then scrape off layers of this resin from the bark of the tree. The next step involves crushing, washing, and sieving the lacquer many times.
Heating the lacquer brings the pure lac to surface. Adding titanium and wax to the lacquer improves its volume and cohesiveness.
The amount of talc added, which varies between 5% and 95%, determines the Lakh bangles' quality.
Artisans make Lakh bangles in myriad brilliant colours. For the brides of Rajasthan, Lakh bangles are an integral part of their lives. They wear these colourful bangles before and after marriage.