Shazar Stone Designs: Painted On God's own Canvas!
Lucknow: One look at it and it will surely capture your imagination. No wonder pendants, bracelets, paper weights, tie pins, broaches and now even window panes all craved out with beautiful natural designs etched into the stone are a must have for every foreign tourist visiting Uttar Pradesh.
What are we talking about? Well, the most breathtakingly beautiful natural creation of nature-the Shazar Stone.
Also known as the Dendrite Agate the stone represents nature in its full glory. Natural and pristine it holds within its self beauty of the bygone era captured in its mosaic designs of shrubs, trees, waterfalls, scenic landscapes and even the Sun and the waves rippling in the river.
On the other hand it is special as it has a divine quality about it that will draw you to the ornaments made from it. And why not? When the designs have be created by a divine hand itself!
Making it even more unique is the fact that each design is different from the other and the delicate ivy like vines and creepers are not only perfectly created but naturally occurring as well. Leaving the spectator spell bound in disbelief.
“Anyone who see these stones thinks I have got the designs painted on them by an artist. But that is not so it takes a lot of convincing to get them to understand that these are miracles of nature and are created by biological process in the earth,” explains Gaurav Gupta, an exporter of the Shazar Stone Jewellery .
But how does the scenic patterns emerge on the stone?
“Its very simple,” avers Gaurav, “The stone is formed by the seepage of liquid manganese and iron minerals in the layers of liquid silica oxid. This gets solidified by nature in thousands and millions of years. The agate itself with dendrite inclusion becomes semi-precious with a hardness of 7 on moh’s scale near to Topaz and Sapphire. Slowly over the years the patterns emerge on the stone. A finished, polished stone when set into precious metals like gold or silver becomes a lady’s delight and a treasured possession. As no two stones are similar in any way, once you have a piece it becomes unique to you as nobody can acquire a duplicate of it. The patterns, color and shape of the stone is rare in every rock and never repeated again even by mother nature.”
As alluring as that sounds the prospect of owning the one and only ornament design of it’s kind acts as the jewellry’s biggest brand promotion. With buyers from as far as Switzerland, Paris and Germany coming all the way to Lucknow to pick a piece up. Some even have it shipped all the way to their doorstep and Gaurav, who is the only exporter in India of the Shazar Jewellery is more than happy to oblige.
But it was not easy to capture the attention of the international markets. Though Gaurav today is the only exporter of Shazar Jewellery, he had to work hard to create a market for the stone.
Says he, “I first saw the stone at a seminar I had attended in New Delhi where some foreign tourist were wearing it. It caught my attention as the work was very intricate and the look of the ornament was very captivating unlike anything I had ever seen before. When I inquired about it they told me that it was a natural stone and the design was only one of its kind. But when they told me from where they purchased it I was dumb struck as living in Uttar Pradesh since birth I had never heard of the Shazar Stone!”
His curiosity grew and Gaurav set about researching the stone and tracked it down to the riversides of Banda in Uttar Pradesh.
“I was surprised to see that it was being cut from the stones strewn around the river bed by the laborers working there. Untrained and amateurs they were unable to recognize the designs and even ended up ruining it by smashing the stones to be used for construction material. On looking closer I was able to see designs of scenery, Om, 786, cross and even swastika. I immediately decided to develop it as ornaments and the rest is history,” he laughs.
That was then in 2000 and today nine years later he has seen a rail engines, all the holy signs, animal figurines and a number of designs of flowers, vines, landscapes etc etched on these stones.
Explains Guarav, “Agate being a religious stone among Islamic Community it’s preferred by them i.e. in the Middle East Countries the stone is all the more sacred to them as it finds mention in the holy Quran as a healing stone. It has been known to cure ailments like B.P, Chronic ailments, depression etc and protect its wearer from all harm.”
Quite a mystery stone this!
(The author is a Special Correspondent to Citizen News Service (CNS) and also the Director of Saaksham Foundation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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