JA India along with the Gem & Jewellery Skill Council of India (GJSCI) sent a small team of designers and jewellery manufacturers to Hupari, a small town near Kolhapur, Maharashtra, which is renowned for its silver jewellery ornaments. It has been the endeavour of WJA and GJSCI to identify pockets in India where artisans still practise age-old crafts. It is important to understand how to amalgamate the work of these artisans into contemporary jewellery. This will not only keep their skills alive, but the symbiotic relationship will also help them upgrade their technological acumen to produce pieces of finer quality. The benefits of such tie-ups can be exponential.
It would not be wrong to say that nearly half the population of Hupari (it is estimated that 65,000 villagers live there) is engaged in making handcrafted silver jewellery, especially anklets (payals).
The two-day tour was an eye-opener for us.