Our Jewellery Artisans

Our Jewellery Artisans

Last May I was on a trip to India, where amongst other reasons, I went to visit our jewellery artisans.  We work with a highly skilled group of people, who's ages range from 18 to 47 years old.  The group is led by Arun, who has worked with jewellery for 30 years.

Arun is from a migrant village community two hours from Kolkata (formally known as Calcutta), previously home to Mother Teresa, which is on the eastern side of India.  The community he is from suffered greatly from poverty and hunger as there was little work to be found.  When he was 17, Arun travelled to Jaipur to join his brother who had moved to seek work.  He managed to get an apprenticeship in the same jewellers workshop where his brother worked and stayed here for 10 years.  In this time he learnt all his jewellery making skills.  After this apprenticeship he bravely started his own small workshop and after a while started to employ a couple of young men from his village back in Kolkata.  Arun has trained many young people, some of whom go and start their own workshops.  After a two year period of honing their skills, apprentices are able to work independently.  His business was functioning, but it was a struggle to find work.  With no connections to designers outside of India and a language barrier issue, work was limited.

Luckily in 2016 Arun met Devendra who had a started a Fairtrade company with his wife connecting skilled Indian artisans to designers around the world.  Devendra offered him and his team regular work, income and help with healthcare and education for their children. In fact through working with Devendra Arun was able to send his daughter to a good school and is now working with one of the top tech companies in India. An amazing success story and one which has changed not just Arun's daughter life, but the whole family, as they will no longer live in fear of poverty.        

Sadly in 2017 Arun suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed down one side of his body.  This stopped him being able to make jewellery completely.  It was a very difficult time for him, he felt that all the skills he had developed were now useless and he worried how his business would continue.  Despite all the difficulties, Arun continues to share his knowledge and skills with his artisan apprentices.  He has taken a backseat with physically making pieces, but continues to interpret designs for the team and sources materials from the market.  Somain is now the head jewellery maker, who brings his own set of honed skills to designers who work with the team.

Everything the team make is hand made, using sustainable processes.  Sometimes complicated designs, like our Granulated Cuffs, take them over 30 hours to make just one piece! 

The handed down jewellery making skills from one artisan to another, lifting each other out of poverty and into a life of skilled, fairly paid work has created a tight community of justifiably proud artisans. 

We are super proud to work with Devendra, Arun, Somain and the whole team and thank them for all their efforts in helping us live our jewellery creating dream ♡


back to journal

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.