Traditional jewellery never goes out of fashion, but few specialise in it in these days of machine made ornaments. But these two brothers continue the tradition set by their forefathers

Beauty meets quality here. Also tradition and craftsmanship; where inspiration and expression blend in the hands of Ganesh Achari and Hari Achari. The brother duo belongs to the fourth generation of goldsmiths of the erstwhile royal family of Kochi. They don the dual role of being the owners as well as workers of their own outlet, Kanaka Jewellery,Tripunithura. "Traditional jewellery is all about nature," says Ganesh. The `nagapadathaly' resembles the hood of the snake and `elakkathaly' the twinkling stars." The most popular of the exquisite ornaments in their repertoire are the `nagapadathaly, poothaly, palakkamothiram, mangamala. They also have the `Deshavatharam' bangle, Ashtalakshmi and Chottanikara Bhagavathy bangle, where the images of gods and goddesses are embossed in gold. A resplendent Lord Poornathrayeesha with a niche for kalabham, Ananthashayanam and Ganapathi pendants are popular.And the takers range from film stars to the royals. . For the Christians they have bangles with Bible stories and Velankanni bangle where the story of Velankanni Matha is crafted in gold! The alukkumala and the aalilamala of the Muslim bride are a sight to behold! Traditional jewellery requires a minimum of five to seven sovereigns or more to craft to perfection and the prices vary from Rs. 40,000 to Rs one lakh or more. "We return the trust our clients place in us, in the form of enthralling jewellery. We do not keep samples or advertise. Our clients are our mobile advertisements", says Hari with a grin. Traditional jewellery is much sought after for marriages, engagements and other functions of the Hindus, Christians and Muslims. How do they compete with machine made jewellery?"We face no such competition. In fact, we are unable to cope with the demand," they say, even as many goldsmiths are forced to put down the tools of the trade, owing to lack of work. "The association of goldsmiths itself is in danger of disintegrating and there is no help from the government. We help in whatever way we can," Hari remarked. What makes these pieces of jewellery exclusive is the fact that `each piece of jewellery holds a special meaning to us and it is the result of our sweat and labour'. "There are over 10,000 traditional designs and none of them can be moulded. They require the expertise of the hand as well as the fantasy of the mind," say the brothers. And no computers for them either, for just after seeing the ornament they can make a perfect replica of the original. They adorn not only humans but also gods and goddesses with crowns of gems and gold. Can the macho male be left far behind? For them, there are the Krishna chain, Deshavatharam chain, Pavithramothiram and lapel pins of Venkitachalapathi, Ganapathi and Mahalakshmi. This inimitable treasure trove of antique and modern jewellery surely has heads turning, asking for more. ROSHNI MOHAN

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