Lac Bangles - lahathi
Lahathi Bangles: A Beauty of Bihari and Jaipuri Tradition
Bangles, traditional ornaments worn by women are the essence of womanhood and a tradition that has continued since ages. Made with the utmost love and care they have withstood the test of time and have only got more popular over the centuries.
Lac bangles, also named as Lahathi then and now, from time immemorial have continued to literally lure not just local citizens but the innumerable tourists who have to and love to pay a visit to the very legendary places. And every woman in the world, who has seen lac bangles, would like and love to wear these bangles as it adds more charm and glory to her. With their appealing colors lac bangles have become more fashionable for today’s jet-set women. Keeping a check on the trends from across the country and the globe, the lac bangle-makers have adapted from old to modern trends with beautiful artificial diamonds.
There are number of different varieties of bangles having great look and fashion. But somehow, holding their own stead and rightfully so with regale are the lac bangles, which completely outshine the rest. Beating the rest by huge numbers, sales and designs, the lac bangle makers are not far behind in creating magic with it. The trend of starting a trend holds well in lac bangles too, for they have a wide range that is hard to beat.
Lac bangles have a touch of class and richness; they are as lavish and glorious as their metal counterparts.
Method of its creation
Lac is a resinous secretion of Lac-producing insects such as Laccifer lacca, Carteria and Tachardia lacca. These plant-sucking insects colonize on the branches of host trees produce scarlet resinous pigment. Later the coated branches of the host trees are cut and harvested as sticklac. These sticklac are crushed, sieved and washed several times to remove impurities. It is available in different qualities, dark black, brown and light golden, the latter being the best and most expensive.
The process is that first the lac pieces are melted in a shallow vessel or kadai. When it is in a semi-molten state, the desired colours and beroza, giya pathar powder are added to it. The mixture is then stirred continuously. The coloured lac is now stuck on the end of a wooden stick and left to dry. The lac stuck around a wooden rod is heated slowly over the coal burner or angethi and is simultaneously pressed with a stone or a wooden tool called hattha at regular intervals. When it is sufficiently warm and soft, it is wrapped with the desired colour by rubbing the coloured lac stick on it evenly.
For this purpose the coloured lac stick also has to be warm enough and is therefore heated over the burner when needed. After the colour has been applied to the lac base it is shaped into a thin coil with the help of the hattha and cut off from the plain lac rod. The coil is then heated over the burner so that the ends can be joined together to form a bangle. While it is still hot, a plain golden coloured metal bangle, sona bai, is slipped inside the lac bangle to strengthen it. After being joined it is slipped through a round wooden beam and adjusted for size. The bangle is now ready to be embellished with sequins, semi-precious stones or whatever is desired. For the lac bangles, as many as 300 colours can be made from the basic seven to eight colours, by mixing and matching them in various permutations and combinations.
Lac bangles are considered auspicious in several cultures of the country and therefore popular during marriage ceremonies in regions like Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Bihar. They are considered a sign of good omen and are worn by married women on all auspicious occasions.
In some places lac bangles continue to be popular among married women and are preferred as they are soothing to wear and do not cause infections or itchiness like in the case of plastic or glass bangles. Worn in ceremonial functions, traditional designs are popular.
The demand for lac bangles has increased in the international market.Designer Lahathi bangles come in various hues and tones like red, green, blue etc. and are available in an exclusive range of ethnic designs. With intricate designs some have rhinestone crystal, artificial diamonds, pearls and mirror work. From teens to working women to housewives, everyone wants to embrace the magic of lahathi bangles.