Lac Jewellery of Bihar

Lac is collected from forest and very commonly used for costume jewellery. In northern Bihar about one hundred tons of rejected lac which remains in the pack after squeezing, is used for bangle cores and the better quality lac is used for decoration. Lac bangles are worn by married women of the aboriginal tribal people of Bihar including Bhumij, Mo, Munda, Oraon and Santal tribes. Lampshades, toddlers push carts, serving bowls, nose rings decorated with bright red colour are few beautiful examples o craftsmanship.

The lac bangles have an inner-core which is covered by a relatively thin layer of better quality coloured lac. Core lac is strengthened by a material like white clay. The dry ingredients are heated, mixed together, kneaded and pounded with a hammer, a process repeated until the mass has formed similar type of dough like consistency. After further heating and shaping, the lac is expanded and the diameter is bargained to bangle thickness and finished by rolling across a flat surface with a flat shaping tool. Shapes are done by pressing the lac length into coloured grooves on each side of a wooden forming block or mould. The lac is forced into the groove with the instrument to take on the shape of the groove.

Glass beads, decorative wire, small bits of geometrically shaped or flower shaped mirrors are used as embellishments";" they are also decorated with gold foil, wire and glass seed beads.