From tiara to anklet, from silver to copper and brass, they make it all. Around 10,000 people of 12 villages in Savar’s Bhakurta union parishad make jewelries worth Tk 15 million every year.
It was a tradition of their ancestors and now they not only make ornaments for others, but also ensure their economic solvency.
The ornaments crafted by these artisans are sold in super markets of the capital and other district towns of the country as wholesalers buy the jewelries from them.
Local people said, the culture of craftsmanship in the area dates back to the British period. Initially they made golden jewelries. Then they started to craft silver jewelries, and now they focus on copper and brass made jewelries.
The craftsmanship of the area boomed in 1980, thanks to the effort of Rasamay Podder, Jagannath Podder, Sachindra Sarker and others. Rajesh Das, Nitai Das and some others helped the industry get a commercial breakthrough.
From housewives to students, every one of the villages is involved in jewelry making. Almost every house of the area has the instrument of making jewelries and none in the villages are unemployed. The trend has also spread to adjacent villages of Keraniganj upazila.
The craftsmen of the villages have established two organisations. Bhakurta Gold and Silver Merchants Cooperative Samity has 80 members. The other association, Bhakurta Bazar Gold Silver and Imitation Merchants Cooperative Samity, has 104 members.
Presidents of the associations, Anwer Hossain and Nazimuddin, said, only those who own a shop or a factory are eligible for the association’s membership. A lot of people other than the members are also involved in jewelry making.
They said on an average the area makes jewelry worth Tk 1 million every month. The amount multiplies three to four folds during the two Eid festivals.
Nazimuddin said, they sold jewelry worth Tk 5 million during the Eid-ul-Fitr. He expected the sale to be Tk 2 million this Eid-ul-Adha.
They craft all kinds of women jewelries like pendants, tiara, nose ring, bracelet, hip chain and anklets. The ornaments are polished and coloured in capital’s Tantibazar.
Shyamlashi village of Bhakurta, where the stretch of jewelry making villages starts, lies on the right side of Basila Bridge.
In Bhakurta Bazar, one would see the craftsmen melting metals like silver, copper and brass in the shops on both sides of the road.
Sanjit Chandra Sarker, a businessman in Bhakurta Bazar, said he inherited the business from his ancestors and he himself is involved in the business since his childhood. Currently five workers are employed in his factory.
Kartik Shil, a craftsman of the factory, said he earns Tk 10,000 to 12,000 every month.
In Bottoli village, women of almost all the homes can be seen crafting jewelries.
Housewife Eirin Khatun said, she make jewelries in free time.
Md Salah Uddin and his wife Josna Begum were crafting ornaments in a nearby house. They said they don’t have any lands but bought some cattle, fridge and furniture by making jewelries.
Acting chairman of Bhakurta union parishad Abdur Rashid thinks marketing of the ornaments made in the area could have been easier had there been proper communication facility.
Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) director Swapan Kumar Ghosh told Prothom Alo, the jewelries seem to be of cottage industry. So, the artisans can get pieces of land for setting up factories in the BSCIC industrial area and bank loan from government banks.