Silver is considered as one of the precious metals that has been used for many years to make jewelry, coins, utensils and various pieces of art. Now a day’s silver is also used in dentistry, electronics, photography, mirrors and for industrial applications. Silver is a soft and shiny metal which is malleable and ductile and can be shaped easily by hammering. Silver is found in native form, either pure or an alloy in nature. Silver is commonly extracted from ore by smelting or chemical leaching.
Meenakari, a unique art also known as enameling, the art of ornamenting metal surface with attractive colours and kundhan stones. In olden days the meenakari art was done on gold, but later on it is done on another metals like silver, copper, etc., The word ‘meena’ means the specific enamel or colour used in this work where as in other words mina is the feminine form of minoo in Persian which means heaven and meena refers to the blue (azur) colour of heaven. Mughals introduced this unique art to India during 17th century. The one who does meeankari art known as meenakars. These meenakars belongs to the particular caste of kshatriyas and classify themselves with the name of meenakar or verma. Meenakari is not just limited to traditional jewelry but expands into more modern products including bowls, ashtrays, key chains, figures of deities and decorative showpieces. Meenakari is famous in various places in India and Varanasi is one among them. The meenakari in Varanasi is characterized by pink strokes on white enamel hence it is known as Banaras Gulabi Meenakari. The art was learnt from Persian craftsmen who visited to Lucknow in 17th century. Artisan prefers silver for meenakari art because of the price and lustrous surface. Involving in meenakari is bit typical hence it is very important that the artisans have technical hand to get aware with its process.
Mr.Ramesh Vishwakarma form Varanasi is well known artisan with more than 33 years of experience in meenakari art. He got this talent from his father Mr.Late Ramadhar Vishwakarma and he trained his family members for the same. This art is famous in the name of Banaras Gulabi Meenakari because of its unique style and colour combination.