In a furnace, slivers of silver, slowly melted amidst the onslaught of the fierce red flames. The ensuing lava like liquid – glowing amber – was then quickly poured onto a metal tray, allowing it to thicken to a uniform consistency. Soon after, a painstaking round of moulding, hammering, carving and artistry ensues, resulting in an exquisite ring that is set with minuscule blue sapphires in the shape of a flower.
Words Chamindra Warusawitharana Photographs Menaka Aravinda
As we entered Bella Gems and Jewellery, an assortment of magnificent jewels intertwined with many hues enticed us casting their glow in all directions. Amidst this stemming glow, it is apparent that the ensemble of art, expert craftsmanship and refined elegance had all come together to create such breathtaking beauty. We encircled the shop, peering closely at each piece, surrounding ourselves in a galore of fascinating art work. A white gold necklace embedded with rubies took us back in time, to a place where noble ladies graced festive occasions, adorned in such jewellery. A simple yet elegant yellow gold necklace sporting a violet amethyst rested next to a seemingly delicate turquoise pendant. Our gaze locked on to a white gold necklace embracing an enormous lemon yellow citrine, lodged with deep red garnets – fit to be worn with an elegant dress. Tearing our eyes away, our attention was arrested by the charming sets of earrings, composed of an extensive range of designs and shades. Shifting our gaze up we were once again enraptured by a range of bangles and bracelets, set with intricate or simple designs. In our search for the source of this arresting mix, our steps carried us to the back of the shop where we discovered the area that forged each piece of jewellery.
It was a fascinating sight to behold as expert craftsmen endeavoured, each concentrating intensely on his own piece of jewellery, only taking their eyes away to glance at the etched design. One was carefully embedding minuscule diamonds on to a circular pattern on a white gold ring while his colleague hammered away at a rectangular piece of silver. A few feet away another artisan polished pieces of garnets striving to gain the shimmer and the dainty curves that go into fashioning the perfect gems for jewellery. Sitting next to him, a craftsman carefully placed vibrant gems of treacle brown, cobalt blue, pomegranate red and jet black on a silver ornamental elephant reminding us that Bella goes the extra mile to also compose striking ornaments. Each and every artisan at Bella knows how to forge a beautiful piece of jewellery from scratch; be it an elaborate necklace, a tiara, a bangle, a ring or a simple tag or a pendant. Advancing to the back of the building we witnessed the initial forging and the final touches that go into crafting these embellishments and as we watched a craftsman lifted a small metal bowl off the furnace and poured the red-gold liquid on to a metal tray.
As we watched the mesmerizing process of metal melting, our curiosity was piqued; ‘how did such delicate designs come into being?’ Bella clients merely have to express what they require and Chandana de Silva, Managing Director/Designer will bring it to life. Belle offersafter sales services as well, thus adding timeless value to eachpiece of jewellery.
As finishing touches were done to the white gold ring with a circular set of diamonds, the artisan carefully dipped the ring into a chemical substance mixed with water and washed it again in running water. After polishing the ring a bit more with the aid of a hand-operated machine, he dipped it in a basin full of foam and water. Out of this emerged a brilliant white gold ring, set with sparkling diamonds.
Bella Gems & Jewellery
15, Maya Avenue, Colombo 6
Tel : (+9411) 255 3311
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