Hyderabad, the heart of Deccan Plateau and the capital city of Telangana has earned the sobriquet of ‘Pearl City’ from a long time as the city is associated with the lucrative trade of splendid pearls and various forms of jewellery made using Pearls. Pearl trading was greatly encouraged by the Nizam’s and the Qutb Shahi rulers who are believed to have a lot of affinity for the sparkling jewel. Pearl is considered one of nature's miracles and a marine jewel. The lustre and lucidity of pearls makes this a symbol of purity and it is therefore considered as one of the most sought-after jewels.
Hyderabad is considered as the largest trading centre for pearls in India. Localities like Patther Gaati and Laad bazaar are some of the old commercial areas of twin cities where pearls are traded. The kings and queens adorned pearls on their robes and even crushed the pearls and applied it topically to enhancing their physical beauty. The wealthy life style led by the royals also resulted in the influx of craftsman from all over the world who were widely engaged in making quality pearl jewellery. Many families had migrated from Basra in Persia to Hyderabad centuries ago. Quality pearls are procured from various sources and these pearls are drilled, followed by boiling for about four days for bleaching them and getting rid of the dark color. The pearls are then placed in glass bottles that are filled with hydrogen peroxide, water and also ether. Following this, they are kept for five days in glass sun boxes that consist of mirror base. Finally, the pearls are washed and graded in terms of the different shapes, colours and sizes. Usually pink pearls and black pearls are considered to be of good quality while white pearls are traditionally popular.
Most of the traditional Hyderabad jewellery comprises of white pearls. These lustrous pearls of Hyderabad are crafted exquisitely by some of the best craftsmen of India, who leave no efforts to make fine quality pearl jewellery There are pearl ornaments available in a profusion of excellent and stunning shapes and designs. Right from the tiny variety of rice pearls to the precious Basra, which is a rare variety, the city is known for unparalleled range of these beautiful jewels. There are necklaces, pearl pendants, multi-strand bracelets, pearl cluster rings, single pearl rings, earrings, brooches, stud earrings, cufflinks, as well as tie tacks and many more items made with Pearls. The Nawabi city of Hyderabad is a one-stop destination for some of the rare, luminescent, and soft and tear drop pearls of all sizes, hues and forms.
Etikoppaka village is known for its lac industry, and this has resulted in an exclusive tradition of making attractive toys. The lac resin is obtained from the secretions of numerous lac insects and is used for many purposes, including toys and crafts.
The wild lac is collected by the rural people from the forests of Eastern Ghats close by and clear lac is extracted from the raw material wherein the crushed lac sticks are tied within a thin cloth. The contents are then dipped in hot water. After blending the clarified lac obtained is oxidized with other naturally extracted dyes. It is now readily applied to the finely carved wooden articles. The vegetable dyes which are readily prepared are further mixed to this lac, during oxidation process. The product obtained as a result is rich and colored lacquer which is used to decorate the Etikoppaka toys, and exported to toy collectors and art galleries all over. The wood used to make these toys is soft in nature and hence, the art of toy making is also called as Turned wood Lacquer craft.
A wonderful range of attractive colors such as olive green, ochre, turquoise and indigo blue are used too. When the lacquer is clearly processed with these blends, the wooden artefacts get an exquisite luster. The artefacts of Etikoppaka which are finely painted with oxidized lacquer, are also given a final furnish using a mogali reku (kevda leaf) making them quite charming. The wide, attractive range of colors and subdued elegance makes these lac toys quite adorable. The artisans also create table lamps, candle sticks, mobile holders, curtain rods, ear rings, pens, pen stands, key chains, bangles, and other decorative items.