Silver, which is one of the earliest metals known to humans, has been considered as a precious metal right from ancient times. In fact, Silver was also used as a form of currency in historical times. The history of Silver dates back to 4000 B.C when it was discovered in the form of nuggets, while Silver artefacts were found in the ancient tombs of Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Egypt, China, Persia, and also Greece. Silver has been used extensively in coinage and silverware. It was even used widely by past rulers of Indian subcontinent.
Importance of Silver
Silver is a whitish metallic element which is rare, corrosion resistant, strong, and not affected by elements like vegetable acids, moisture, or alkalies. The metal is unique in that it is quite resonant, malleable, and moldable, with highest thermal and electric conductivity. There are many special physical characteristics of Silver, which makes it quite useful in many industries. Among all metals, Silver is considered the most reflective.
In Indian culture and traditions, Silver occupies a unique place by virtue of being a rare, precious metal. It is widely gifted on the occasion of marriages and offered as a vow to Gods and Goddesses. Many idols of gods are created with silver, including utility articles which are used on special occasions like Silver plates, spoons, vessels etc. In pujas, Silver holds a special prominence as articles made of Silver are considered holy and ideal for performing religious rituals. In many ways, Silver has been an inseparable part of our culture, for its artistic and monetary value.
Silver smithing refers to the art of turning silver sheet into hollow ware like dishes, cups, bowls, vases, ewers, urns, and many other articles of household silver and jewelry. Silver is used widely to create articles for the purpose of Pooja and religious rituals in Hinduism.Telangana state is home to several jewelry clusters in many towns and cities, where silver articles are made by both silversmiths and goldsmiths. Silversmiths are craftsmen who craft a wide variety of objects from silver.
Process of Making Silver Articles
Silversmiths are involved in the art of making silver. Initially they saw or cut certain shapes from the sterling, including fine silver sheet metal. Later, hammers are used to form the Silver metal evenly over anvils. Silver is further hammered cold, which is done at room temperature. Once the metal becomes hammered, and worked, it becomes hardened, suited ideally to create different shapes for the desired articles. Annealing is the process of heat-treatment which is further used to make the silver soft again. The metal has to be work-hardened, and also annealed occasionally, otherwise it may crack and weaken.
Silver smiths make use of casting techniques for creating handles, knobs, and base for the hollowware they create.After the process of forming and casting, the different pieces are assembled by processes like soldering and riveting. Usually silversmiths in India use charcoal and blow-pipes for the purpose of soldering and annealing. It is a delicate process, and requires great skill and this is the reason why silversmiths are always in demand. The community of Silversmiths in India always innovate, creating novel designs that are appealing and enticing. The demand for Silver articles is always high among customers, and the precious metal continues to be an article of reverence for Indians, of every generation.