On a recent trip to India, I began collecting jewelry for The Tattooed Heart from each place I visited. Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai and Bangalore. Then I reached Tamil Nadu, and just over the border settled for a few weeks in a place called Pondicherry. A truly charmed place, stopping in Pondicherry was meant to be for a variety of reasons. On my second day there I met a man, Baba, of Ali Baba Arts. I had with me some rough sketches by Adam Craft, ideas we had worked on together before I left, for custom jewelry. Baba took a look at them and told me it was possible to get some samples made.
In India, labour is very cheap because there are 1.6 billion people, many of them living below the poverty line. I was conscious of this fact when beginning the jewelry making process, and wanted to go to the jewelry workshop and ask some questions.
As it turns out, being a jeweler in Pondicherry is a pretty great job. The guys working at the workshop had comfortable conditions, had their food and accomodation taken care of, and a substantial daily wage. After 3-4 years training, each apprentice will have the necessary skills to start up their own business, like Ali Baba Arts.
Here are some shots of these awesome guys and their tools, plus some pieces of jewelry now available at The Tattooed Heart.
EVERYTHING is handmade, giving the pieces a real sense of their origins.
First samples of Tattoo Bijou for The Tattooed Heart