Silver jewellery & Artefacts are manufactured in almost every city in India. Cities like Salem, Rajkot, Agra and Mathura are the major hubs of silver jewellery manufacturers. These places are popular for jewellery such as anklets, rings, toe-rings, chains, bracelets, and pendants while Jaipur, Kolhapur, and Nathdwara are popular for vessels, diyas, artifacts, and different gift items. This article guides you about the processes followed by silver jewellery manufacturers in making silver anklets (also called silver Payal). Before we dive into the Anklet-making process, let us learn something about its origin.
SILVER ORIGIN & IT'S APPLICATIONS
Silver is a lustrous white metal. Its Latin name is “Argentum” which means shiny or white. It is said to be existing for as long as 8000 years.
It’s available in the form of pure silver bars from refineries who extract this metal from ores and alloys made of old jewellery or industrial rejections. Few major refineries operating India are MMTC Pamp, Mewat. Hindustan Zinc Ltd. (HZL) and Hindustan Platinum Pvt. Ltd.
Silver is used for various applications, such as:
- Jewellery & Artefacts: It is used in making jewellery, cutlery, gifts, temple carvings, etc. In ancient times, rules had their throne made of silver and even used silver as currency.
- Medicine: It was used as an important anti-microbial long before antibiotics were brought into use. Many compounds of silver are used in medicines to help cure various diseases by pharmaceuticals companies.
- Water purification: It minimizes bacterial growth in water and promotes healing.
- Electronics: Being a good conductor of electricity, silver is used in various electronic gadgets. It is used to make circuit boards and motherboards for mobile phones, televisions, laptops, etc.
- Industrial uses: It has various industrial applications such as ball bearing, batteries, wires, etc. Silver is also plated on various industrial components to improve their conductivity.
HISTORY OF SILVER ANKLETS
- Anklets have been worn by women in India since 4000 B.C. It is commonly called Payal, Pattilu (in Telugu), Kolusu (in Tamil), and has many other native names.
- Anklets were worn by men and women. In Africa and the middle-east, men wore anklets to indicate their social status.
- In olden times, women believed that wearing Silver Anklets destroys the negative energy inside their homes.
- Wealthy women and queens wore diamonds/ navratna in their anklets.
As time passed by, anklets have been styled in different ways, and by using different materials. They are even worn with high-end pieces like heels, boots, coats, etc. They are designed to look fashionable and bohemian. The traditional anklet, fancy anklet, beads anklet, seashell anklet, pearl anklet, etc. are few of the popular names in the market, that is of course, eye-catching and unique in its style.
MANUFACTURE SILVER ANKLETS
Ornaments manufacturing is a complex process that includes lots of labour, machinery, and expertise at different levels which is passionately executed by a trained team of artisans and helpers. Designer silver anklets not only please the audience but also reflects the passion and hard work put in by silver jewellery manufacturers. An anklet and its components travel through more than 20 different workstations and 30 workers before it is ready for dispatch.
Following are the major steps followed by silver jewellery manufacturers in making an ornament such as anklet-
- Silver melting
- Wire and sheet drawing
- Die stamping and cutting
- Hooks making
- Balls making
- Logo cutting
- Decoration and soldering
- Silver chiselling
- Silver enamelling
- Silver polishing
MELTING: FIRST PROCESS TO MANUFACTURE SILVER ANKLET
The main purpose of melting silver is to transform the silver into different shapes and other such applications. Silver is available in different forms. One form of silver is obtained from refineries and local markets in the shape of bars. These bars are mixed with copper and zinc in the desired ration by weight such as 999,925, 834, etc. Fine silver has a millesimal fineness of 999 (contains 99.9% silver), Britannia silver has a fineness of 958 (consists 95.8% silver), etc.
These mixtures are then melted in a foundry crucible using thermal or electricity-powered commercial heating furnaces. The crucible is highly resistant to heat and is made of clay, graphite, etc. The crucible plays an important role in metal production.
Silver alloy mixture melts at high temperature (melting point of silver is 961.8 degrees Celsius) and it takes around two hours to melt 100Kgs of the silver alloy mixture. The molten alloy is added with flux to avoid slag formation and stirred using a graphite rod to form a uniform alloy mixture. Since the method involves a lot of heat emission, the workers take serious precautions like wearing proper boots, gloves, face, and eye-protecting devices.
First of all, the molds are pre-heated using inflammable hardening agents and then the molten silver is poured into the molds of desired shape and size. Making silver rods are the first step to manufacture silver anklet.
WIRE & SHEET DRAWING
If you will observe silver ornaments, you will find it decorated with different shapes of wires or flowers or other such attractive designs. These components are made out of silver wires and sheets were drawn out of silver rods. Wire drawing is a metalworking process that reduces the area of silver by pulling the wire through a rolling machine. The silver rods of desired weight and size is passed repeatedly through the machine until the required diameter or length of wire is obtained.
The rolls of wire are heated a couple of times during the process as rolling makes the wire vulnerable. Similarly, rods are rolled into sheets of desired thickness using sheet rolling machines and collected in sets for further processing.
COMPONENT STAMPING & CUTTING USING DIE'S
Die stamping and cutting process is used to make components of various shapes and sizes, out of above rolled silver sheets and wires. A single sheet or wire length, called the part piece, is first pushed through a stamping machine. This machine is fitted with a stamping die, a special precision tool that engraves or emboss a desired pattern or profile on to the sheet. These desired shapes are then cut out of the piece parts using cutting, trimming, or notching tools of the machine. Silver component stamping is a cold-forming process thus requires no heat.
The components that result from the silver sheets are also called sheet metal components. Often these components are solder together to make silver balls and bells, also called ghungroos. A mix of more than 2000 designer silver components is used by silver jewellery manufacturers to deliver the desired elegance in an anklet.
MAKING SILVER BALLS
Ornaments are decorated using various component and each component plays a vital role in preparing the designs that please the eyes of an onlooker. Small silver balls are also used to serve the very purpose, made with the help of silver wires. Small lumps of wire are rolled between two ruled metal slabs with the help of machines. These lumps take the shape of the curved cavity in these slabs and slowly turns into solid silver beads or balls.
Hooks are an important accessory in silver anklets and are widely used for fulfilling design requirements to manufacture silver anklets. Many different shapes of hooks are made using wires of different gauges depending upon the need, such as:
- C hook to combine components together in form of a chain.
- O hook to attach dangling trinkets to the anklet.
- S hook, usually used as support hook to hold the anklet around the ankle
MARKING & LABELLING
The logo is used to label the silver anklets. These are the identification marks of the manufacturer stamped into die-cut pieces. These marks are in the form of a combination of letters and numbers that act as a brand name of the anklet. Few of the labels used by Silver Charms to mark its anklets of different purity are DCR, SCK, GJ/ S, RJh /70 & CS.
SOLDERING: MAIN PROCESS TO MANUFACTURE SILVER ANKLETS
Single anklets are designed using various types of chains, silver beads, stamped flowers, and casting flowers before soldering. These components are first cleaned using a hot acid solution to remove the oil and tarnishing of any oxidized deposits. These pieces are arranged with the help of tweezers(as per the desired design) over a metal tray filled with wood ash.
Wood ash is used because it absorbs the excess flame from the workbench while soldering. Components of anklets are soldered with the help of soldering alloy. It is an alloy for silver and other metals such as copper and zinc which melts at relatively low temperatures, unlike silver.
Soldering alloys are available in the form of wires and sheets. These sheets are cut into small pieces, dipped into flux, and placed between the chain with the help of tweezers. All the pieces are heated with a thermal torch until the solder alloy melts and combines the components with the chain. The readied product is rinsed several times in hot acidic water to remove any flux or oxidation particles. During this process, trained professionals of silver jewellery manufacturers, check anklets repeatedly for damages and repair them simultaneously to complete the lot. These raw anklets are further dribbled to remove uneven surfaces and bring out the shine and lustre.
Chiseling is a process of adding luster to silver anklets by chipping small slices of metal from the chains and components surface. For this, a handheld or machine rotor mounted, cold chisel tool of tempered steel or beryllium copper is used on clamped silver anklets. Different types of chisel tools are used to create various patterns such as flat chisel, cross cut chisel, round nose chisel and diamond point chisel on the anklet surfaces, as desired.
ENAMELING SILVER ANKLETS
Enameling is the technique of decorating anklets using different colors that gives them an attractive look. It is a practice of filling color into the metal cavities of the various stamped and vacuum casting silver components used in the anklet. Enamelling is done with a steady hand under utmost concentration. The anklets are then heated inside an oven to harden the enamel into a glass-like substance which gives them a glossy finish.
PLATING: FINAL PROCESS TO MANUFACTURE SILVER ANKLETS
The final step to manufacture silver anklets is silver electroplating. Once the anklets are checked, enameled, and cleaned, they are prepared for polishing. Silver polishing is the process of electroplating the anklets with pure silver to deliver a shiny and dazzling look to the silver anklets. The process involves submerging the anklets, as electrodes, into a bath of silver ions which gets deposited on them when electricity is passed through the solution. The concentration of silver ions inside the solution is maintained by submerging a pure silver bar as a separate electrode. During the process, various other salts are mixed into the solution to give a desired luster to the anklets. Post this, the anklets are then rinsed and dribbled to remove the uneven deposit from them and dried using centrifugal driers and wooden powder.
Once plated and cleaned, anklets undergo a quality check for damaged hooks, balls, components, or loose parts. The damaged anklets are then repaired, cleaned, enameled, polished, and checked again. This cycle is repeated until the whole lot is damage free. The ready silver anklets are then packed into Silver Charms designer cards with labels and stacked into boxes before dispatching.
Silver Charms is one of the leading companies that pioneers in manufacturing a wide range of silver anklets, silver neck chains and silver bracelets. The company maintains over 1000+ designs in anklets majorly categorized into Bridal Anklets, Die Anklets, Khushboo Anklets, Trendy Anklets, etc. The bracelet and neck chain collection of Silver Charms ranges from hand made to Cuban (curb), Figaro, Box, Snake, etc. types of machine chain patterns.