Naturally Strung

Naturally Strung

Polymer Clay 

You all might have played with clay as children, only to be scolded by your mother. Polymer clay, however, has changed the game. Not for children, but for adults. But first thing first. Polymer clay is a kind of modeling clay that can be hardened. It does not contain any clay minerals. There is a growing crop of designers and jewellery enthusiasts who are getting their hands dirty with this clay, which is essentially made from the mixture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticiser. A pigment is added to give it some colour. Since this clay is softer, it is easier to craft and mould into different shapes and sizes. And once it is baked in a kiln or oven, the clay takes a sturdy form that can be used in any which way, especially jewellery. There is one more thing that makes polymer clay a favourable medium for making jewellery. It is non-toxic. Many Indian and international designers  have been dabbling into this particular kind of jewellery. There are brands specifically into polymer clay jewellery. Now, the catch is that you cannot wear this jewellery while swimming. In fact, you will have to keep it away from water. Store the jewellery in a box and cushion it with cotton. Also, don’t let them fall from a height.


Remember Steven Spielberg directed Jurassic Park and the old man with a stick that had a mosquito stuck in resin, mounted on top? What that man had in his hand was something that has become a popular form of jewellery off late. However, the resin used to create jewellery is not natural but made from liquid plastic that turns solid on adding hardener. Working mostly with two types of resins for jewellery making—resin plus hardener and epoxy resin—designers have achieved something extremely beautiful. Not just this, small things such as leaves, stones, 3D printed stainless steel and wood are also infused in it making the jewellery very dramatic. Some designers are also experimenting with bioresins these days, which are more non-toxic. Instead of petroleum-based materials, bioresins contain natural, renewable materials that are actually the waste of industrial processes such as wood pulp and bio-fuels production. Like most jewellery, the ones with resin should not come in contact with water, direct sunlight and harsh chemicals and cleaning products.


For those who have watched the film P.K., it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the pendant shown in the film might be made out of parts of meteorite. For the uninitiated, an alien, played by actor Amir Khan, comes to earth using a shiny pendant, which, most understandably so, gets stolen. Now, that was an alien and his sob story. Some designers are actually procuring meteorite fragments to craft stunning pieces of jewellery. Essentially there are three different kinds of meteorites that are more often than not found on a site of some asteroid activity. First kind is stony, which are silica rich chondrites and achondrites. The second is the iron category, which is the rare kind. And the third is pallasite, which is a stone-iron combination. And then there are space diamonds that are rough carbonados deposited on earth during an asteroid event. A lot of brands such as Ferbers, Abraxas Rex, Moissanite&Co., Jacob Albee and Bovet Watches have been rolling out jewellery made of space debris. The trick to buy authentic meteorite jewellery is to do a magnet-iron test, since all of them are magnetic in nature. Keep the jewellery away from water. 


Traditionally, rattan has been used to make furniture and sometimes accessories such as bags and belts. But, given its ease of crafting into different forms and an intrinsic quality of beautiful surface texturing, rattans are being experimented on by jewellery designers. Since rattan has a climbing habit, it is very flexible. While fashion houses have been using rattan to the maximum effect, trying to craft it-bags out of it, jewellery designers are using weaving and braiding techniques to create earrings, pendants, hair jewellery, chokers and bracelets. If the source of rattan are different, the designers can create jewellery in different colours such as brown, ivory etc. Minimal jewellery with an added bohemian touch, the jewellery made with rattan is extremely lightweight. Rattan can also be easily mixed and matched with metals such as silver and sterling silver as well other natural materials such as wood, pearls etc. Made mostly of palm tree leaves, the rattan jewellery should be at a safe distance from water, perfumes, makeup and sweat (while running or working out at the gym).

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.