Little India’s Last Traditional Jewellery Maker
38, Queen Street, George Town.
Little India is famed for its rows of India jewellery stores that carry a wide range of imported as well as locally made designs but Thana's Goldsmith is a treasure trove that stands out. Believed to be the last traditional goldsmith left in the area, jeweller M.Raju continues to ply his trade at the shop he lovingly named after his wife.
With the help of an assistant, Raju can usually be found hunched over an old wooden table, deep in concentration.
Creating intricate jewellery with the most basic tools of the trade, he is guided only by a steady hand, keen eye for detail and a passion for beauty. A trusty hammer, files, screws, acid, sandpaper, water and lamp – all of which have seen better days, are all he needs (that and an abundance of talent) to produce custom-made pieces commissioned by his regular clients.
The craftsman is usually busy working up to 15 hours a day during wedding seasons or major festivals as orders come pouring in.
The process may not seem complicated (using a burner, Raju melts the gold, pours it into a mould and starts shaping and cutting the desired design before giving it a final polish) but it is (like most traditional trades), very time consuming.
Unlike modern machine-made jewellery, Raju’s pieces are special because each one is a painstaking labour of love for the fourth generation traditional goldsmith.