VISAKHAPATNAM: Speaking in a mixture of broken Hindi and Telugu, this couple is seen at the entrance of Crafts Bazar 2020 selling what they called ‘beach jewellery’. Coming all the way from Kerala, they showcased jewellery made of oyster shells, Vishnu conches, Laxmi conches, weed and some other material which many consider as ocean waste. “Many people put away the oyster shells after scooping out the pearls. But we peel the outer layer of the shells and make many items with the leftover—a shiny stone. The accessories include hair clips, key chains, toys among others,” Binu said.
Women and girls are making a beeline to the oyster jewellery stall at the Crafts Bazaar. The jewellery is not only attractive, but also sits lightly on one’s pocket. This Malayali couple has been making jewellery and accessories for the past 12 years. “My wife makes almost all the items that we sell. Oyster shells are of no use after the pearls are extracted. But we utilise the shells. I believe we can make something out of everything that nature gives us,” Binu said.
Elucidating on the process of making the jewellery, Binu said, “Most jewellery that we make is from oyster shells and we use a knife to sculpt or mould it into the desired shape. However, for some items such as bangles, we use certain shells. It takes precision, skill and time to polish the shells and mould them as per requirement. It is not an easy job,” Binu said.
The couple are now imparting training to other women, especially fisherwomen, in jewellery making. The Kerala government funds the training sessions. The couple took some training classes in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Fishing is not always a stable profession; there many uncertainties. So we thought we should equip them and make them financially independent,” Binu added.
When queried, if the duo would train the women in the State in making oyster shell jewellery. “We are ready to teach anyone. A minimum of 20 people are required to start a session. I taught some people in Andhra Pradesh who wanted to learn out of interest. However, most of them did not continue,” Binu said. The couple said that they will certainly teach people of Andhra Pradesh if the government contacts them regarding this or anyone who operates training sessions.
The couple also sell hand-made jewellery. “Most people think hand-made items are costly. We are only charging for the effort we put in and the quality we offer to the customers. There is noting wrong in that? There are art forms that are many decades old; we cannot afford to lose them,” said Binu.