11.20*10.30 Mm Top Quality Dendritic Agate Unique Piece Oval Cut Gemstone
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11.20*10.30 Mm Top Quality Dendritic Agate Unique Piece Oval Cut Gemstone:
What is Sazar?
Sazar is a Dendritic Agate belonging to the Chalcedony family with hardness of 7 Mohs’. It is a translucent to opaque stone characterized by inclusions of branch-like dendrites. Colors may be clear, white or whitish-gray, with black, brown or greenish brown dendrites. This stone is listed under the semi-precious gems category. The patterns we see on the sazar are either leeching of manganese or iron oxide probably along with waters containing silica in solution which percolates and deposited a siliceous gel in the interior of the rocks. It may also be entrapped fossils of fungus (basically algae). A fungus, which is entrapped between two or more pieces of sazar stone, produces either acid or base. This acid/base makes the stones translucent and acts as inorganic glue which coagulates the separate stones to one. The fossils of fungus left inside the stones looks like patterns of leaves or trees and add beauty to the stone.
Agate is said to be one of the oldest stones to be used in jewelry and has been used for making jewelry, pestles and mortars since the Babylonian civilization. The word ‘agate’ is derived from a Greek word which means ‘happy’. Many stories or myths about its powers have been built around Sazar. In ancient times, it was used in amulets and talismans as people believed that it brought courage, confidence and gave power to the wearer to vanquish enemies and reach heights of fame. Even today people claim that these stones give strength and mental peace to the one who adorns them and wearing them makes God happy. Islamic countries consider it a good talisman and it is considered sacred to them as it finds mention in the holy Quran as a healing stone. It has been claimed to cure ailments like blood pressure, chronic ailments, depression and protect its wearer from all harm.
Where is Sazar found?
The Sazar Stone is found in the banks of river Ken which is situated in Madhya Pradesh India. However, the craft of Sazar Stonework is being practiced in India Only.River Ken is a rich store house of the Sazar stones that took millions of years to form. The Sazar stones are Dendritic Agate. Apart from India the Dendrite Agates deposits are found in Brazil, China, Australia, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Uruguay and the USA. The dendritic agate mined from India is often referred to as 'Mocha stone', as it used to be transported to the western world via the Arabian Harbor of Mocha. Mocha or Mokha is a port city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. Many consider the Banda Sazar Stonework far better and finer than it’s only competitor Montana’s (North America) dendrite agates.
What is the history of Sazar?
Legend has it that Sazar was discovered in India about 400 years ago by an Arab. Enchanted by the tree like patterns, he named it Sazar which, in Arabic, means: tree, plant or shrub. In local parlance it is often called shajar, in Urdu, it is called Haqiq and in Hindi Sphatic. In English, Sazar is known as Dendrite Agate.
The history of life and art of the Sazar stone is ancient. India has been the centre for this stone work for the last 300-400 years. Its history can be traced to the Mughal era.Sazar is referred quite frequently in Urdu Literature.Some mention of Sazar is found in the diaries of Bahadur Shah Zafar. In 1911 Sazar art was exhibited in front of Queen Victoria’s Darbar. Sazar craftsperson Mr. Abdul Gaffar (son of Mr. Abdullah) participated in Victoria coronation fair. Abdullah was an assistant of Nawab Zulfikar Ali Khan Bahadur. In 1920-21 there were 30 families and about 250 crafts persons. After independence this craft vanished and till 1970 became almost extinct. However, in 1973-74 an Iranian businessman came to India unexpectedly and revived it.
As the story goes about 400 years ago at the time of King Kshatrasal his favourite courtesan’s daughter Mastani came to Bundelkhand. Her son, Nawab Zulfikar Ali Khan Bahadur became fond of a stone-cutter named Abdullah and he brought him to Bundelkhand from Maharashtra. Abdullah interacted with the Bundelkhand residents and learned about sazar. At first he cut the stone with an iron bar and found praise and wealth. By 1993, Abdullah's descendants (perhaps of 10th and 11th generations) were earning their livelihood through this work and were called 'Ustad'.
How is Sazar processed?
Collecting the stone to forming the gemstone is a very labour intensive work.
In earlier periods factory owners used to set out for days to camp on the river banks. There they would try to source stones that would yield sazar. Gradually they taught this art to the villagers living on the banks of river Ken. Many of the cowherds who graze cattle on the banks have now learnt the craft of spotting a prospective sazar stone. Factory owners now source the raw stones from these people. The prospectors scout any stone with visibly rusty parallel markings. This is a sign of the stone being an agate. The collection is often carried out after the rainy season to. When it rains heavily and river and stream of that area gets swept a couple times, the soil gets dissolved and flows over rocks or gets steeped onto the bank of the river. Sazar is hidden with many other stones.
The crafts person has to work with a hammer which is used to break the stone. The depositions are found by breaking the strand of every possible stone. It is a very ancient and unscientific method. Often the Sazar also breaks and is rendered either useless or inexpensive. When the top covering of the stone is chipped away, if it shows clear parallel markings the stone is kept for further use. Further chipping may reveal dendrite spots. Only 5% of the stones reveal a good quality sazar while almost 95% stone turns out to be a waste. The good quality stone is then selected for the next process.
After bringing it back to the factory, it is closely sorted and even few impressions are opened by rubbing the stone. Cutting is done near the impression on those stones which have Sazar in deep position. The stone is then sliced. Often blotchy dendrites appear which are of poor quality and hence are rejected. Only the fine fan like dendrites are further processed. A spring steel wire of 23 gauge is wrapped with a 5 feet long wood bow hanging 500 grams weight of stone on one side and alumina or silicon caroffere powder is mixed with water and applied on the stone and the stone is rubbed. This is the process which plays main role in making the Sazar. The wire cutting the stone near the Sazar divides the stone into two parts. The first part is that part in which the Sazar gets revealed. The second part is useless. The stone is again cut more than the estimated size and a thin part of the stone of 2 to 3 yarn thickness is again cut through the bow tied with wire on the 18 inch wooden mooring. After this work the effort for beautification of the Sazar begins. This is the natural creation which is then shaped to form Sazar.
Then carefully avoiding any fault lines, a design is drawn on the stone with a pencil so that the emerging dendrite is showcased in the most effective manner. Usually the contours of the natural Shazar pattern are followed. Designing for pendants is easy as it is a single piece. Since dendrite is natural no two pieces are alike. Hence, designing the eardrops is very challenging, as two pieces have to be matched as near as possible. The designs could be round, oval, heart shaped, pentagon, octagon or square. In local language these are referred to as shaping/designing. In local language these are referred to as round (GOL), oval (BAIJA) heart (PAN), octagon (6MAS), square (CHAOCOR). The largest dendrite that has been found in Banda has been about eight inches in diameter.
Excess stone outside the penciled deign is carefully chipped away by cutting with a wire or breaking bit by bit with a wrench. The shape of the Shazar is classified in three ways. The best complete, best incomplete and spotty, accordingly their price is fixed- Precious, valuable and inexpensive respectively.
It is also crafted in a very old traditional fashion with a wooden bow and a thin steel wire as string called “KAMAN”. Stones are mounted over a wooden stand called “KHUNTA” and sliced by this bow with the help of silicon caroffere powder in 2 to 4 mm thickness. These stone slices are then designed. Trimmed, shaped and polished with utmost care and precision as the depositions are in micron thickness only. This is a tedious and time consuming process because careless chipping may result in broken or misshapen stone. This would mean a total loss of many man hours and efforts.
The shaped stone is now sent for grinding which is done using the machine. In a Patshan the same alumina or silicon caroffere powder which we had used in cutting stone with wire, is applied on the Shazar and it is rubbed on the edges. Grindstone can be either iron or silicon caroffere grinder. Both the surfaces and edges are smoothened with the help of fine power. Finally in place of plaster a woolen cloth wrapped on a round wood is used to polish that gem with the help of cerium oxide or chromium oxide or red oxide. The rough edges are smoothened. Finally the stone is beginning to take shape. But it still looks very rough and the dendrite designs are not sharply visible.
Sanding and Lapping:-
The stone is then mounted on a small lapping machine. During Lapping the stone is ground or rubbed with an abrasive material. The commonly used abrasive in sazar stone is silicon caroffere. This process is repeated number times each time with a fine grade of abrasive.
The lapped and sanded sazar is now ready for polishing. The stone is polished with Red oxide, Cerium Oxide , Tin Oxide and Chromium Oxide.
Who are the artisans behind the craft?
Salute to the keen eye of the artisan who sees through an ordinary looking pebbles and polishes them to perfection. The variety, quality and singularity are so that no two stones are similar in any way. Some goldsmiths set this sazar in gold/silver, to make jewellery like pendants, earrings, rings. Agates are called as ‘anniversary stones’. Rings made out of moss agates are given as anniversary gifts for the 14th anniversary. So now you know the perfect gift for a 14th anniversary celebration! It is a matter of pride that this work is only being done in India
Sazar or Dendritic Agate Gemological Properties:
SiO2 Silicon dioxide
Colorless to whitish-gray
6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale
1.530 to 1.540
2.59 to 2.67
Translucent to opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence:
Up to 0.004
Waxy to dull
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