Bangles, inflexible round-shaped bracelets, are eminent accessory worn by women across India, then how Rajasthan, a state known for its vibrant culture, can be left without it. Indeed, Just alike other factors, bangles of Rajasthan, too, have an entity of their own. Both married women and young girls are patrons of designer bangles, and wear them on special occasions and events, matching them with their ethnic attire.
Although there is no limitation on the material when it comes to bangles, a preference towards lac is prominent among Rajasthanis. In fact, there are some rituals and occasions (like bridal shower or baby shower) on which wearing lac bangles is considered auspicious, if not mandatory. Furthermore, on these special occasions, a unique color combination of Lac bangles too is much sought after. For instance, odd numbers of maroon (or red) bangles (usually three) paired with green bangles on either end of the set is the most famous color combination of traditional lac bangles. The set is locally known as Gulali Chooda, and has greater religious significance than any other colored lac bangles.
The religious significance of the lac bangles in Rajasthan has made it a hub of the same. Nowadays, several variations of designer Lac bangles are available in the local markets of Rajasthan. In fact, patron of the lac bangles, from around the world, usually converge towards Rajasthan to buy them.
The process of making lac bangles is as flexible as its maintenance. The same rule applies to resizing of Lac bangles and to its mending, making the ornament most durable of its kind. All these reasons make lac the favorite substance of bangle-making for the womenfolk of Rajasthan, who are required to wear bangles daily.
Though the maintenance of Lac bangles is quite easy, the process that goes into its making is quite sophisticated. Great number of insects like Laccifer Lacca, or Tachardia lacca is bred together in an observed environment where they are fed to some specific flora. These insects secrete a scarlet resinous substance over the branches of the trees, which after getting accumulated, creates a hard coating over them.
These branches, known as sticklac, are then cut from the trees and thereafter are crushed, sieved and washed numerous times. The product thus prepared is pure lac, which will then be crafted by the designers into round shapes, studded with some embellishments, usually tiny glass crystals, and then sent off to market. To get a visual insight of the later part of the process see this video here.