The Retail Jeweller Education


Many an artists are born but don’t find a path to realizing their dreams. ‘Hunnarshaala’ literally meaning skill shop, endeavored teaching the skill of kaarigari (craftsmanship) to students who are gifted artisans and interested in the gem and jewellery industry.

 

The institute’s foundation was laid by Gagubhaai Soni in 1935 in a bid to teach the much guarded skill of kaarigari amongst jewellers. Vithalbhaai Soni, the third generation in the lineage who has been teaching and managing the institute, elaborated on how the institute took birth, “We have been in the business of kaarigari since centuries; seven generations before my grandfathers were sought after kaarigars. He started this institute because he believed that a kaarigar would die but his skill should live through generations.”

 

Rajkot has been the traditional cluster for jewellery manufacturing since ages and hence, the natural choice for opening an institute which teaches the art of kaarigari. Their family, originally from Morbi district in Gujarat have been skilled artisans since centuries. “We have not hired anyone to teach the students, my father, my son and me, we are the teachers, trainers and the managers of the institute,” says Vithalbhaai. When asked as to why have they not hired personnel to teach, Jitendra, the fifth and the current generation involved with the institute said, “A salaried person will not do a job as good as the family; besides teaching this art has been a passion for our family since generations.”

 

Jitendra Soni

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 

They teach students how to go about the work of goldsmithing from scratch which involves drawing, hand engraving (nakkashi), aari cutting, stone setting and machine cutting. Depending on the course a student takes up, the completion of the course could take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years. Students have the option of taking up only one skill, for instance- drawing or hand engraving or go through the training period of learning the entire skill of hand- made jewellery. The learning period also depends on the student’s learning capabilities which need to be supported with their talent. Jitendra elaborates, “We neither have fixed curriculums nor do we engage in mass teaching. Each student is given different designs; until he or she does not complete the design with the desired finesse and perfection, we don’t proceed further. On an average, a student takes close to 2 years to complete the entire cycle of making jewellery.”

 

Apart from teaching how to make hand-made jewellery, extensive training is also given in machine manufactured jewellery. The training includes crafting and designing on facading and milling machines, also known as engraving machines. Under this department, the students are taught how to operate different machines which enable the making of jewellery in bulk meant mainly for exports. The institute has four big machines meant only for teaching purposes. When asked about the admission criteria, Vithalbhai mentioned, “We admit students around the year depending on whether we will be able to give individual attention to each student. As and when, the places vacate, we admit new students; not only do students from in and around Gujarat come to us, we have also trained international students.”

 

“The courses have helped a vast number of people realize their dream. A considerable amount of students are now established jewelers or have taken up jobs in jewellery shops. We hope to cater to the jewellery industry for generations to come and keep the spirit of kaarigari alive,” Jitendra concluded.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

                                                                                                                                         Kritika Ajmani

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