OMishka products are handmade and created from using mainly natural materials. Each product is made with the finest quality and with the highest standard.
Botanically speaking a coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe. It is not a tree since there is no bark, branches or secondary growth. A coconut takes around 11 to 12 months to reach maturity. Coconuts are rich in iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, manganese, mineral salts and beta-carotene. The colour of the coconut varies from a yellow-beige through mid and dark browns to almost black depending on the stage of its development. OMishka uses many different types of coconut. Earrings are made from the puttee which is a smaller relative of the coconut.
Horn is an organic and biodegradable material that needs special care such as being stored in a cool and dry place. Usually black in colour but can also be translucent grey with an orange or greenish tint. It polishes to a very shiny finish and is both strong and durable due to the fibrous structure of the material. Horn is made primarily from keratin fibrous material similar to that found in fingernails, hair and feathers. This horn is sourced from the domestic water buffaloes found in Africa and Asia. This is not to be confused with the great American buffalo which is an endangered species. Water buffaloes are used as ploughs animals as well as raised for milk and meat in some areas. The horn used to produce ornamental jewellery is a by-product of these animals and they are not harmed or killed for this. In fact these animals are treated with utmost respect. Horn has been used for centuries across a vast number of cultures as body adornments and ornamental jewellery. It was also one of the first materials to be used for this purpose.
Bone is a semi-hard and porous organic material made of calcium phosphate and collagen fibre. It is light weight and can be carved into a variety of shapes. Bone products come in shades of white such as ivory to a cream colour and has a similar finish to horn. It can be slightly more brittle than horn yet still a strong material. The bone used to produce this ornamental jewellery comes from cows which are raised by the meat, milk and leather industries. Equally to horn the bone is a by-product of domesticated animals. The animals are not harmed at any stage to obtain the bone.
Ornamental jewellery made from wood are light weight and of a vast versatility. The hardness of the wood will depend on the type of wood being used. There are many different types of wood which are used for this purpose including Palm wood (Coconut wood), Black wood, Indian Rosewood, Sandalwood, Ghana wood, Pacific Oak wood and Olive Wood.
Palm wood (Coconut wood) varies from pale beige with thick orange veins through to a dark brown with beige veins.
Black wood is very black in colour and looks like ebony. It is important not to confuse this material with horn. It is a great alternative for people who don’t use animal products.
Indian Rosewood is either a mixed dark brown or dark red hardwood with a natural shine.
Sandalwood is beige in colour and slightly oily with a distinctive sweet fragrance. Sandalwood is not used for any piercing jewellery but is used for necklaces and bracelets. It naturally occurs in Eastern India and is used in many different ways in the spiritual traditions of the east. It is considered beneficial for meditation, calming and focusing the mind. It is also used in incense in temples. Sandalwood paste is used in many rituals including fire ceremonies and to anoint the forehead as a blessing as well as to make a design symbolic to particular religious sects. The oil is one of the best fragrant aids to meditation. A drop or two can be applied to either the forehead, the temples or rubbed between the eyebrows before beginning meditation. It is a way to set the stage and prepare the mind to begin its inward journey.
Ghana wood originates in Ghana and is light in colour and harder than most other types of wood.
Pacific Oak wood is black in colour and can only be found in Asia.
Olive wood originates from olive trees and is an especially hard wood which therefore guarantees longevity. It is also particularly beautiful because of its texture and variation with its natural sandy colours. The Olive tree is often used as a symbol for peace. According to the Bible a dove brought an olive branch to Noah to show that the flood was over.
Brass is an alloy (mix) of copper and zinc and it is nickel free. Most horn instruments are made from brass for example the tuba and the saxophone. It can be produced in a range of colours from deep red to golden yellow depending on the polishing process of the metal. It can be formed into any desired shape and form whilst retaining a high strength. This makes it is one of the most popular metals to be used in creating jewellery. Oxidation and slight design variances are part of the allure of these distinctive pieces. The brass is then polished leaving the black colouring only in the grooves of the product. This allows tiny details and patterns to stand out. Brass is deemed to be ok for sensitive skin.
This is the most common form of silver consisting of 92.5% silver with the rest made up in base metals usually copper. As the copper oxidises the sterling silver will tarnish but can be easily brought back to its full shine. The copper element of sterling silver also makes for a much stronger alloy than pure silver. Sterling silver is great for jewellery making as it is so strong and malleable.
OMishka jewellery that is silver-plated starts out as brass and is then coated with a microscopic layer of sterling silver using electricity. It is a process known as electroplating. The plated components are nickel free meaning that this ok for people with sensitive skin. All are high quality silver-plated products but still much less expensive than the sterling silver options. The coating of silver over the brass is nice and thick and again the metal is polished leaving the black colouring only in the grooves of the product allowing tiny details and patterns to stand out.
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre. The plant is a shrub native to tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world including India. Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds. The fibre is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. It has been spun, woven, and dyed since prehistoric times. It clothed the people of ancient India, Egypt, and China. Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.
Silk is a natural protein fibre, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fibre of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. Silk is produced by several insects, but generally only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles thus producing different colours.
Yak fibre is produced by a yak which is a long haired bovine mainly found in the Himalayan region. Yaks survive at altitudes that sometime exceed five thousand metres in the harsh highlands of the Himalayas. Over centuries they have developed a warm coat that helps them survive such challenging conditions – fibre developed by nature to survive its extremes. Domesticated yaks are vital to the survival of the nomads, indigenous people and culture of the Himalayan region. They provide milk and meat for sustenance, dung as a primary source of fuel and heat, brute force and agility to make trade and exploration in the high mountains possible and wool for the tents, ropes and rugs that help provide shelter against the bitter winds and snow. Recently the fibre has also been used in the garment industry to produce clothing and accessories. Yak wool has similar properties to other animal fibres including breathability and static-resistance but has been proven to outperform sheep wool in a number of areas – warmth, softness, strength, breathability and odour resistance.
Kantha is a straight stitch quilting technique made in India. Using simple running stitches in different variations artful, thrifty quilters sew used saris of cotton and silk into beautiful home furnishings. Stitched together with beautiful, multi coloured thread they brighten decor and add to the beauty of your home. Kantha is as old as the first woman who took her old sari or one given to her and lovingly made it into an object of comfort for her family.
- This Kantha stitching I have now combined with the yak wool to make beautiful Kantha yak wool shawls and throws in stunning colours created from natural plant extracts.