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  • Five Ways to Differentiate between Fake & Authentic Handicrafts and Artworks

    Each year, hundreds of artists and craftsmen go out of business. Marginalised by intense competition and a lack of sufficient administrative support, these unrecognised heroes who have played a significant part in the preservation of the cultural heritage that the Indian people are so proud of are losing out. Counterfeiting and the mass production of cheap imitations have also hurt the industry.  You can make a difference - support the artists and craftsmen preserving India’s culture by purchasing authentic art and craft.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    1)    Chikankari

    This beautiful craft comes from Lucknow, a royal city located in Uttar Pradesh, and is used to signify femininity and royalty. The pastel colours and detailed embroidery. When shopping for authentic handmade Chikankari, look for shadow stitch, crisscross embroidery and French knots. If there is any unevenness in the fabric or lose threading, it hasn’t been handmade. This also applies to most hand weaved and embroidered fabrics.

    2)    Silk.

    At times, it is possible to differentiate real silk from artificial silk by rubbing it in your hands if it emits a clear sound, it’s most probably real. Real silk is also highly susceptible to wrinkling. Crumple it up and release it, if the fabric doesn’t spring back to its original state quickly and wrinkles, it’s likely that it is silk. Burn it. You could take a small piece of the fabric from the fringe or pull a knot if the item is a rug, burn it. Take care to note the smell of the smoke and colour of the residue. If the sample is authentic silk, the ash should form a crisp black ball of ash and the smell should be similar to that of burning hair.

    3)    Gold

    For any handcraft made from gold, make a small indentation on the surface and add a drop of liquid nitric acid. If the area turns green, then whatever you're about to buy is not real gold. If it turns milky, then the product is made from over sterling silver. Only pure gold will not react with nitric acid.  Though effective, these tests do have their weaknesses. Besides the tests, it is often advisable to seek the advice of a professional before acquiring gold handicrafts.

    4)    Silver

    When silver is tapped with a metallic object, it produces a clear ringing sound, cheaper metals will only produce a dull sound. As with Gold, it is always wise to seek the qualified opinion of a certified professional before making a purchase.

    5)    Paintings

    For paintings, the buyer must know the artist and their style of work. Watch for inconsistencies in the framing and signature. Observe the colours in the painting. Not all the colours available today were possible in the past. Art enthusiasts often use colour charts to identify a colour that didn’t exist at the time the painting was supposedly made. Turn the painting over, what kind of surface was it painted on. Does it look and feel aged enough? Considering these factors could help avoid paying a small fortune for an imitation.

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