The timeless art of bone inlay originated centuries ago in the royal palaces of Rajasthan, India. Practised across the regions of Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur, Maharajas once commissioned artisans to create inlay furnishings, such as side tables, cabinets, tables and mirrors, which were so admired for their beauty and intricacy.
Bone inlay is the technique of affixing pieces of hand-carved bone onto items in a mosaic-like design. Coloured resin is used to fill the space around the bone and create a smooth finish. As with all handicrafts — such as woodcarving, rug weaving, embroidering fabrics and making ceramics — bone inlay pieces reflect the cultural identity of the people creating them. The craft is passed down through generations and each piece is handmade and absolutely unique with its own story to tell.
A long-practised craft of the largely vegetarian people of India, the inlay pieces are ethically sourced, often from the discarded bones of animals that died of natural causes. The bone inlay furniture purchased by Early Settler hails from Jodhpur, India where buffalo bones are used. Each and every shipment comes with a Customs certification to ensure the products were made in inspected workshops where the bone was ethically sourced.
The production of bone inlay furniture is meticulous and time-consuming, often taking a month to create a single piece of furniture. It starts with the ethically-sourced bones being hand-carved into the desired shapes. These pieces are then stuck to the timber or metal frame of the furniture in a beautiful pattern by the artisan. After drying, a resin is poured around the bones to create the background, as well as to secure them into place and ensure a sleek finish. All materials used are natural and organic.
Each piece is absolutely exquisite with its own story to tell. Once learning about the manufacturing process, it’s hard not to be in awe of the intricacy and level of skill involved in the ancient art of bone inlay. To relish your timeless treasures for years to come, dust regularly with a soft cloth, avoid positioning your furniture in direct sunlight and if spills occur, use a soft dry cloth immediately and avoid abrasive cleaning products.