A collection of silver table ware items made by soldering silver coins of the Kingdom of Travancore to a wire framework.
Kingdom of Travancore.
The Kingdom of Travancore was an Indian kingdom from c. 870 until 1949. It was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family. At its zenith, the kingdom covered most of modern-day central and southern Kerala. In 1949 Travancore was incorporated into the newly created state of India.
One Chuckram coins.
The Kingdom of Travancore minted a variety of Gold, Silver and Copper Coins. The most prolific issue was of tiny silver 'Chuckrams'. Molten silver, probably obtained by melting down Indian rupee coins, was dropped into cold water. This caused the silver to fracture into small particles. The powdered silver was weighed out and placed into recesses in a large baked clay slab. This slab had thousands of small round recesses to hold the silver. The slab was then placed into an oven, resulting in the production of precisely weighed silver beads. The beads were then struck between coin dies to produce the one chuckram coins. The dies used were made for the larger two chuckram (Velli Fanam) coin, with the result that most of the coins were struck from different parts of the dies.
Images of the coins used to make these items.
Who were these items made for?.
The dates on the coins go right up to the end of the independant Kindom in 1949. All my examples have been found in Britain. No examples have been identified in the former Travancore area. Given that the items all seem to have travelled from Travancore to Britain, and were not made after 1949, my supposition is that the items were all made in Travancore for sale to British Service personnel, terminating in 1949.
What is known of these items in India.
So far as I can determine - nothing at all is known in India itself. The Travancore area is known for Gold Smithing, but has no history of working silver. The fact that the items are made exclusively from Travancore coins, must surely mean that they were made in Travancore. It must be assumed that these very 'British' seeming items were of little interest to Travancore residents, and were all carried home by the departing British. There seems, now, to be no local memory of them.
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