A traditional art form with just a few master experts left, Marble Inlay is a delicate process that involves carefully cutting and engraving marble shapes by hand.
The process of Inlay involves the skill of several specialists for ach time-consuming step. The pre-etching process involves the shaping of the marble, the composition of the individually created design and the coating of the marble with geru, a red mineral colour that allows for the etched lines to stand outin contrast. Inlay work begins with a design that is cut out on a brass sheet, which is then placed on marble and drawn. Next, the marble is carved out, using the most basic of tools - a set of chisels and a set-square. Slices of coloured stones(precious and semi-precious) are then delicately laid into the marble with adhesive. Before laying in the stone the etched is filled with cement, the marble is lightly heated and the stoneis set.
The semi-precious stones, including malachite, cornelian, jasper, pearl, coral and others, are ground and shaped on a hand-operated emery wheel to form the delicate elements ofthe pattern. Once the Inlay work is completed and has dried, it is time for the surface and edges to be polished and shined. The more skilled the artisan, the more precise and detailed the ornaments he creates.