Jaipur specialises in gem cutting and polishing and raw precious stones are imported in considerable quantities and exported in 'ghat'(cut) form to many parts of the world.There are nearly 500 'johri' families and the annual turnover of their trade runs into crores of rupees.The backbone of the trade,however,is about 20,000 lapidaries who depend upon the jewellers for their livelihood.
The lapidary industry here is as old as Jaipur itself.When Maharaja Sawal Jai Singh II, it is said, founded the city in 1728 A.D., he invited artisans to settle down in Jaipur, with a view to stabilising its economy.he encouraged lapidaries of Delhi, who practiced the art at Moghul Court, to migrate to Jaipur.He gave them facilities for settlement and concessions to promote their trade and in certain cases even bestowed jagirs on them.Though most of the lapidaries are Muslims and the jewellers mostly Hindus,their relations have all along been cordial.
The lapidaries are hereditary gem-cutters handling down their art from generation to generation.The training is practical,imparted by father to son,and learning and earning go hand in hand. The tools employed are in contact with the rotating wheel.A convex-shaped brass and bronze wheel similarly operated is used for polishing purposes.
Jaipur has developed as a centre of this industry because lapidary labour here is comparatively cheap.That is why precious stones from abroad are brought here for cutting and polishing.A lapidary is paid on work basis and his earnings range from a rupee to Rs. 10 a day depending upon the nature of the work and the volume of his outturn.
Emerald and Ruby, among the various precious stones,are mainly dealth with in Jaipur.The former are imported from the United States,South Africa and soviet Russia,while the latter chiefly from Burma.Synthetic stones are also cut and polished here.The finished product goes to other jewel trade centres in the country and is often exported abroad.
Discarded remnants of precious stones are in demand by 'vaids' for use in medicinal preparations.Their uses are many and varied and the products are credited with high medicinal value.

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