So we have all come across pietra dura, common term "inlay" at some points in our lives. And this decorative art of colorful gemstones carefully set in stone, blending together in harmony has never failed to mesmerize us. It's simply breathtaking. Streets in Florence, Italy and in Agra, India are full of shops owned by families who have excelled at Pietra dura or inlay for generations. Most admirers Ca’Pietraof this exquisite and lavish decorative art are not even aware of the painstaking procedure required to transform a simple rock into a collector's item.
The process begins with client programming to find out the taste, likes and color preferences of the client. A sketch then artist illustrates a few schematic design options either manually or using Autocad. It's funny how in this technology driven world, most artists still prefer their renderings manually. Other times, designs are drafted and already finalized by architects and interior designers. Once a design is approved for making, an artist roughly conceives the color scheme running through the design keeping in mind specific needs of the customer and directions given by the designer.
After repetitive revisions of color scheme by an experienced personal, making finally kicks off with marking the selected sliced rocks of gemstones as per the approved design and last color scheme running through the design. Sliced gemstones are then cut and shaped manually with emery wheels according to markings. An individual motif might have several detailed pieces to it and might take several days just in the making. Once motifs to be inlaid are ready, work is passed on to a different set of artists that only specialize in inlaying the elaborate gemstone motifs into a base surface i.e. Wood veneer or marble. The prepared motifs are then glued on the base surface for precise tracing of the design on the base material. At this point, the clients are called Ca’Pietraupon for one last approval. After the final consent, the base material is then patiently chiseled out up to 1/8" only in the traced out areas avoiding everything else so that the motifs would precisely settle into the base eventually forming a flat surface.
Motifs are glued using long-lasting bonding agents. After leaving the product overnight for drying, it is sent for polishing on polishing plants. In case of wood & veneer, polishing is done manually which can take up to days. The product is then scrutinized for flaws if any, and rectified. After hundreds of painstaking men-hours, and a final buff, the final product is packed and delivered to its proud owner.