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Inlay Art

Pietra Dura or Inlay Art is the art of Inlaying semi-precious stones in marble or wood.

We at Mumtaz Gallery are specialised in this ancient Inlay art, and creating beautiful masterpieces in the form of centre tables, dining tables, beautiful inlaid flooring, and coaters.

The Inlay art is a very delicate work, which requires a lot of patience and years of experience to inlay the semi-precious stones in the shape of flowers and motifs.

How is Inlay Art / pietra dura made?

The basic principle of pietra dura is to arrange cut stones into a pattern in such a way that the joins between them are invisible and the resultant pattern appears two dimensional. The major steps involved are as follows:

First, the pattern will be designed and then traced. The colored stones are cut into varying shapes, according to the design, of roughly the same thickness.

Cutting would have traditionally been done with an iron wire, used in combination with a variety of different abrasive pastes, to keep the edges of the stones smooth.

The design will then be cut out of the backing stone. The majority of pietra dura work uses black Belgian marble as the backing stone. The colored stones are then inserted into the spaces where the design has been cut out.

Once the stones have been inlaid, they will be glued in and any gaps filled with gesso to strengthen the back of the panel. The completed plaque will then be polished with abrasive stones and waxed in order to smooth out the surface of the piece.

Pietra dura panels are normally flat, though there are occasions when they are arranged in a kind of low relief: often this kind of stonework is seen on furniture.

The real skill in pietra dura work is in choosing, cutting, and inlaying the stones. The joins between the stones have to be practically invisible: this can be done by cutting the mosaic pieces at an angle so that they fit together like a kind of jigsaw.

In more impressive pieces, the maker will choose and arrange the stones in such a way that their veining will create naturalistic details, such as shadows and tonal variation. This is where the art of pietra dura most closely approaches painting.


Inlay Art Process

Inlaying is a 4 step process.

  1. Cutting out a design on the stone slab.
  2. Making of grooves on the surface as per the design.
  3. Shaping of semi precious stones using emery wheels to fit into the grooves.
  4. Finally of the semi precious stones on the marble surface.

Our Products

Mumtaz Gallery has a a range of marble handicrafts, makrana marble and Granite.