Bidriware gets its name from Bidar where the craft originated. It is the technique of inlaying silver on zinc or copper, a craft which travelled from Iran to Rajasthan in the 13th century AD and from there to Bijapur in Karnataka. The craft flourished during the rule of the Deccan Sultanate.
Bidriware involves a complicated sequence of metal inlay on a zinc and tin alloy base. There are four steps: melting the alloy, casting the article, engraving and inlaying the design, oxidizing. The craftsmen achieve the black colour, which is characteristic of bidriware, by polishing the article with a mixture of bidri matti, a type of mud found in the Bidar fort, ammonium chloride and a mixture of ingredients called navasaram. Coconut oil is rubbed in to enhance the blackness. Bidriware designs are truly exotic and have been influenced by Mughal motifs of geometrical and floral patterns.
The range of bidriware includes boxes in different shapes, ash trays, bangles, vases and goblets.