Inlay Work of Agra, also known as Pietra dura or Prachinkari is the decorative art of using cut and fitted precious or semi-precious stones like marbles to form images.
The stonework, after the work is assembled loosely, is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been "sliced and cut in different shape sections; and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible". Stability is achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlock, rather like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held tautly in place by an encircling 'frame'.
Many different coloured stones, particularly marbles, were used, along with semi-precious and even precious stones. Pietra dura items are generally crafted on green, white or black marble base stones. Typically, the resulting panel is completely flat, but some examples where the image is in low relief were made, taking the work more into the area of hardstone carving. This work first appeared in Rome in 16th century.
This art form is incorporated to make wood inlay necklaces. Beautiful inlay designs are engraved on wood piece. Marble or semi-precious stone is used to
By the early part of the 17th century, smaller objects produced by the Opificio were widely diffused throughout Europe, and as far East to the court of the Mughals in India, where the form was imitated and reinterpreted in a native style; its most sumptuous expression is found in the Taj Mahal. In Mughal India, pietra dura was known as Parchin Kari; literally 'inlay' or 'driven-in' work.
Due to the Taj Mahal being one of the major tourist attractions, there is a flourishing industry of Pietra Dura artefacts in Agra ranging from table tops, medallions, elephants and other animal forms, jewellery boxes and other decorative items. This art form is fully alive and thriving in Agra, India though the patterns in the designs are more Persian than Roman. Artisan Image Source Tripadvisory