Yes, it’s true! Kundan jewellery is nothing short of an art form. It is the desire of every Indian woman and every woman either has one or wants to own one. Kundan jewellery is an integral part of India’s rich culture and has been showcased in various Bollywood films through the years. The jewellery is also known as Kundan Keshri and is the art of setting precious stones and gems in gold foil and the mount. The craftsmanship is given great value since the process is laborious and usually takes up to months to complete a single piece of elaborate Kundan necklace.
The process of making Kundan jewellery
Since Kundan sets are so elaborate, they involve great complexity in their design and require a variety of skill sets. Hence, one artisan or goldsmith is not enough to design a complete set. An entire team of craftsmen with varied skill sets work on different aspects of the ornament to achieve the finished product.
It is for this reason that Kundan sets are so expensive and a rare find. Authentic Kundan jewellery is not easily available across jewellery stores and the pure elegance makes the price worth it! If you come across a genuine Kundan set, it looks just like a waterfall with shimmering gems. Such necklaces embody sheer confidence and profound skills of their craftsmen.
Kundan design dates way back to the Mughal era when artisans were trying to fit uncut stones into handmade jewelry. It is at the time when stone cutting and setting hadn’t yet reached its desired stage. The type of jewellery is called Kundan which means ‘refined gold’. Hence, authentic jewelry of the sort is always made from the purest form of molten gold for the foils in which the stones are set. The style of using gold foil instead of clasps and rims for setting stones is known as jadau. Kundan style is believed to have originated in North India. The style spread from the Mughal dynasty to other parts of India such as Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Today, the best kundankari craftsmanship is centered in Rajasthan but is popular the world over. There are various styles of Kundan jewellery with meena kundan being the most traditional.
In the meena kundan style, the stones are encrusted on one side and the reverse side is decorated with elaborate enamel also known as meenakari work. The meenakari is a way of adding icing to the cake when it comes to Kundan jewellery. Over time, the meenakari has been admired as the much as the Kundan work itself.
Today, traditional Kundan sets come with an elaborate ornate necklace, matching bangles, bracelet and earrings. Kundan is also available in the form of rings and hair adornments such as maang teeka. These do not necessarily need to be bought along with complete set and are available for purchase separately. Kundan is available in different styles such as rani haars, necklaces and pendants on sleek chains with precious stones or pearls or polka (diamond stones used in kundan style). Since Kundan is such an elaborate style of jewellery, even the smallest pieces of earrings or bangles make quite a statement.
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