Kundan is an acknowledged form of Indian gemstone. The word Kundan means highly processed gold. Kundan is widely used for making elaborate necklaces. Kundan jewelry is one of the earliest classes of jewelry created and worn in India. The making of Kundan jewelry involves the use of refined molten gold foil to fasten the gemstone on its position.
The very first instances of Kundan dates back to the Mughal era. During that time, Kundan jewelry was crafted for the royal people. With passing time, the process of making Kundan jewelry was copied on silver in Bihar, Rajasthan, and Punjab. That is how it became affordable for the common people and soon became very famous among the masses. Slowly, the whole group of artisans moved to Rajasthan and it became the seat of finest Kundan jewelry. Today, the cities of Nathdwara and Bikaner, located in Rajasthan are famous for their Kundan work.
Making Kundan jewelry comprises of a very complex process. Highly skilled people are required at every stage of the process. The method begins with the preparation of a base for the jewelry by beating gold into very thin leaves. The sheets are then filled with “lac” which is known to be a natural resin extracted from the sap of a tree. The gemstones are placed on this lac with the help of hot coal. The remainings voids are filled with molten 24 karat gold. This gold is what is known as Kundan. This is done so that the stones stay firmly on the jewelry piece. Along with this process, the process of frame making is also carried out.Frames refer to whether the artwork has to be made as a neckpiece, earring, pendant or any other wearable piece of work. After the completion of the frame, the jewelry is fused with its base. Washing and cleaning the jewelry pieces mark the end of this intricate process. Cleaning is vital so that any visible welding marks can be removed.
Meenakari is often combined with Kundan so that the jewelry has two identically beautiful exteriors. Meenakari involves the fusion of minerals like copper oxide which gives the impression of precious jewel inset on the other side of the jewelry. Traditional Kundan involves the use of 24 karat gold which is not affordable for many people. Hence imitation Kundan has come into fashion. It gives a buyer the exact Kundan design but does not include the 24 karat gold part.
Jewelry like necklaces, chokers, bangles, earrings, maang tika etc are available with Kundan work. Heavy Kundan designer sets are preferred by brides for their wedding day. These jewelry pieces give a royal look every time they are worn and are sure to make heads turn.
By Aaliya Khan