Kundan work is one of the oldest form of jewelry craft which was brought to India by Mughals. Historically Kundan jewelry was adorned by the royals. This art form is the most popular for the elaborate ornaments that are worn for weddings & festive occasions till date, while the simpler & modern versions of it are gaining popularity as party wear.
What is 'Kundan' Jewelry?
Kundan work is a unique combination of precious metal foils and any number of gemstones (precious / semi-precious) cluttered together to form beautiful patterns and designs. One of the most unique feature of this kind of jewelry is that it traditionally has pure form of gold which is 24 carat, though in modern Kundan jewelry silver foils are very commonly used, which make Kundan ornaments more affordable.
How is it created?
The creation of a single kundan jewelry piece requires hours of work of skilled artisans, as the process is quite complex & unique.
The process is divided in many stages and each stage has a specific name:
- Ghaat: This is the very first stage and in this the basic framework and structure of the jewelry is made.
- Paadh: After the first stage, a natural resin ‘laak’ is poured into to the structure giving it a shape desired by the craftsmen.
- Khudai: in this stage multicolored polished gemstones and glass are settled on the framework. Gems are properly cut , shaped and polished prior to the setting.
- Pakai: Gold/silver foils are then pressed in the cavities of jewelry piece to hold all the gemstones together. Extra foil paper protruding at places is trimmed. At times the jewelry pieces can require mild heat application in order to fuse the goil foil properly.
- Chillai: This is the last stage in which the gemstones are properly polished to make them look shiny. If desired, Meenakari engravings or enamel work at back of the jewelry piece can also be added.
Clean & Care of Kundan jewelry
Kundan jewelry pieces are delicate and therefore need to be handled carefully.
Following are some handy tips which will ensure your that your Kundan shines longer than you expected:
- Always spray perfume or body deodorants before wearing your Kundan jewelry as the chemicals may spoil the shine of your jewelry.
- Use soft cotton cloth to clean a Kundan jewelry piece and won't leave any harsh lines over your jewelry.
- Make sure that you do not use any kinds of chemical solutions such as soaps while your jewelries are on they may leave unwanted stains.
- Always go to a professional/jeweller when you wish to get your jewelry cleaned thoroughly and do not try any home experiments.
- Store your Kundan jewelry in cool & dry places, always from any moisture.
- Wrap the jewelry in soft cotton cloth for storage.
- The secret of maintaining the shine of Kundan jewelry is to not store them together. This will ensure that the never bump against each other leaving scratches all over.