Kundan Jewelry In India

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Jewelry in India has always been an essential, not just ornamentation. Right from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, jewelry has been part of an Indian’s ensemble and the fact that for a long time India was a major producer of precious stones and metals such as gold and silver helped to increase the popularity of jewelry in the country.
Over time different parts of the country developed different styles of jewelry and many different techniques to craft it. From the kundalas of Jammu and Kashmir to the ratanchur of Bengal to the thalaisaamaan of Tamil Nadu, the diversity of India is reflected in the different types of jewelry indigenous to different regions. The techniques to create these beautiful pieces vary just as much
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Kundan work is a long and arduous process, involving many different stages and artisans and craftsmen with a variety of skill sets. Each stage needs to be painstakingly taken care of as a mistake at any stage can mar the piece.

Kundan jewelry does not have a very high gold content since it is more about the stones. First, hand-beaten sheets of gold that are very fine are taken to form the frame. At the same time, gold sheets are made into cup-like shapes meant to hold the stones. This procedure is known as Ghaat. Following this, the cup-like shapes are filled with lac or laakh. This is to set the glass or gemstones being used in the piece. This step is known as Paadh. The insertion of the stones is done using a hot coal. The lac is covered by a very thin film of gold that is inserted using a very small stick in order to add gloss to the piece by reflecting light and adding a certain shine to the glass or gemstone being used. This is the Khudai stage of the
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This is done using enamel of different colours, a process famously known as Meenakari. Finally the frame and the gold foils holding the stones are welded or soldered together. We have now come to the Pakai part of the process. As a final step, the jewelry is washed to remove the dark spots caused by the soldering. Voila! What you now have is an exquisite piece of jewelry that is truly “Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride.”
Kundan was originated from Mughal empire in Delhi. they wear mostly gold ornaments which were set with precious stones but mostly with crystal in the kundan setting.
They used same forms as used in earlier centuries. Artisans who specialized in this were much in demand.
During the last days of the Muslim rule and after the advent of the British, plain gold ornaments came into use. jewels and pearls are still in prominence but now they are interspersed with plain gold pieces which had not appeared

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