Kundan jewellery ~ An eternal treasure to possess
Kundan Keshri is actually dated back to the traditional era and is an old form of Indian gemstone jewellery which has a gem set with a foil of gold between the stones and its mount, usually used in elaborate necklaces. The very word 'kundan' in Sanskrit means a highly refined form of pure, sparkling gold. This method of manufacturing these highly valuable and beautiful pieces of jewellery is believed to have its origin in the royal courts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is in fact the oldest form of jewellery made and worn in India. It can also be alternately referred to as Meena Kundan, or Bikaneri or Jaipuri jewellery.
India has always been a nation that is extremely fascinated with gold and jewellery. And Kundan has its history stretching back to the Indus Valley Civilization and was a mark of aristocracy back then in the Indian subcontinent. Perhaps this explains why Aishwarya Rai, who essayed the role of Jodhaa in the 2008 Bollywood epic film, 'Jodhaa-Akbar' was shown to be extensively wearing kundan jewellery, thus highlighting its significance amongst the royal families of Rajasthan. Today, the best kundan jewellery is said to be found in the cities of Bikaner Nathdwara.
The uncut diamonds between the gold foils of 24 carat, is referred to as Polki. The manner in which the setting is done is termed as 'Jadau'. Sometimes, in order to lend more intricacy and exquisiteness to the look of the jewellery, Meenakari is done on it, which refers to the art of engraving on metal and is traditionally done on gold only. Recently, it is being done on copper and a few other metals as well. With the price of gold at an all-time high, genuine kundan jewellery now caters to the affordability of the affluent class alone. This has given rise to the imitation of Kundan jewellery, which in a way, might satisfy the need and desire of many women who want to grace their beauty with it, without being worried about the exorbitant price of gold. Imitation of Kundan jewellery has now flooded the market to such an extent that it has gained huge popularity with even the common masses.
Of late, designers and stylists have also started using uncut diamonds or tinted glass or crystals to embellish sarees, lehngas etc. as well as handbags and shoes. This is called 'kundan' work as it bears close resemblance to Kundan jewellery, involving embroidery with stones set in metal. Thus, the legacy of the Mughal era is being well carried forward by the current generation and it is sure to stay on for years to come!