Kundan, essentially means highly refined gold that over the decades has had a special place in the world of jewelry-making.
Origin of Kundan
Kundan is believed to have originated in the royal courts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, its art further spread across the country due to the royal Mughal patronage. Later, silver was used instead of the usual refined molten gold in Rajasthan and Bihar for the use of commoners. The use of Kundan is so ubiquitous at present that it has become an essential part of the bridal trousseau in most Indian weddings.
Kundan ( Fashion / Imitation )
Essentially a form of gemstone and glass jewelry that is set between gold foils. Defining features of Kundan are its precious and semi-precious polished gemstones that are set in multiple layers of beautiful patterns.
Making of Kundan:
The elaborate process of making Kundan jewelry has several stages.
First is, construction of the skeletal framework called ‘Ghaat’
Followed by the procedure of ‘Paadh’ wherein lac or natural resin is poured into the base and shaped according to the Kundan set designs.
Next stage is ‘Khudai’ where the uncut, shaped, polished gemstones, or glass, are laid upon the framework. More Kundan is added to the edges for a polished finesse and details are fine-tuned with the addition of Meenakari.
Then comes ‘Pakai’, which involves adding the gold foils to hold the piece firmly together, is done.
Final stage of ‘Chillai’ includes polishing of the gemstones.
How Popular is Kundan:
Vibrant, elaborate, and magical, Kundan is an enormous presence in the Indian jewelry scene. It was used extensively in Aishwarya Rai’s wardrobe in Jodhaa-Akbar (2008) and by Rani Mukherjee in Paheli (2005). Currently, it receives patronage in the works of Sabyasachi and actresses like Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor, who are breaking fashion norms by pairing traditional kundan with modern formal attires of shirts or jackets, elaborate skirts with a ‘gher’ and intricately patterned belts.
Truly, Kundan is becoming the revamped face of modern Indian woman.