Kundan work



Rajasthan is popular India and abroad because of its gold jewelry. However the technique of combining gold with precious and semi-precious stones or Kundan work and the art of colorful enamel work or Meenakari have mainly been responsible for the immense popularity of jewelry made in Rajasthan.

Kundan work is essentially Indian and it was brought to Rajasthan from Delhi during the Mughal period. Craftsmen from all over the country came to Jaipur, Bikaner, Udaipur and Jodhpur, under the patronage of royal houses. Numerous royal houses from Rajasthan, encouraged and patronized craftsmen to create exquisite kundan work on silver and gold.

The entire technique of Kundankari lies in the skillful setting of gems and stones in gold, which is rarely solid. The core of the ornament is made out of lac a natural resin. The pieces, which make up the finished ornament are first shaped by specialised craftsmen and left in separate hollow halves. Holes are cut for the gems, any engraving is carried out, and the pieces are enameled.

Later lac is inserted into the hollow parts and is then visible from the front through the holes left for the gems.

Highly refined gold or kundan, is used to cover the lac and gems are then pushed into the kundan. To increase the strength of the joints and to give it a smooth finish more kundan is applied.

Kundankari is carried by a group of craftsmen, each carrying out a specific task. The chiterias make the basic designm, the ghaarias are responsible for engraving and making holes, meenakari or enameling is done by the enameller and the goldsmith is takes care of the Kundan or gold. The jadiyas or stone setters, set stones such as jade, rock crystal, agate, garnet, emerald, topaz, amethyst, and spinel into kundan.

Traditional kundan jewellery has stones encrusted on one side and colourful and intricate meenakari on the reverse. The beauty of kundan work lies in the precise setting of stones into kundan and the overall look of the ornament.

Intricately designed earrings, necklaces and pendants of all shapes and sizes are made with kundan work.

Jaipur is the main center of kundan work. The famous Johri Bazaar is the nerve center of this craft. Nathdwara is known for its silver kundan work. Bikaner is also known for its kundan work.

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