MEENAKARI AND KUNDAN JEWELLERY
- Kundan jewelry is nothing but gold jewelry in layman’s terms, and not any type of precious or semiprecious stone.
- Kundan jewelry making is a very sophisticated method of encrusting any stone, without employing heat and with only use of pressure, preferably with a hammer.
(IIP) - Kundan as a word itself is wrongfully used to specify a stone; Kundan jewelry is nothing but gold jewelry in layman’s terms, and not any type of precious or semiprecious stone. Kundan is the most purified form of gold. On the other hand, Kundan jewelry making is a very sophisticated method of encrusting any stone, without employing heat and with only use of pressure, preferably with a hammer.
INTRICATE MEENAKARI executed on a base of gold and kundan-the laying of diamonds over layers of gold foil set within gold or silver framework-has long been practiced at Bikaner and Jaipur.The two techniques are usually used in tandem,the kundan worked surface in front and the meena on the reverse;the brilliance of the diamonds being effectively complemented by the multihued enamel of the meena.The motifs most often seen in the thus rendered jewellery of the region are phool-patti,or flower and foliage,peacocks ,parrots and elephants.The intensive labour,skill and time,as well as the costs of the raw material-highly purified gold-ensured that the items were produced for the consumption of a vary select elite class.Today there exist two types of meena-the desi meena that melts at an extremely high temperature archieved only with a furnace and is exceptionally delicate and hence fired only twice,and the vilayati meena,or enamel sourced from Europe,
which has a much lower melting point that can be achieved with a heater and has greater flexibility in terms of the number of firings it can take.The latter is substantially cheaper than the desi version,thus allowing meena worked jewellery to be worn by a wider section of society.
1-The laktavali buti ofBikaner, a pair of long earrings with a kundan worked front(right) and a meena worked reverse(left).
2-Suraliya kanodi,a earring with chain that is secured behind the ear.
3-Bor,the traditional forehead ornament is embellished with a combination of kundan and meena and strung with pearls.
Kundan Jewelry, Polki and Meenakari jewelry, as fascinating and beautiful they are, is also a genre of art that is mostly underrated and misunderstood. The Indian jewellery market has noticed an accelerated shift in buying behavior of women in the recent years. There has been a huge change in the taste of the modern women. They opt for lightweight, contemporary and exquisite designs with impeccable finish, and avoid conventional, chunky and heavy pieces. Irrespective, Kundan and Polki jewellery has jubilantly survived this change and still remains an important part of every bride’s trousseau and of our heritage that is passed down to generations. It journeys through a long history of cultural legacy and its’ detailing art and painstaking production technique continues to appeal to modern women. But till date many of us have limited knowledge of these exquisite pieces and are often mislead by smooth talking salesman and confusing terminology.