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Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Kundan - Meena
India is a country known for its diverse forms of art and craft. This
is one of the biggest factors that draws a lot of attention from the west.
International designers constantly draw inspiration from our rich cultural
Jewelry is one such field which exquisitely reflects our majestic
legacy. Various jewelry arts like kundan
- meena, pachchikam, jadau etc have represented our royal treasures for
centuries together. This post will bring to you one such unique jewelry art –
Kundan – Meena.
KUNDAN MEENA JEWELRY
Kundan literally means pure gold and Meena refers to the enamelling
work which is done on the reverse side of the jewelry. In this technique silver foil backing is given
to the stones and pure gold (24 K) is pressed between stone and its mount to
elevate the look of the gems. Usually polki, emeralds, rubies and garnets are
used to create kundan jewelry.
This art form took birth in Rajasthan. Jaipur and Bikaner were the
two places where skilled craftsmen practised the art to perfection. The Mughal
and Rajasthani royalty were adorned with Kundan – Meena jewelry. It flourished
in the rule of the Mughals and is till date making a fashion statement.
MUGHAL RULERS ADORNED WITH KUNDAN MEENA JEWELRY
Captivating jewelry is created with this style, however the process
is elaborate and labor intensive. It involves a series of steps to accomplish
the desired results.
First and foremost, according to the design provided a basic frame is
created using thin metal strips. These metal strips are soldered on to a metal
back to create compartmets. After putting the design together,heated natural resin or laakh is poured into the compartments. Laakh is what holds the gem
in the setting.
In the next step designs are engraved on the reverse side to fill in
the enamel. Powdered colored glass/enamel is filled in the engraved areas and
heated to fuse the enamel on the metal. Enamelling is a tedious job and
requires a lot of scrubbing and finishing.
Thereafter, the gems are given a silver backing to enhance their
beauty. Now, these gems are pressed on to the laakh which was previously poured in the compartments. The gaps
between the stone and its mount is filled in by pressing pure gold strips. This
detailing with gold is what makes this technique stand out.
GOLD STRIPS PRESSED IN MOUNTS
Kundan – Meena is not just a form of jewelery decoration but also a
representative of our glorious past. It symbolises eternal beauty, wealth and
power. This tradition has been passed down from one generation to another and
it has the potential to go on for many more.
*The Author is a Colored Stone Graduate from Gemological Institute of America, Mumbai and a Diamond Graduate from Solitaire Diamond Institute, Bangalore. She also holds a Diploma in Jewelry Designing & Manufacturing from Jewelry Product Development Centre, Jaipur. She also blogs at 'The Jewel Affair'