[dropcap]D[/dropcap]iwali is round the corner and I’m all set for my Dhanteras shopping. Being a great jewellerista, I save money throughout the year to splurge in some great jewellery pieces for Diwali as this is the one shopping which not only gives me immense pleasure but also optimum satisfaction for my money is well spent.
From today onwards, The Style Symphony would come up with detailed jewellery buying guides to help our readers know the do’s and don’ts of precious jewellery and understanding the stones prior Diwali. And today, we’ll discuss about Kundan “the much talked about jewellery making technique that is timeless, ageless and classic.
Know your Kundan:
The art of Kundan jewellery involves an age-old technique using 24 K gold that dates back several centuries in India. Indeed, the word ‘Kundan’ means ‘pure gold’ making it a highly skilled job that only a few artisans are capable of.
The craftsmen begin with the back of the 24 K gold piece and chisel beautiful motifs on it. They depress the portion and fill it with ‘meenakari’. Then begins the work on the front of the ‘kundan’ setting! A pure hollow-gold case is crafted and filled with wax. The craftsman places precious or semi-precious stones in their appropriate places depending on the design. Under each of the transparent stone, they add a thin silver foil that acts as a reflector. This silver backing also gives this jewellery its distinctiveness.
Light malleable gold is prepared and then used on and around the stones. It is skillfully layered to form a delicate gold foil casing around them. Finishing involves chiseling, carving and cleaning the Kundan jewellery. The specific and characteristic shine of Kundan is finally brought out by polishing the piece with a thin iron rod.
How to buy authentic Kundan jewellery?
The first thing while buying genuine Kundan should be to recognize and discover its distinct characteristics.
- First check if the jewellery piece has those precious gemstones on the front side, and meenakari (enameling) work on the reverse— this is the mark of the expertise of a highly skilled kundan artisan!
- Genuine kundan crystal sets have an opaque appearance while the artificial ones tend to glitter and look transparent because there is glass used on them instead of crystals and colored tin foil is used under the fake stones rather than silver foil to create an illusion of colored stone.
- Sometimes one can also be cheated while buying old and antique kundan jewellery sets that seem genuine. These sets are filled with shellac (lakh) but are passed off and sold as sets with precious stones.
This pair of genuine Kundan (jadau) earrings are crafted in 24 Carat gold and studded with real polkis (uncut diamonds), amethysts and hessonites. These are my prized possessions, about 100 years old and belong to my family heirloom.
Why these earrings are so precious to me is because they have passed through three generations of my family and make me feel the blessings of my ancestors when I adorn them, and am sure I would pass them to my generations to come.
So Symphonites, it’s time to be on your guard and be money-wise jewellery smart as all that glitters is not gold and all that sizzles is not authentic kundan.