From an essential part of the traditional bridal wedding, through to accessories in hit Bollywood movies, Kundan jewels are recognisable for their beautiful gemstones set in layers of stunning shapes and patterns. Kundan jewellery-making is widely believed to have been developed in the royal courts of Rajasthan and the nearby cities of Gujarat and is one of the oldest forms of jewellery making in India.
The process of making Indian Kundan jewellery is completely unique and an art form in itself. It takes experienced craftsmanship and many hours of arduous work by hand and various stages. Here at Red Dot Jewels, we handcraft this type of jewellery in a wide range of styles and designs to transform any outfit. Learn more about our jewellery and how we bring it to life.
What is Kundan Jewellery?
Kundan is a traditional form of Indian gemstone jewellery involving a carefully-selected gem set with gold foil between the stones and its mount in beautiful patterns and shapes. It requires a long and lengthy process, where each stage is handled separately.
It involves shaping the jewellery and then making holes for the stones to be embedded.
- Gold sheets are beaten and manipulated into cup-like shapes to hold the stones. This framework is known as the ‘Ghaat.’
- This is followed by a procedure, known as ‘Paadh,’ where lac or natural resin is poured into the base and shaped according to the Kundan designs.
- The next stage – known as the ‘Khudai,’- is where uncut, unpolished and shaped gemstones are placed into the gold or metal framework.
- The edges are then filled, and more refinement takes place with the addition of Meenkari (or enamelling).
- After this, the ‘Pakai’ involves the addition of golf or metal foils to hold everything in place, followed by ‘Chillai’ where gems are polished.
Another type of Kundan, also known as Bikaneri or Jaipuri jewellery, is a popular variation, wherein enamelling with vivid colours and designs is on the reverse, while the Kundan setting is in the front. The art of Kundan can be used to create necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets rings, chokers, nose rings, cuffs, pendants and more.
The most commonly-used gemstones used in this form of jewellery making include diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires, garnets, amethysts, crystals, jade and agate.
The Red Dot Jewels workshop: Where we design and make Indian Kundan jewellery
The city of Jaipur in Rajasthan has traditionally been the centre for Kundan in India. Our workshop is based in Rajasthan, where work with a small team of stylists in house to create and craft ideas from our London showroom. Our ideas come to life with the help of our team in India, who make our pieces. From our intricate small earrings, to our heavier and more colourful bridal sets, we work together in cohesion to perfect every detail before presenting it in our store.
All our jewellery is handmade. We chose this method of design as opposed to mass production, due to the detail care that is given to each piece. The workshop polish cut and bond together each material to create the image that we had first drafted up at our showroom. Due to our pieces being of Indian heritage, we use the same methods that have been practiced through centuries in the artwork of our pieces. Sometimes the method will vary slightly; with its own set of rules and craftsmanship.
Since launching Red Dot Jewels in 2011, Kundan Jewellery always made up our core collection and is now the biggest trend amongst our brides. We use the highest quality materials and much of it is set in sterling silver, metal and glass, which replicates real gold but makes this type of jewellery more affordable.
Red Dot Jewels has a very close relationship with our workshops and our Karigaars (craftsmen). We take time to know the history of certain crafts and understand the historical significance of them.
The rising popularity of Kundan Jewellery
Kundan flourished under royal patronage during the Mughal era. Over the years, the Kundan jewels of the courts was successfully copied in silver in Rajasthan, Bihar and Punjab and became popular with the masses.
It remains an integral part of the traditional bridal wedding trousseau. Traditional settings, including the thappa and ras rawa, are experiencing a revival. Many of India’s top designers are entering the jewellery market and Sabyasachi’s Jewellery has been featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and all the top fashion magazines. Aside from weddings, this type of jewellery is also popular for wearing at social gatherings, religious ceremonies and other special occasions.
Fashion and Bollywood are so closely entwined that any trend spotted on the silver screen is soon replicated by brides the world over. In the 2008 blockbuster, Jodhaa Akbar, the lead character portrayed by Aishwarya Rai, was extensively shown wearing Kundan, highlighting its influence among Rajasthani royalty. In the latest 2018 historical epic, Padmavat, Deepika Padukone portrays Rani Padmani in all her Regal glory and Kundan jewels. Rai, Kareen Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty and other Bollywood stars have also worn this type of jewellery on their own wedding days.
Kundan Jewellery for our brides
Kundan jewellery and widely sought after by our brides and we offer them a wide and extension selection to suit any wedding outfit. Many of our brides walk through our doors and take inspiration from Bollywood stars. Some may even walk in with an image and ask us to replicate a similar design. If a bride books in enough time (we recommend booking up to three months in advance), we are able to provide enough time to try and make her vision come to life. Every bridal piece of jewellery is given a unique personality, and we always see that the characteristics of what makes each piece unique is always visible.
Our one-to-one bridal styling consultations provide us with the understanding of what it is the bride is looking for. The colour schemes, the neckline of the blouse and the type of jewellery all are factors that we consider when pairing the bride with jewellery for her wedding. Due to having many of our pieces displayed in our showroom, brides can try them on and take inspiration from our pieces or purchase them as they are. They can customise the colours or chose to switch a particular gemstone for another.
As well as ensuring that you choose the right pieces of jewellery for you, we can advise you about how to take care of your jewellery.