Kundan jewellery is one of the most beautiful jewelry styles in India, known for its intricate settings and ornate look. It is typically made of pure gold and precious or semi-precious gems which gives it a magnificently rich look and is hence most commonly worn at weddings with bridal outfits. In fact, it has royal origins since the art of Kundan was exclusively reserved for the nobility: they were the only ones who could afford it! This is why this type of jewelry is frequently seen in Bollywood movies and television shows depicting medieval times. The art of Kundan flourished under Mughal tutelage though it actually existed even before the Mughals came to India. However, they patronized and popularized this unique style. The traditional centers of production for Kundan jewelry are Hyderabad and Rajasthan, though of course now it is produced everywhere. These two regions used differing raw materials based on the types of gems they had access to, though there was a lot of similarity in design.
Indian Kundan jewelry is possibly the most ornate type of jewelry one can find. Not only are precious metals like gold used in the setting, no Kundan jewelry set is complete without an array of gems (both precious and semi-precious) arranged in complex designs. Often the metal used is enameled with colorful motifs using the Meenakari technique. These kinds of gorgeous details are what distinguish this jewelry and make it truly luxurious. In fact the process of crafting Kundan jewellery sets is quite complicated, since it involves multiple stages right from setting the design using wax moulds, cutting the gems to fit the pattern and the final joining of the various pieces. Only skilled jewelers trained in this craft can create these designs.
Traditionally, only pure metals and precious gems would be used to make Kundan sets. Real gold Kundan jewellery is the most exclusive and such sets are often passed down from one generation to the next. However, with the influence of modern trends and the expansion of the scope of customers, craftsmen started using substitutes like gold plated metals, American diamonds and crystals to create all types of artificial Kundan jewelry. These sets are affordably priced and can be worn for less formal occasions as well. Since they are low-cost, many varieties can be purchased and worn with a lot of different outfits.
Bridal Kundan jewelry is probably the most dazzling type, created to match the typical opulence and beauty of an Indian bride. It combines a range of rainbow colored gems within gold and silver settings, often utilizing multiple strings to create an even richer effect. The kinds of Kundan jewellery designs used vary from leaf and flower motifs to intricate flowering veins, trees and peacocks. While a typical Kundan jewelry set would include a necklace, earrings and perhaps bangles, bridal sets have many more pieces. They may include multiple necklaces, pendants, bracelets, mang-tikkas, nath, payal, kamarbandh, bajubandh, aarsi, bichua, rings and more, depending on how ornate the set is. This is appropriate for a bride, since she is expected to be encrusted in glittering designs from head to toe; it can be a bit over-the-top for any other events. In fact certain pieces like the bichua and kaleera are only meant for brides to wear on their wedding day.
With this gorgeous jewelry style gaining worldwide recognition, many retailers have popped up from whom one can purchase Kundan jewellery. However one has to be very careful to only buy from trusted sources like authentic craftsmen’s exhibitions or emporiums. Customers may prefer to even buy Kundan jewelry online as this gives them easy access to splendid varieties without a long trip to the source. The only precaution that should be taken is to ensure the online store is reputable with good sources and authentic products.
Wearing Kundan Jewellery
Kundan jewelry is most often seen at weddings, adorning the gorgeous outfits not just of the bride and her bridesmaids but also the guests as well. They match the best with lehenga cholis with glittering designs made of zari, sequins and stones. While traditional varieties are often multi-stringed with multiple pendants and designs, the latest Kundan jewellery designs are simpler, with more modern patterns like geometric shapes incorporated. Such designs will pair well with understated chiffon sarees or anarkali salwar kameez.
However it is not necessary to go for a complete set; you can even incorporate Kundan into your party looks by going for Kundan pendants. They can add just the right touch of glamour to a deep neck salwar kameez or a low cut saree blouse. A trendy ethnic look right now is to skip the necklace and wear a low cut dress with dangling Kundan earrings.