Kundan jewellery is one of the oldest forms of jewellery which is made in one of the purest form of gold that is 24 carat gold.Kundan is a traditional Indian gemstone jewelry, a method of gem setting in a jewellery piece, consisting of inserting gold foil between the stones and it’s mount, usually used to create elaborate necklaces believed to have originate in royal courts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is the oldest form of jewellery made and worn in India. Traditional kundan jewellery has stones encrusted on one side and colourful and intricate meenakari on the reverse. This was done to enhance the look of the piece. Kundan jewellery received great patronage during the mugal era and the most beautiful pieces were created in those times.
The next step to making Jadau Jewellery is to getting all things together, i.e. when the base gold sheet (patra), is ready, side walls (jae) are ready in desired design, they now have to be soldered all together to get a shape of a Jewellery.
With the help of gold only, gold sheet is soldered with side walls by giving heat to it with same old traditional methods of blowing fire by a bended pipe from the lighter.
After soldering is been done now cleaning is being done.
The cleaning of the Gold Base been made is done by selective chemicals to remove the blackness happened due to soldering.
Thus after cleaning with chemical, it is being washed by water and left to dry.
A single piece of Kundan jewelry is done by different artisans. The chiterias do the work of basic designing of the jewelry, engraving work is carried out be ghaarias, the enameling work is done be the enameler, the goldsmith looks after the gold or kundan work and finally stone setters do work of just setting the precious stone in the holes of the jewelry. Different precious stones which can be incorporated in kundan jewelry comprise of agate, garnet, emerald, topaz, amethyst, jade, rock crystal, spinel, uncut diamonds, sapphires etc.
Kundan and jadau jewellery forms which incorporate the open cutting of gems into 24 carat gold settings are exquisitely crafted by jaipur’s jewellers into a range of old style necklaces, rings and earrings.Enamelling or minakari work involves a laborious process wherein the piece is fixed on a stick of lacquer and delicate floral designs engraved on it.
Part of the mugal jewellery heritage the kundan craft has uncut stones set in open lacy work. The hollows in which the stones are set are filled with pure gold. In jadau the techniques of both kundan and enamelling are combined so that a piece of jewellery has equally beautiful surfaces; kundan set in gems in front and exquisite enamel work on the reverse.
Priceless kundan jewellery is handcrafted in Jaipur wheras the best jadau work is done both in Jaipur and in Varanasi.
Enameling is the art of colorings or decorating a metal surface by attaching or fusing pieces of different mineral substances, over it. Enameling is considered the most alluring and technical of all metal decorations. In the past enameling was only done on gold, but presently it is done other metals like silver, copper etc The art of decorating metal with technique of Meenakari requires a high degree of skill and application. The piece of metal on which meenakari is to be done is fixed on a lac stick. Delicate designs of flowers, birds, fish etc are etched or engraved on it. This leads to the creation of walls or grooves, to hold color. Enamel dust of required color is then poured into the grooves and each color is fired individually. The heat of the furnace melts the color and the coloured liquid gets spread equally into the groove.
This process is repeated with each colour.As each color is individually fired, colors, which are most heat resistant, are applied first, as they are re-fired with each additional color. As a rule, white is the first color applied, and red the last.After the last color has been fired, the object is cooled and burnished or polished with agate. The depth of the grooves filled with different colors determines the play of light.Both Silver and Gold can be used as a base for meenakari. A limited number of colors, like gold, blue, green and yellow, stick to silver, whereas all available colors can be applied to gold, making it the preferred medium of enamellers. The meenakar often works with a team of craftsmen. As meenakari is generally done on the reverse side of kundan jewellery, the meenakar has to work with the goldsmith, the engraver or ghaaria, the designer or chitteria and jadiya who applies the gems on the kundan or gold. The finished produced is a marvel of the expertise of these different craftsmen and their techniques.Jaipur is the main center of meenakari..
The Enamellings Process itself needs an entire team of specialist to all pool in their various skills. First, the designer selects a design as per the client's requirements and passes it to the goldsmith. The Goldsmith creates the gold stencil and gives it back to the designer who outlines the pattern on the gold surface and burnishes it, to make it stand out. Now the engraver comes into the picture. His is the job which requires maximum skill and precision. Champlevé - is a technique used by the engraver to lower those areas of the metal that will take the enamel by carving them out. These lowered surfaces are hatched with fine parallel lines to enable thorough fusion between color and metal, to add to the visual delight as the hatchings enhance the play of light over the transparent colors. The Meenakar or enameller is the next in line. He fills in the enamel colors in the lowered surfaces, thereby evening the surface and fusing it to the gold with repeated firings. Since the enamels are of varying hardness and thus require different temperatures for fusing, they must be fired separately - that from hardest highest temperature to softest lowest temperature. Cooling is as important as heating: a flow at this stage could crack the enamel or render it undesirably opaque. The usual color sequence begins with white and runs through blue, green, black and yellow before reaching red, rich ruby the signature color of Jaipur enameling. It achieves an unmatched brilliance and clarity. "The purer the gold, the richer the color," goes an old saying, and the red Meena of Jaipur is applied only to a high karat gold. Once the enameling has been completed the surfaces must be polished. The kundan setter then asks the Patua or stringer, to thread the pieces with strings and make them a ready-to-wear stunning piece of art!