Sunday, February 14, 2016

Watch Indian Jewelers Craft Traditional Enameled Earrings with Kundan Set Diamonds

By on Sunday, February 14, 2016 8 Comments

Kundan jewelry is the oldest form of jewelry in India. This traditional technique involves gem setting with gold foil. The technique originated in Rajasthan and Gujarat for the royal courts. It is most closely associated with jeweled arts of the Mughal emperors (1526-1857) where their royal goldsmiths first combined enameling techniques (probably introduced from Europe) with historic kundan work.  Today, it is still part of a traditional Indian bride's wedding trousseau.

Watch these Victoria and Albert Museum produced videos as they showcase how Indian jewelers in Jaipur, Rajasthan craft traditional enameled earrings with Kundan set  diamonds. The earrings are gorgeous both front and back.

The first video shows how the frame is made and the back of the earrings is then enameled.

The second video shows how the gold smith places the cut diamonds onto a sort of sticky combination of shellac and antimony. He then sets the gemstones with gold foil.

Read more about the bejeweled Al Thani collection exhibition which is now on until April 10, 2016  at the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design in London, UK. "The pieces range in date from the early 17th century to the present day, and were made in the Indian subcontinent or inspired by India. They include spectacular precious stones, jades made for Mughal emperors and a gold tiger-head finial from the throne of the South Indian ruler Tipu Sultan."  The V and A museum has one of the most comprehensive jewelry collections in the world. Worth a trip if you can manage it.

One remarkable epic historical Indian movie (not your typical Bollywood fare) is Jodhaa Akhbar (2008). See my past post about it.  It centers on the romance between Akbar the Great (the Mughal emperor best known for his progressive views and rule) and a Rajput princess.  ALL the jewelry pieces in the movie are real. The actress portraying the princess wears a lot kundan jewelry. The movie trailer with English subtitles is here:


Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Fascinating, as always. I really love your blog, and I'm amazed at the way you manage to be consistently interesting!

    1. I put it down to being a curious person and it looks like you are as curious as I am. Plus I think crafts people from many parts of the world are so inspiring. Through in history and it becomes even more fascinating!

  2. The Victoria and Albert Museum produces some fascinating videos and other things like a cross stitch pattern based on one of your photographs. Would love to visit some day.

    When we were in Japan we watched the construction of cloisonne which is done the same way. The people who make either the Indian or Japanese product are truly talented and truly blessed with fine motor skills.

    Thanks for sharing this technique.

    By the way, would have loved to see the Jodhaa Akhbar, unfortunately it shows a message that the uploader has not made it available in your (my) country.

    1. Yes, all creative souls should try and visit the V&A. I've only spent one day there and it was not enough! I wish I lived closer to catch some of their amazing exhibitions!

      Search for the Jodhaa Akbar trailer on Youtube itself - you should be able to find it and view it. I actually watched it when it was on Netflix. I am a history fan and anything on the Mughal dynasty is fascinating.

  3. What meticulous and time consuming work. You would think this would put the cost of these pieces especially high because of it.

    I for one could never do this. I can't sit cross-legged like that at all! :0)

    1. I can sit cross legged but not for long. These artisans probably have been learning their craft since they were young and traditionally, they sit like that.

  4. thanks for sharing these lovely video resources. Though I have bought, seen and even worn kundan jewellery this is the first time I am seeing the process. It is really wonderful that VA museum have produced a great resource for learning such an age old craft. On another note I suggest you see "Bajirao Mastani" a movie on Peshwas release in dec 2015. The costumes or jewellery might not be exactly accurate (much like Jodha Akbar) but still they are gorgeous and sets are unbelievable.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the videos!Thanks for the tip on another movie to look out for!