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:


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