The art of embedding precious jewels and metals into the surface of objects is known as Kundan Jadai (gem setting) work. Introduced to Rajasthan by the Mughals, it is a technique where extensively cleaned gold leaf foil sheets are reversed longitudinally in the space available between the wall and the stones, following which the precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, tourmalines, emeralds, and sapphires are inserted. Since unadulterated gold is completely self-malleable while cold; a simple compression creates the solid chunk of gold that enduringly holds the precious stones in place for a long time. More importantly, the silver or gold foil placed below the stones enables greater reflection of light through the stone, thereby increasing its brilliance and value.
“Kundan jewellery is fashioned by setting prudently moulded, cut and refined multi-coloured jewels into an intricately premeditated design of pure gold or faux metal foundation. The elaborate process begins with the skeletal outline called Ghaat, after which the Paadh process takes place, during which wax is discharged onto the framework and moulded according to the pattern. Following this, the Khudai process takes place, where the precious stones, or uncut jewels are fit into the framework. The next step is the Meenakari, which involves enamelling the design details onto the piece. After this is the Pakai process, where gold foils that grip the ornaments onto the framework are soldered. Finally, the gems are polished using the Chillai process.”