Difference Between Kundan and Polki Jewellery
Updated: Dec 22, 2018
Indian jewellery is famous around the world because of artistic designs and grandeur. You will find many forms of Indian jewellery, but Polki and Kundan jewellery are particularly popular among brides and other women who wear them on a special occasion such as a wedding. Both these forms of jewellery require a lot of attention when they are made, right from designing to crafting. Their making process is time-consuming as they both carry intricate details. Only the extremely skilled craftsmen can produce the best Kundan or Polki.
Are Kundan and Polki Jewellery Same or Different?
Interestingly, Polki and Kundan can often look quite similar, but actually there are a number of differences between the two. Let us take a closer look at them individually before finding out the differences between Kundan and Polki.
What is Kundan Jewellery?
Traditionally, Kundan jewellery is the most embellished and magnificent jewellery that were earlier only used by royal women of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It has shining stones set with silver foil between the stone and its mount. The effect of silver foil is what makes the jewellery shine with such radiance. Kundan jewellery is categorized into, at least, two types, "Jadau Kundan jewellery" and "Kundan jewellery in open setting".
Whatever you read about Kundan jewellery most of the times, usually describes the Jadau Kundan and a very little is known about Kundan jewellery in open setting, probably because it is more contemporary in origin. So, first let's know the difference between Jadau Kundan and Kundan in open setting and then we will explore the differences between Kundan and Diamond Polki jewellery.
Kundan Jewellery in Jadau Work
Simply stated, it is the jewellery that you often visualize when you think about Kundan jewellery, rich in looks and heavy to carry. These Kundan jewellery are made with glass stones that are set into a mould (think it as a box) filled with colourful lac (shellac), a natural resin. Kundan or highly refined gold made of 24 carat gold is used to cover this lac. The stone is pushed into lac filled mould and silver foil is forced around its edge to give strength and a shine that never fails to mesmerize the wearer or the onlookers! Whenever you hold such Kundan jewellery with jadau work, you would be able to see gold at the back side of the jewellery. On the other hand, when you hold a Kundan jewellery made with open setting, you will see the shining stone from behind as well. Let's understand how this happens.
Kundan Jewellery in Open Setting
Modern women who love Kundan jewellery want to wear it almost daily but due to the rich royal looks of Jadau Kundan jewellery, she could only wear it on special occasions. Their demand was understood by the craftsmen and Kundan jewellery started to be made in open setting too.
To make Kundan jewellery with open setting, lac is not used to set the glass stones. Instead, gold wires are wrapped around the hardened glass pieces to produce astonishing jewellery. They dazzle from all sides. If you look at the back of such Kundan jewellery, you can see the crystal shining stones from there too. Because no lac is used, they are lightweight and can be handled easily. They are cheaper than jadau Kundan and can be worn daily. They never lose their shine. Now when you know about the difference between Kundan Jadau and Kundan in open setting, let's know the difference between Kundan and Polki jewellery.
Kundan v/s Diamond Polki Jewellery
While Kundan and Polki are generally taken as similar, there is a major difference between the two. Kundan jewellery is made with glass stones whereas Polki jewellery is made with uncut diamonds. In fact, the diamonds used to make Polki jewellery are the remnants of uncut diamonds. Because Polki is also made with heavy work in traditional designs, it is sometimes mistaken as Kundan jewellery. Heavy sets made with cut diamonds are far too expensive than polki jewellery made with uncut diamonds. However, polki jewellery is expensive than Kundan jewellery for the obvious reason that it is made with uncut diamond and kundan is made with hardened glass stones.
Some more Differences Between Kundan and Polki Jewellery
Here are some of the major differences between the two.
Polki is more expensive than Kundan, but the Kundan art form is older.
Polki is also shinier and looks more traditional than Kundan jewellery.
Mughal Emperors introduced Polki.
Kundan, on the other hand, is traditional Gujarati and Rajasthani jewellery.
In diamond polki jewellery, you can see the enamel work, the popular meenakari work, from behind the jewellery. No such enamelling is usually done in Kundan jewellery.
Kundan jewellery is more popular, but Polki is catching up fast.