We all know what is Kundan work in jewellery, but glasswork Kundan and its Lucknow connection is not so well known. Let us introduce you to the art and the only serving practitioner of the art in Lucknow.
WHAT IS GLASSWORK KUNDAN JEWELLERY?
Glasswork kundan jewellery is an intricate handmade artwork that is time consuming. The finished product is a result of nearly five to six stages of precise handwork in controlled temperature conditions. The original practise included ornaments carved out in gold and silver. However with inflated prices, the artwork is being done on brass metal and is polished in gold for a finished look.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHER FORMS OF KUNDAN JEWELLERY?
Glasswork kundan is an out and out handmade product, unlike Jaipuri kundan which is machine minte, with nearly thousands of jewellery pieces being produced a day. Lucknow’s Glasswork Kundan also has a much longer shelf life than Meerut’s Sequin Kundan jewellery, where the sequins are stuck externally onto the moulded design. Sequins can sometimes fall off, spoiling the entire ornament. Glasswork Kundan however does not face any such issues, in fact if stored carefully, it can last upto 60 years in its original condition.
The glass is bound by traditionally made adhesive and minted with metal foil, which gives the jewellery piece its durability. When compared with other kundan counterparts, glasswork is incredibly light and much easier to adorn.
A DYING ART FORM
“Glass kundan jewellery is not going to last more than the coming 7-10 years,” says Sultan Ahmad, the owner of Kundan & Silver Corner, the only store in old Lucknow that deals in these beautifully handcrafted pieces of glass Kundan jewellery. “The last practitioners that I have, all 10-11 of them are almost 70 years of age and have been doing this work since my grandfather’s time. Their upcoming generation isn’t trained to do this hand- work, those who come to learn, leave mid-way since it is a slow and hardworking process,” adds Sultan.
Production is slow yet he tries to keep the artwork in the market that his father mastered. The practitioners just make enough to cover the cost of the raw material, and one can only imagine what the post-Corona economy would have done to this business. Since glasswork Kundan is not made on precious metals anymore, the jewellery is not as pricey as the other varieties available in the market.
If you would like to support a dying art of Lucknow, visit the store in Chowk and get yourself a glasswork Kundan piece before it vanishes from our city.
Location: Kundan & Silver Corner, Adjacent Hiran Park, Phool Wali Gali, Gol Darwaza, Chowk, Lucknow
Timings: 11 a.m to 8:30 p.m
Price: Starting at ₹150