Polki and Kundan Jewelry – Everything You Need to Know

Polki and kundan jewelry guide

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Polki and Kundan Jewelry are closely associated with Indian culture, but today, they’re globally renowned for their shine, shimmer and luster. They’re commonly worn by brides and celebrities because of their unique and majestic look.

If you’re interested in purchasing Polki or Kundan jewelry, but you’re not sure which to choose, then you’ve come to the right place. In this brief guide, we’ll explore the various similarities and differences between Polki and Kundan Jewelry which will help you decide.

Origins of Polki and Kundan Jewelry 

Polki and Kundan jewelry

Polki and Kundan jewelry have different points of origin. These two types of Indian jewelry don’t converge until the Medieval era. Kundan Jewelry originated in ancient Indian society and was especially connected with the region of Rajasthan. Polki jewelry, on the other hand, was brought into the Indian subcontinent by the Mughals.

Despite their varying origins, both types of jewelry flourished and gained widespread attention during the Mughal reign. In contemporary times, Polki and Kundan jewelry are both desired by celebrities and royal families for weddings and other major celebrations. 

What is Polki Jewelry?

Polki diamond ring

Artisan crafted Polki diamond ring by Gem Getter. See it here.

Polki refers to diamonds that aren’t polished, cut or treated with any chemicals, which gives them their rustic look. The color and texture of the precious gem is retained in its natural state. Jewelers shape and chisel the stone, but they also ensure that the natural structure isn’t compromised. Every Polki stone is unique and no two pieces are alike. 

Polki jewelers work with all types of diamonds and don’t exclude those with inclusions, dull hues, or flawed clarity. Although Polki is made using diamonds, these stones don’t reflect the shine and brilliance of diamonds which have been cut and polished to bring out their maximum brilliance.

Since Polki diamonds have no enhancements and are made from even low quality rough, they aren’t as expensive as typical diamonds.

What is Kundan Jewelry?

Kundan jewelry set

Kundan jewelry set by Rayna Boutique Jewelry. See it here.

Kundan Jewelry is made from colored glass or gemstones set in precious metals of silver or gold. Making kundan Jewelry is a labor-intensive process that can take many hours or even days. Only skilled workers who have a keen eye for detail can make exquisite Kundan pieces. 

Kundan jewelry also has many layers of stone and displays elaborate joint work. Although it can be expensive for some, it’s much more affordable than Polki since it doesn’t consist of real diamonds. Kundan jewelry is also quite fragile and comparatively less brilliant than Polki jewelry. 

The Process of Making Polki and Kundan Jewelry 

Polki and Kundan Jewelry are both crafted and designed in a similar way. In Polki Jewelry, uncut diamonds are placed onto a metal base by using pure gold foils and lac. The gold foil has many intricate patterns and designs. Once the diamonds have been embedded onto the metal base, other gems such as pearls, rubies and tourmalines are placed beside the precious stone to give the jewelry added brilliance and shine. 

In Kundan Jewelry, gold pieces and strips are chiseled to form a base, after which glass stones are gently placed onto the base metal. It doesn’t necessarily need to have a strong gold base since it only needs to hold up the glass stones. Kundan Jewelry has very intricate patterns and details at the back. 

Gemstones in Polki and Kundan Jewelry 

Ruby and diamond Polki set

Ruby and diamond Polki jewelry set by Zohra Arts. See it here.

Clear white diamonds are the most desired gems for Polki jewelry pieces, but since these are extremely rare and valuable, diamonds with yellow and brown tints are also used. To further enhance the shine and brilliance of Polki jewelry, other precious gems and valuable pearls are also embedded in the piece.

Kundan jewelry

Kundan jewelry by Aashi Designs. Check price here.

In ancient India, Kundan Jewelry was made with precious metals and gemstones such as rubies, emeralds or sapphires. Nowadays, glass pieces imitate the color and quality of these precious gems. These are far more popular due to their cost-effectiveness and affordability.   

Jadau and Meenakari 

Both Polki and Kundan Jewelry are created using Jadau and Meenakari techniques.

  • Jadau is a technique used by ghaarias (the craftsmen)to make this type of jewelry. It involves heating pure gold and molding it to create a base. This base serves as a frame into which diamonds or glass stones are embedded. The jadau technique is used to merge the gemstones with the base. Additional processes aren’t required.
  • Meenakari is a process of coloring, decorating and enamelling the base metal of the jewelry. Layers upon layers of colors are placed on the base metal to make it more appealing and attractive. Many pieces of jewelry that exhibit a plethora of shades are usually embellished with the Meenakari technique.

Polki and Kundan Jewelry Designs

Polki and Kundan necklace and earring set

Diamond Polki necklace and earrings by AZIZA Creations Shop. See them here.

Polki and Kundan Jewelry are highly desired by Indian brides of different social classes and statuses. There are various types of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets and forehead jewelry, available in both Polki and Kundan styles. There are also complete bridal sets that comprise an assortment of jewelry pieces. 

Many people choose to wear Polki or Kundan jewelry for special events since they’re too heavy and not ideal for daily wear.  In this case, it’s possible to rent Polki or Kundan jewelry from shops and beauty salons. There’s also Polki and Kundan jewelry made from synthetic gemstones for brides looking for a more affordable option.

Many Indian brides are presented with Polki heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. Polki jewelry is the popular choice for brides who want a modern look, while Kundan is apt for those who desire something more traditional.  

Taking Care of Polki and Kundan Jewelry 

If you want your Polki and Kundan Jewelry to last a long time, you’ll need to pay some extra attention to them since they do require some care and maintenance. It’s important to be very careful when cleaning them since the stones can get dislodged. A few drops of mild detergent, some warm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush will be more than enough to clean the jewelry and once you’re done, make sure to dry it properly.  

Some people also use aluminum foil to clean their jewelry. Place a piece of aluminum foil inside a bowl and fill the bowl with warm water, baking soda, salt and mild detergent. Soak the Polki or Kundan jewelry in this solution for about 15 minutes. Afterwards, dry it carefully and store it in a safe place.  

Polki and Kundan Jewelry must be stored in a warm and dry place that’s free from moisture. The jewelry should first be wrapped in baking paperor cotton cloth and placed in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container. If the jewelry gets exposed to moisture, it can become tarnished and dull.

It’s also not recommended to wear Polki and Kundan jewelry while washing dishes, gardening or going for a swim since too much exposure can cause damage. 

Buying Polki and Kundan Jewelry

Polki and Kundan Jewelry can be purchased in several places including Rajasthan and Gujarat. Both states sell the most authentic, original and unique jewelry.

However, since traveling all the way to India for this isn’t practical, we recommend searching online. Amazon and Etsy have a wide range of extraordinary Polki and Kundan jewelry designs at various prices.  

Wrapping Up

Polki and Kundan Jewelry each have their own merits and advantage. Choosing between the two depends on what you prefer. Both types of jewelry are worn by celebrities and royalty which is why they’re rapidly gaining fame and popularity in different parts of the world.