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Antique Kundan Jadau Meena of Varanasi: Old Memories

Updated on July 21, 2016

Kundan Jadau Sarpech

Kundan Jadau Sarpech from India Mughal period, 18th century, gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, enamel.   Exhibit in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Kundan Jadau Sarpech from India Mughal period, 18th century, gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, enamel. Exhibit in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Falcon on a Pedestal

Antique enameled silver Falcon on a Pedestal from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Indiai, late 19th century Sculpture
Antique enameled silver Falcon on a Pedestal from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Indiai, late 19th century Sculpture

Varanasi: An old center of Jewelry


Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is one of the oldest cities in India. It has a very rich culture and history. It was the capital of ancient Kashi region. This is a place auspicious for several religions such as Jain, Buddhist, and Sanatana. It is called the city of Kashi Vishvanath. Hindus believe that breathing last in Kashi is a gateway to heaven. The worshipers visit various ghats in the bank of river Ganges. Ganga Arati is the most famous event of Varanasi.

As a known place for art and craft, Varanasi has developed its own tradition in Gems and Jewelry. Meenakari of the city has earned a name among the Jewelry lover women and girls. Gold Jewelry of Varanasi is one of its kinds. The specialty is Pink Meena. The word Meena means enameling work on gold or silver. As the city manufactures in its own fashion, quantity is not as much as Jaipur or Bikaner.

May the common people do not remember Varanasi for Kundan Meena Jadau, but it is significant for those having a taste for design and fashion. This oriental Jewelry of Varanasi means something special for them. Artisans of Varanasi also produced artistic articles enameling those on silver or gold.

Today, I am remembering the old heritage of the city, forgotten Oriental Kundan Jadau Meena ornaments. Varanasi made almost all types of wearable gold Jewelry in its own fashion in the past. Tradition is still going on at a reduced pace. Below are the samples of the same.

Parrot on a Swing

Enameled silver inlaid with glass, Parrot on a Swing,  Varanasi,  Uttar Pradesh,  India, late 19th century Sculpture
Enameled silver inlaid with glass, Parrot on a Swing, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, late 19th century Sculpture

Varieties of ornaments from Varanasi


Indian jewelers had been developing incredible designs and manufacturing those as wearable since time immemorial. They have developed various types of jewelry for wearing in different parts of the body. Varanasi, being an old Indian center for jewelry making had also developed ornaments of its own kind. I am listing here some of those.

Necklace: Various kinds of necklaces were manufactured in the city e.g. Katla, made of 9 pieces joining in a row. Teek that looks like a collar, Tetua slang used for the neck. Patrihar is a long necklace being the pieces joined like a string with pearl or Colorstone beads. Champa kali is also a type of necklace with pieces resembling buds of flower Champa. These buds are assembled in a half moon shape. Hasli is a half moon shaped rod-like necklace. Hasli is made in various places but Varanasi Hasli is wider than that of other places.

Earrings: A tops like shape is called Karnafool means flower of the ears. Dooms like piece hanging with the earrings are called Jhumka.

Bracelet: Bracelets are called Jahangiree being the centerpiece oval or rectangular. Pearls are stringed to it to make a belt. Kada, Kankini, Pachheli, and Chhand are like modern days Churi in different designs. These are to be worn together.

The Hath-fool is a beautiful oriental ornament covering the entire palm and the fingers.

Armlets: Baazuband and Rooli are the kinds of armlet. Joshan is to cover the arms above Baazuband.

Ring: Arshi is a special kind of ring in which a mirror is studded along with diamond or other precious stones.

Ornaments for head and forehead: One can wear Chhapka as an ornament by the side of the head. Juluf has nine strings in which five types of Tikda hangs. Sikabena has nine peacocks covering the forehead. Bindibena is similar ornament using Tikdis.

Kalangi and sarpech are the ornaments for the male.

Paejaeb is for legs and Kardhani for the waist.

Many of these old-fashioned ornaments are not in use in modern days but loved as antique Jewelry. The very purpose of the article is to remind the rich old tradition and amazing art worth mention.

Varanasi at present days


Varanasi has again come into live light as Narendra Modi filed his nomination as Loksabha candidate from this parliamentary constituency. He won from this seat and sworn in as Prime Minister of India.

Narendra Modi has recently visited Japan starting from its heritage city Kyoto. Modi declared that he would develop Varanasi in the style of Kyoto. Government and private entrepreneurs will invest a huge amount to develop the city.

This will help developing business in Varanasi. It will be a resurgence of the city and its culture. We are hopeful that the art of enameling in Varanasi (Pink Meena) will again come into the picture.

Updated on September 9, 2014

Vardhaman Gems: Kundan Meena Jadau educative series

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Kundan Meena Jadau Jewelry

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    • profile image

      anurag 2 years ago

      Hi m anurag vishwakarma jyoti g m doing kudai meena i need work at varanasi 8826407314

    • profile image

      Ranjeet soni 5 years ago

      Hi jyoti me bikaner se hu or mera name ranjeet hai. I like meena, becoz i am a meenakar

    • profile image

      sanaiya 6 years ago

      hello,

      i was wondering where i could get large kundan piece with connectors or links on either side to make necklace or just pieces to stick on to bangle cuffs

      thank u

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 6 years ago from Jaipur

      Thanks for your comment. I wish u all success in your work.

    • profile image

      vishal sahdev 6 years ago

      hi jyoti,

      i like ur jwellery very much.i also work maker of jwelry.now i can see new callektion thanx.

    • profile image

      mamta 6 years ago

      hi!

      i'm from Varansi. i have some rare old ancestral antique kundan meena jewelry dating back to more than hundred years. Now i want to sell it. Can u please Mr. Jyoti Kothari tell me where and how to get it appraised to get a good worthy amount for it.

    • tochandresh profile image

      tochandresh 7 years ago from India

      Trophies and AwardsFineAwards.com offers Crystal Awards, Glass Awards, Custom Awards, Crystal plaques, Glass plaques, Glass trophies, trophies and awards 3D laser Awards and Marble Awards. Free Engraving, no setup Charges.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 7 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Shobhit,

      Thanks for your comments. Varanasi is one of the oldest city In India and the world and have very rich traditions.

      Varanasi had been producing various types of diamond cuts since centuries.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Shobhit 7 years ago

      Hi Jyoti,

      You have well done. Few people know about heritage Jewelry of Varanasi. It was an old center of diamond cutting.

      Thanks, you have shared your excellent knowledge. Thanks for researching on Varanasi, the oldest city of India.

    • profile image

      Aruna 8 years ago

      Old history recovered! Fantastic.

      Aruna

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi George,

      You are always welcome to our office. I can show you some pieces of Varanasi kundan Meena Jadau.

      Thanks for commenting and showing interest in Kundan Meena Jadau Jewelry.

      Jyoti Kothari

      http://kundan-jadau-meena.webs.com

    • profile image

      George Joseph 8 years ago

      Jyoti Kothari,

      I am in Jaipur now and want to meet with you. Can I meet? can you show me some pieces of these antique type Jewelry from Varanasi?

      I will love to see those and may be tempted to buy some. rated up this hub!

      Thanks,

      George

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi,

      You were at right place. Do not regret. Please go once again and have a look to this wonderful creations.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Jayanti Chakravarti 8 years ago

      Jyoti,

      Once I had been in to Varanasi and now I can remember that our guide had shown us some artisans doing some pink meena work. I could not understand anything at that time. Not even I took interest.

      But now I can understand that they were working to make some replica of old pink meena.

      Jayanti

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Summetji,

      varanasi is the house of many things. After all it is one of the oldest city in India. How do you like this hub?

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Sumit Dassani 8 years ago

      Though we are in the trade since long time, I do not know much about old Meena of Benares.

      Useful info for traders.

      Sumit

    • profile image

      Sumit Dassani 8 years ago

      Though we are in the trade since long time, I do not know much about old Meena of Benares.

      Useful info for traders.

      Sumit

    • profile image

      Birla K M 8 years ago

      Awesome!!!

      Old memories recalled.

      Birla K M

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi John,

      Jaipur Meena differs in many ways such as style, color, design, quality etc from Varanasi Meena. Please refer to site below for more information.

      http://kundan-jadau-meena.webs.com

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      John mac 8 years ago

      Hi Jyoti,

      How Varanasi differs from Jaipur in Kundan Meena except in color?

      John

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Dear Amit,

      Thanks for compliments. Kundan Meena Jadau is latest in fashion Jewelry. People are now crazy of the same. Thanks of becoming a fan of such wonderful creations of India.

      I will reply your mail.

      Thanks,

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Amit Shah 8 years ago

      dear Jyoti,

      Thanks for sharing old memories. I became your fan and also fan of Kundan Meena. Please follow my mail and reply soon.

      Amit

    • linjingjing profile image

      linjingjing 8 years ago

      Kundan jadau Meena of Varanasi history

      Support

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Dear Dharmendra,

      Thanks for posting comment on this hub. Are you the same who has Jewelry showroom in Mumbai?

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Dharmendra Gandhi 8 years ago

      This is a good description of old Meenakari from Varanasi. I belong to a Jeweler family of Varanasi and I liked it very much. It refreshes my memory of old times.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Monalisa,

      Visit Varanasi again and see the beautiful Jewelry.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Monalisa 8 years ago

      hi,

      I nevr thought of Varanasi as a center of Jewelry. I visited varanasi once but visited historical places. Good info.

      Monalisa

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Norman,

      It depends upon one's choice. Can we say that one color is better than another? it all depends on individual choice in case of clothes, room color or car colors. So to Jewelry.

      Jaipur and Varanasi both have different trends and style of manufacturing Kundan Meena Jadau. Again it depends upon individual choice.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Norman 8 years ago

      Hi,

      Which Meena is better? Pink or multicolor? Jaipur or Varanasi?

      Norman

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Lee,

      You can go to Jewelry market and search for these items. You can contact me via e-mail for more info.

      Jyoti Kothari

    • profile image

      Xian lee 8 years ago

      Hi Jyoti,

      I am planning to be in Varanasi next month. It is Buddhist center of pilgrimage. I will be going there along with Bodhgaya, rajgir and Nalanda.

      Please inform me about some places where can I find these antiques.

      Lee

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
      Author

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Dear Mr. Bothara,

      Please provide me some more info about Varanasi Jewelry, if you have. i will like to include in this hub.

      Jyoti

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

    • profile image

      Surendra Bothara 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Jyoti,

      You have done wonderful job by recollecting memory of Varanasi.

      Surendra

    • profile image

      Anjali 8 years ago

      jyoti,

      I baught gold jewelry many times and want to buy more. Can you tell me a source for Varanasi Meena? I will come back and check this article.

      Anjali

    • profile image

      Indian lady 8 years ago from India

      A new feature about Varanasi. Really nice.

    • profile image

      Nagao Saka 8 years ago

      VERY INTERESTING.

      Japan has very strong and historical connection with Varanasi. lord Buddhas place.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image
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      Jyoti Kothari 9 years ago from Jaipur

      Dear john,

      Of course. My business is gem & jewelry.

      Jyoti kothari

    • profile image

      john schmit 9 years ago

      I think you love Kundan-meena-jadau very much, most of your hubs are related to it. This time you came with history, thanx for forgotten ornaments remembered.

      john