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Morghul Kundan

Has anyone tried this technique? It is how the Morghul craftsmen were
able to set stones in jade. Pure gold will cold fuse if burnished,
hammered, abused (?) enough. Would a hammer handpiece accoplish
Kundan? Will hand burnishing be enough? Does it take a technology
based on slavery to accomplish it?


Moghul rulers did employ goldsmiths to set stones in many objects
d’art from crowns, to clothing to household items to luxuries for
gift giving to courtesans, family members, and political allies among

the Moghul rulers that enjoyed the objects, almost, if not certainly
were not making them themselves.

It is true that 24karat gold if thin enough and beaten enough (
remember it’s + 100 degrees in the daytime and as low as -10 at night
in the areas they conquered-) to cause friction fusion, in the
chandan processes was practised. To accomplish this today is simply
not worth the effort, when applying the barest whisp of a torch aids
the process along tenfold in time reduction and complete fusion using
gold sheets that are slightly thinner than that being sold for
keum-boo. A hammer handpiece, even ast a slow spped will punch right
through the foil…hand burnishing with agate and a warming plate wil
not damage the material but may take your four hours to accomplish a
task that will take three minutes with the assist of a torch to heat
the thin paper -lke sheeting.

Slavery is never necessary- though tempting at times…

R. E. Rourke


This is a technique I have an interest in as well. And I’m still
trying to get it to work. Last year I did have the fortune to visit a
kundan stone setter in India. He works at a tiny bench, sitting on
the floor, in front of a window for light. It’s a very low tech
process done at home. As I understand it, most are home based
workers, with the work delivered / picked up by a messenger from the
jewelry store who is having the piece made. Each step of making the
piece is done by a different specialist. So, each item passes through
many hands as it progresses from raw material to finished piece.
Stone setting is one of the last steps.

From watching, and our broken conversations, the keys for success
seem to be very clean gold foil (not leaf), a well polished
burnisher, a bit of patience and lots of practice. I haven’t gotten
much practice time in yet. I would like to find someone in the US who
is willing to teach more about this technique. Any contact
suggestions would be welcome.

Teri Jo