Indian Traditional Jewelry

Indian jewelry is an integral part of the Indian lifestyle. India has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery making anywhere since Ramayana and Mahabharata times.
The Indian jewelry is varied in styles and designs in accordance to the different regions. Different states have different styles of Indian jewelry that are unique to that state and are not found anywhere else. For instance, the delicate filigree work in silver is unique to Orissa and Andhra Pradesh; the Meenakari (jewelry enameling work) is popular in Rajasthan; the temple town of Nagercoil in south is famous for its famous temple jewelry; Delhi is famous for its Kundan jewelry and so on.
Indian jewelry has a variety of ornaments in different styles and designs for just about every part of the body. ┬áToday, many of the jewellery designs and traditions are still used and jewellery is commonplace in Indian ceremonies and weddings. Let’s take a look at some of the common items of Indian bridal jewelry.

Maang Tikka
Maang Tikka is basically a string, with a center piece on one end and a hook on the other. The bride wears it on the centre parting of her hair. The center piece delicately touches the forehead and draws attention to the eyebrows and eyes.

Shringar Patti
Shringar patti is used to accentuate the Maang Tikka. This bridal jewelry item adorns the forehead of the bride and is placed along the hairline, like filigree.

A very integral part of the Indian weddings, particularly Hindu marriages, Mangalsutra is a jewelry that symbolizes a married woman. The groom ties the string around the bride’s neck during the wedding ceremony. It symbolizes an unbroken bond of understanding, love and sacrifices in their life as husband and wife. The Mangal Sutra is never taken off by the woman after marriage until the death of the husband. ┬áMangalsutra is usually a string of black beads with a gold or diamond pendant.

Necklace and Earrings
Necklace and earrings are perhaps the most important pieces of Indian jewelry. Bridal jewelry keeps up the tradition with a heavy neck piece along with matching, dangling earrings. The necklace and earrings are heavily ornate and usually studded with precious stones keeping in mind the color and style of the bridal dress. Earrings are also perfect for a social event or even a family get-together and are worn by both men and women. Earrings come in a variety of metals and materials like platinum, copper, wood, beads, oxidized metal, etc.
The Indian necklace is available in a variety of designs and styles and has a lot of traditional and sentimental value attached to it. Sometimes necklaces that have been worn by different generations of a family are preserved by each generation to hand over to the next one. The necklace is a jewelry that adorns the slender neck of a woman thus emphasizing on the delicacy and beauty of the woman. Pendants can be worn with a simple thin chain, a necklace or even earrings and watches. Indian pendants come in a variety of styles and designs. Since India believes in spirituality, there are a lot of such pendants that are worn due to spiritual reasons. Zodiac sign pendants, numerology pendants, Rudraksh pendants, birthstone pendants, etc. are a hot favorite among Indians.

Can you imagine Indian jewelry ensemble without bangles? Bridal jewelry has bangles as an essential item. Brides in the Southern part of India typically go for broad, intricately patterned and heavy gold bangles. But in other areas of India, glass or ivory bangles in red and white are worn to keep with religious and traditional requirements.
Known as a universal fashion accessory, Bangles are worn by women of any age group irrespective of race, caste, religion, etc. Bangles are considered to be traditional jewelry in India and are known as “Chudi”. Typically, a bangle is worn in the arms and it adorns the area between the elbow and the wrist. Gold and silver are the most popular choices for making bangles. But glass, ceramic, lac, oxidized metal, plastic, wood, ivory, etc. are also used.

Nose Studs and Nose Rings
Nose rings are another form of jewelry that is quite popular in Indian tradition. Nose studs or rings in Indian jewelry can be as simple as a stud or a simple ring. Bridal jewelry though, is typically a fairly large, studded nose ring, with a long chain attached to it. The chain is used to hook the jewelry in the hair above the ear, holding the nose ring in place. Nose rings and nose pins sure add grace and beauty to a woman’s face and also accentuate the nose.

Bracelet with Rings
The bracelet with rings is also called Hathphool in some parts of India. It is a strikingly beautiful piece of bridal jewelry which adorns the wrists as well as the fingers. It is a bracelet with strings attached to it. The strings have rings at the other end, which are worn on the fingers. Bracelets by themselves can be worn for any occasion or even for daily wear. Worn by both men and women, bracelets add grace and charm to any outfit. They make a bold fashion statement and also look traditional with ethnic outfits.

Finger Rings
Hathphool is more a fancy piece of bridal jewelry than a necessity. What is necessary, however, are the rings. The engagement and other rings are worn on almost all the fingers. The rings are mostly gold, studded with diamonds or other precious stones. Also in the everyday life the finger rings remain a favorite. Whether as a fashion accessory or traditional jewellery, finger rings have always fascinated both men and women alike.

Waist Band
One of the most unique jewelry in India is the waistband. Popularly known by the names of “Kamarband” or “Tagdi”, the Indian waistband is a beautiful piece of ornament that is worn around the waist and it rests delicately just below the waistline. An intricately designed Kamarband looks fabulous on a slim woman and accentuates her figure. ┬áThe waistband is not considered an essential item in a wedding or a dance program, but they still exist in Indian urban colonies. This is a heavy piece of jewelry, and worn around the waist, it is meant to support and keep the wedding dress in place.

Arm bands are also optional nowadays. Brides either wear one in each arms, or just a single piece.

Armlets are traditional forms of jewelry that have become very trendy these days. In ancient times, armlets were worn by both men as well as women with the sole aim of looking beautiful. The armlets were made of crude metal in shapes of creepers, snakes, and crocodiles. They were used as jewellery in not just India but there are proofs to show that armlets were used by the tribes of Native America also. Popularly known as “Baju Bandh” in India, these ornaments are available in many different designs and styles.

Toe Ring
Toe ring is an essential part of bridal jewelry in almost all regions of India. Though usually married women wear toe rings, these days even young girls who are unmarried wear toe rings as fashion accessories. Popularly known as “Bichua”, toe rings come in a variety of designs and styles. Toe rings are more or less similar to finger rings. The only difference is that toe rings have a little gap in order to allow the ring to easily slip over the toe.

Anklets are traditional Indian jewelry that is worn around the ankle. They are made of silver or gold and have beads and other embellishments. They are popularly known as “Payal” or “Pajeb” and are worn by kids as well as young and old women. The Indian anklets are very famous over the world and are reputed for their beautiful carvings, embellishments, and countless styles. Traditionally, anklets used to be worn by unmarried girls in India. An anklet usually has small bells that make a very sweet noise while walking thus drawing attention to the wearer’s feet.


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