Wedding Jewelry – The Soul of Indian Culture
India is a land of diversity and different parts of India have different customs and therefore different kinds of jewellery, which are important and customary to wear on a daily basis or on special occasions. Weddings are the biggest form of celebrations in India and they also serve as the biggest excuse to buy and indulge in jewellery. Wedding season contributes to the maximum amount of gold, silver and diamond sales since its considered both auspicious to gift these precious metals which also double up as safe and secure investments.In this blog, we have compiled the different kinds of jewellery which are worn on an Indian wedding and their significance across various cultures.
What do the different kinds of jewellery worn at a wedding signify?
It is an auspicious thread which the groom ties around the neck of his wife at the wedding ceremony. It is the symbol of being married and is worn by Hindu ladies in the greater part of Western and southern India. This thread symbolizes the love and attachment with which the husband and wife will be tied to each other throughout their lives. Mangalsutra is ideally made up of yellow gold and black beads interspersed on a thread made of yellow gold which may or may not include a pendant made of plain gold or studded with diamonds. The gold wire of the Mangalsutra destroys the distressing vibrations present in the Universe through its Energy of the Absolute Fire element. The black colour of the beads is said to absorb all negative vibrations before they can reach the bride. Just as each bead contributes to making a beautiful necklace, so does the woman need to blend and integrate into the new family after marriage.
View our mangalsutra designs gold collection for this wedding season.
It is a plain simple stud in gold/silver/diamond or coloured stones. A nose ring can be a plain ring of gold/silver or an elaborate, decorative ring adorned with gold beads and filigree, pearls, gemstones or diamonds. Sometimes this nose ring can be attached to a long chain whose loose end can be tucked into the hair, better known as the Nath. Indian girls and women get their nose pierced as a way to honour Goddess Parvati. Wearing a Nath on the wedding doubles up the beauty of the bride and regular wearing of the nose pin is believed to boost the fertility of women and ease the pains during childbirth.
For those without nose piercing, Naths which can be pressed on to the nostril from either side is very common and look equally beautiful. Have a look our gold nose pins collection.
Anklets or Payals and Toe-rings or bichua
They are jewellery meant to be worn on the feet and are ideally made in silver since its considered inauspicious to wear gold on the feet. Generally made from silver these anklets are chain like and are worn on both the feet. They come in traditional designs and delicate patterns. Some anklets have small metallic bells or “ghungroos” which rub against each other and emit a melodious sound when the bride moves, this lends an enticing and captivating aura to the bride. Nowadays anklets which are much simpler in design are worn by unmarried girls, on one feet, as a fashion statement.
Toe rings or bichua
They are worn in pairs and are worn by the bride, most married women and nowadays even unmarried women. They can be simple rings or can have small studs of coloured stones, or elaborate patterns such as a peacock etc. Wearing toe rings is believed to keep the reproductive system healthy in females and regularize menstrual cycles.
Chudis and kadas or Bangles and bracelets
The bangle is one of the most important wedding jewellery for many Indian brides. In South, India brides wear bangles made of gold. Bengali brides wear conch shell and red coral bangle called “shakha pola” and gold plated iron bangles gifted by their mother-in-law. Brides of Gujarat, Rajasthan wear ivory bangles and chooda. Punjabi brides wear red bangles called Chooda. In Maharashtra, Brides wear green bangles along with solid gold bangles called “patlya” and carved kadas called “tode”. In Haryana brides wear green glass bangles. Glass bangles represent safety and luck in marriage. Glass bangles have Sattvikta, Devi principle and Chaitanya in them hence attract positive energies. In addition, the sound generated by the glass bangles keeps negative energies at bay.
Red coloured bangles signify energy and prosperity, while green denotes good luck and fertility, blue bangles symbolize wisdom and purple symbolize independence. Yellow bangles are meant for happiness, white is for new beginnings and orange is for success. Silver bangles denote strength and gold bangles are the ultimate symbol of fortune and prosperity.
The small jeweled chandeliers that hang from the bride’s wrists, are traditional in Punjabi Sikh weddings but have recently become very popular among Hindu brides. They come in all sorts of colours and are usually made out of gold or metal. It is customary for brides to continue to wear them for 40 days after their wedding along with the chooda – this is specifically to deter her from doing housework! Kalire is tied to the bride’s bangles during the Chooda Ceremony by the bride’s maternal aunt and uncle.
The Engagement ring is an important part of weddings nowadays and is worn on the ring finger of the left hand by the bride and the groom. Since the left-handed ring finger is believed to be connected to the heart by a vein”Vena amoris” or the “Vein of Love”. In some cultures, a Wedding ring is worn by both men and women to indicate that its wearer is married. The engagement/wedding ring could be a plain band made of gold or platinum or studded with diamonds especially solitaires. A bride may choose to wear other heavy embellished fancy rings like Cocktail rings.Wedding bands/Engagement rings is the only piece of jewellery which is common for both men and women, so nowadays they can be even purchased as matching pairs in the form of “love bands”.
Very often, rings for all fingers, on one hand, could be linked together with chains, making a web like structure called the “haath phool”, which the bride often wears.
When chosen and worn right, Earrings can instantly transform someone into a showstopper.This is why brides often have a huge collection of earrings in different sizes and shapes. Brides choose delicate balis, Ear studs ordazzling solitaire studs for everyday wear. For a regal and flamboyant look, brides can opt for traditional “Jhumkas Designs” and “Chandbaalis”.“Chandelier Earrings” which are studded with glittering diamonds and resemble the chandelier work best for cocktail and sangeet functions. Wearing earrings has an acupuncture-effect on the body. Ancient people treated diseases of feminine Yin organs via earrings in the left ear and diseases of the male Yang organs via the right ear.
In the Hindu tradition, great emphasis is given to hair parting where married women are supposed to put vermillion or sindoor. Brides often wear the mang tikka designs, a small chain worn on the head at the parting of the hair, with one end hooked to the hair and the other end attached to a pendant delicately dangling at the forehead of the wearer.There are a variety of styles including. ones with three chains, one chain, extra dangly bits, and even cone-shaped pieces called “Borla” (usually worn by Rajasthani brides). Tikka’s are extremely traditional as they hang over the ajna chakra, the home of the body’s mind and intellect. It is said to control the heat of our body. Mang Tikka signifies that a woman is married though nowadays unmarried girls sport it as a fashion accessory.
Baaju band or Armlet
It is worn a little above the elbow and is a fine piece of jewellery which in ancient India, was worn by men as well. Worn as a fashion accessory by the bride, the arm ring helps blood circulation in the arms and creates right amount of resistance to make the arm comfortable. They are thought to ward away evil spirits.
Kamarband or Tagdi
They are to be worn on the waist. These could be delicate chains which could be slipped
along the waist or could have elaborate patterns made using coins, beads in precious and semiprecious metals. These lend a delicate grace to the wearer and should be worn with midriff-baring apparel such as sari or lehenga. It is particularly used to control women from getting fatter and to avoid flab in hip and pot belly.
Not Just tradition but a means to Showcase Wealth and Style
The wedding is a time when the parents try to pass down their wealth to their children in the form of heavy jewellery preferably made of gold, as it serves both as a blessing and investment to the newlyweds owing to its purity and religious significance. So, apart from the traditional essentials, a bride wears a lot of heavy necklaces and necklace sets which depict the family’s wealthy status and add extra glitter and shine to the wedding look.
A Set– It is a necklace with matching earrings and ring. Sets can be made in plain gold or studded with Diamonds, Kundan or Polki. Nowadays brides and their bridesmaids wear non-precious flowers and even Gota sets especially for the mehndi/haldi ceremony. Kundan Sets (glass set in 24 kt gold foil) and Polki sets (uncut diamonds set in gold) and necklaces are a favourite among brides which leave the bride looking like a royal on her wedding day.
For brides with more sophisticated tastes, sets with multi-layered strands of pearl look very classy and glamorous.
They have a lot of significance in a wedding and sometimes these can be heirlooms passed on from one generation to the other.
Simple chain with/without pendants
They are available in different thickness and designs and can be worn as it is or they can be teamed with unique pendants. Pendants can be floral in design or a miniature version of the deity that the bride believes in. You can have a silver chain, a gold chain or a plated chain. The pendant can be made of gold or silver or diamond / other precious stones.
They are generally wide neck pieces that sit very close to the neck. Choker designs normally have an adjustable string which can be loosened or tightened. A multi-layer pearl choker with a semi-precious stone set in between looks very chic and yet is not very expensive. Other chokers can be made of gold and silver and can be adorned with kundan, polki or meenakari.
colloquially known as ‘haar’ are heavy types of necklaces. These are usually long enough to reach the navel of the wearer and can be made in different metals and patterns. A particular style of necklace called “Rani Haar” is a favourite among brides with a fat budget.
Indians and Jewellery remain Inseparable since time Immemorial
There were 36 kinds of essential jewellery and ornaments used during the Vedic era, each signifying a body mechanism. The traditional ornaments of the Hindus are believed to allow the wearer to imbibe divine consciousness (Chaitanya), reduce black vigour in the body and ward off negative energies.
Generally, we see women wearing gold ornaments on the upper part of the body and silver ornaments on the lower part of the body. According to scientific principles, silver reacts well to the Earth’s energy, while gold reacts well to the body’s energy and aura.
Besides the religious and cultural significance, scientific and health benefits behind these pieces of jewellery, we Indians love to indulge in buying jewelry since it is considered a good investment which can help us in difficult times, the best gift to give to a loved one, stirs up sentiments when passed down as family heirlooms, signifies good fortune and good luck, brings the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi and most importantly because we love jewelry just like we love our Indianess.
See Our Wedding Jewellery Studio!