Traditional South Indian Bridal Jewelry

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South Indian weddings are replete with gold ornaments. The traditional South Indian bridal jewelry is a reflection of the bride’s status and prestige. Her bridal ensemble is incomplete without extensive selections of yellow gold jewelry for every wedding ornament meant for a bride.

The most important bridal jewelry is the ‘mangal sutra’ which is the bridal necklace with a bridal pendant of the Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. This necklace is tied by the groom around his bride’s neck at the pinnacle of the South Indian wedding ceremony, knotted three times at the nape of her neck. This piece of jewelry is not worn before the wedding takes place.

Bangles are critical traditional South Indian bridal jewelry and an abundance of gold bangles is the norm for brides. Heavy rings on the fingers are crucial as are rings on the toes. The bride will also wear a gold nose ring pierced through her right nostril. The nose ring may have a long chain attached to it which is hooked to the bride’s hair. Her ear rings will be ornate pieces that resemble a chandelier and will match her very thick necklace. These constitute the base of her bridal jewelry, which must match her bridal outfit.

Traditional South Indian bridal jewelry includes bracelets that are more like heavy bangles which are thicker and often studded with gems. These bracelets are worn on both wrists. Anklets are a necessary part of bridal jewelry and most brides will wear a pair of tinkling anklets that have small bells which announce her every step. Traditional bridal jewelry has a pair of arm bands attached to the upper arm of the bride. She also wears a waist band made of yellow gold which grips her sari to her waist.

In times before safes were available to store jewelry, traditional South Indian societies wore their gold on their person for safety. They also wore gold as an indication of wealth and status. Gold was a crucial investment for women.

Traditional South Indian bridal jewelry encompass a startling array of ornaments in yellow gold which weigh down the bride in their complexity and sheer volume. Such jewelry is a necessary part of the bride’s wedding ensemble.

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