Layers of Resplendence – Bridal jewellery styles from God’s own country
Like every other state in India, Kerala is grandiose and has its unique confluence of cultures intrinsically inspired by the land’s biodiversity. And likewise, the brides of Kerala stand a class apart on their wedding day, decked up with gold jewellery that makes them glow radiantly. It is no wonder then that the quintessential Kerala bride embodies the amalgamation of glittering gold, divine simplicity, and a tranquil smile. And while the wedding rituals in themselves might seem simple, the sheer layers of gold that the bride adorns on her wedding day, starting from her neck to cover her bosom, and at times even reaching her navel, manages to outshine all other elements. Contrary to popular belief that these layers can be achieved through any design or combination of designs, one must realize that each of these necklaces bears great significance to the land’s culture and history. Read on to explore each necklace in detail.
The outermost line of necklaces that the bride adorns is the Mullamottu maala. Inspired by the jasmine flowers, this necklace is made of closely set jasmine bud motifs that settle like a floral garland around the bosom of the bride. A gold necklace that can be customized with stone embellishments, the Mullamottu maala adds a touch of regality to every bride’s overall look.
A highly celebrated and favored motif, the Maanga Maala is made of the Mango or Paisley motif. Intricately set in gold and highlighted with colored stones or enamel, this chain is worn a little closer to the neck. The precision and grandeur of this necklace is unmatched, and the stones/enamel strive to add a bit of gleaming color to the bride’s overall look.
As the name suggests, the Lakshmi Maala is a necklace that personifies the Goddess Lakshmi in all her glory. With a design similar to the Kaasu Maala or Coin Necklace that is prevalent in Tamil Nadu, the Lakshmi Maala has the Goddess’s motif engraved on the coins. This necklace is worn to invoke the blessings of the Goddess, and hints at the bride being the manifestation of Lakshmi herself, for the family she becomes a part of.
Bearing the significance of fertility and prosperity, this necklace carries the motif of leaves, with an impressive central pendant. Embellished with precious stones, this necklace is considered to bring good luck and fortune to those who don it.
Akin to a choker albeit a lengthier one, this necklace is inspired by the Nagas and their great King Cobra. With the motifs set in close together and encrusted with rubies, emeralds or other precious stones, this necklace is a dainty ornament which signifies royal aura and strength of character.
A truly unique design, the Elakkathali is a choker design that is native to Kerala. The bridal trousseau is incomplete without this necklace, which is set in gold plates that are very closely entwined. A signature jewellery design, this choker sits at the throat of the bride, becoming the foremost necklace that the bride adorns on her wedding day.
Apart from the layers of necklaces, the bride also takes on gold kadas/bangles on both her forearms, a pair of intricately detailed Jhumki for her ears, gold or silver anklets for the ankles, and elaborately fixed flowers or gold embellishments in their hair. The completed look is one which makes the bride akin to a royal queen.