Indian traditions are not just traditions, but a deep-rooted culture that one can see everywhere in the country. One such tradition is the ethnic jewellery works perfectly crafted and maintained graciously over the years. The ruins of Indus valley civilization, temples of South India, Bengal, Orissa and central India are evidence of India’s take on fashion and ever since it has been growing from simple into a more complex and majestic form. The 19-century old texts and epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Arthasastra have elaborately mentioned about the sophisticated art of the jewellers.
Jewellery in ancient times was either worn as adornment or viewed as something which possesses mystical quality. The Navaratna, Maniratna, Rudraksha, Sandalwood beads, etc. are believed to have magical powers and are worn even today. Below are some very ancient jewellery crafts of India that pronounce royalty and preserved through millennia. Most of them are still used as a part of bridal jewellery.
The Vanki is an armlet which resembles the form of a coiled snake and is worn by women in different parts of India. These are beautified with precious stones such as cabochon rubies and emeralds. Inverted V-shaped vanki of south India is a unique and rare jewel of India. Vanki is also believed to have originated from the snake worship popular in ancient India.
- Linga Padakka Muthu Malai
Linga Padakka Muthu Malai referred to the sacred ornament of Lord Shiva, is a traditional jewel from Tamil Nadu in which there are rows of pearl strings which together lead to a lingam pendant, a symbol of Shiva. The lingam is carved out of emerald and decorated with deep red rubies along with peacock designs. The lower part of the pendant has a lotus as a symbol of untouched purity in Hinduism that is covered with gemstones.
Oddiyanam is an ornament for the waist mostly made of gold and embellished with stones such as diamonds and rubies. It was a piece of popular jewellery of south India used to hold up the saree in position and to maintain a slim waist for women.
A minji or Metti is a toe ring made mostly out of silver worn after the marriage of the bride. It is believed to improve the reproductive health of a woman as a specific nerve from this toe connects the uterus and passes to the heart and thus regulating blood flow. These are worn on the second and third toe of either foot and are not removed throughout the lifetime.
Kadas, also known as karas, are traditional bangles. Various types of bracelets, such as the Bangdi, Churi, Naugari, Pahunchi, Kangan, Gaira, Bartana, Patri, Dastband and Kada, are worn by women predominantly in northern India. Kadas can be hollow, solid or filled with lac. The ends of the kadas have intricate work with wild designs such as parrots or elephants. Gemstones are a favourite thing to be used in the making of kada. A famous kada with floral designs of pink enamel-covered in the inner side is a speciality of Varanasi, which is quite rare.
Nath is a piece of nose jewellery likely to have originated in the Middle East when the Moghuls brought the nath to India. It is worn in the left nostril where it is believed to enhance reproductive health and comes in different shapes and sizes such as single stones, clove shaped, bulak, etc.
A Lolakku is a beautiful chunky ear ornament with grand and intricate designs with an Indian influence. Lolakku has a hanging jhumka that takes the shape of a bell. It is also known as ‘Karanphool’ in the northern parts of India. Lolakku or the Karanphool Jhumka is believed to have evolved in Rajasthani kingdoms where Karanphool symbolised the sun and the Jhumka symbolised the scarcity of water.
The Jadanagam or the hair serpent is a piece of hair jewellery worn by brides of south India to beautify their braided hair. The design mainly is composed of a rakkadi in the shape of sun symbolising power and the crescent moon which symbolizes calmness. This bridal piece was often adorned by devadasis who considered themselves as the brides of the temple deity.
The Panchangala sometimes referred to as Hathphool, indicates to jewel for the five fingers. It mainly consists of a bracelet with gemstone embellished chains leading to the fingers with rings having elaborate designs. The back of the jewel is covered with enamel designs. Kundan works are prominent in this, which gives it an intricate look.
Golusu is a feet jewellery item with heavy craftsmanship. These are worn as an adornment for the feet and often had tinkling bells or stone drops. Along with the golusu, henna or mehndi are also used to cover the feet in beautiful design. Different types of golusu are worn all over India such as the payal, gajra, sankla, chanjar, zanjiri, paizeb and kaappu.
The Indian subcontinent has a profound love for jewellery that has been passed on from generations since the time of its origin. The legacy of Indian traditional jewellery is in itself a legendary art form with magnificent craftsmanship that has inspired the whole world and is preserved, just like how an oyster protects its pearl.
Antique jewellery designs are no more a rare thing now as we at ANS jewellery, the best gold, silver, and diamond jewellery in Salem has a curated collection of traditional jewellery. We have a vast jewellery collection that can provide you with the ethnic and ancient pieces of gold jewellery, silver jewellery or platinum jewellery that you were always in search of.