|The groom ties the thali around the bride's neck|
South Indians (Tamil, Telugu and Kanadigas) mostly wear Temple jewelry, Keralities wear gold and Maharashtrians wear pearls and gold during wedding. Silver is usually not worn and is considered auspicious only in the form of vessels, lamps etc.
Here is a summary from head to toe
Hair /head accessories: a center focal with a tie up on two sides. The discs are called sun and the moon (symbolizing the blessings of celestial beings). At the back (crown of the head) is Rakodi worn to protect the brain and fresh flowers surround it. The lower portion of the braid is decorated with gold plated/stone studded snake motifs (naagar) in decreasing proportion while some wear discs similar to the rakodi. Some others wear fresh flowers or floral shapes (either as screws or combs) and the braid ends in a silk tassel. A bindi adorns the forehead.
Earring: Traditonal Jumka (basket earrings) with a chain are worn
Nose ring: some brides get their nose pierced just before the wedding and are gifted with a diamond nose pin. In Maharashtra, the much celebrated nath or Circular barbells is worn
Mangalsutra/ Thali/Thirumangalyam/Muhurthamani : Considered the most sacred of all jeweleries for a married woman, it is the the Hindu equivalent of the wedding ring and is tied by the groom around the bride's neck as a sign of commitment. The thali could have the design of the Conch and disc (Shangu - Chakram), tulasi madam ( holy basil plant), shiva lingam (Phallus) or Goddess Meenakshi represented as per family traditions. As the Mangal Sutra lands on the middle of the bride’s chest, it symbolizes that her man has occupied the whole of her being through her heart. Coins, coral beads or doomed bezels are also worn along with the center piece in the thali.
In kanadiga and Maharashtrian communities, a chain of black beads with a pendant is worn as the mangal sutra and is called the Muhurtamani (mani a gold piece with the sun and moon representing the delicate balance a bride is supposed to maintain between the husband’s and her maternal family.)
Hands : A carved/embossed/stone studded armlet (called Vanki or angada) shaped like a snake or floral arch is worn. The Finger ring which the maternal uncle buys for the bride is the most important. In Kerala there is a custom of wearing gold rings with the spouse's name engraved on it.
Bangles are considered very auspicious and it is customary that the brides wears atleast one pair of new bangles. In the south, bangles are predominantly gold with glass bangles to match the colour of their sarees. In Maharashtra green bangles are considered a sign of marital bliss. Also during the pre wedding ceremonies a holy thread (kappu) is tied on the brides wrists to ward off all evil spirits. It symbolizes a kind of protective armor for the bride.This is removed only when the couple reach the bridegroom's house after the wedding
Leg: Some brides wear anklets but it is not customary to do so.
Toe ring: Metti: After the Thali is tied and offerings are made to the holy fire, The bridegroom holds the bride’s left toe and helps her to tread on a grindstone by taking seven steps (Saptapadhi) while taking 7 vows and is symbolic of the solid rock foundation for the union.The the bride's aunt (mother's brother's wife - usually married with children) slips in the silver toe rings to enhance the bride's fertility and offers her advice to start a family.
Well then its a wrap bridal posts on Indian (Hindu) jewelry. Jains & Sikhs wear similar ornaments with maybe different names. What Indian Christians, Muslims, Parsis wear would be slightly different and would be talked about in a separate post, later in the series. Nomadic and Tribal jewelry is completely different and hence is excluded from these two posts....Here is the post on the North Indian section, in case you have missed it.
images: Brides of India
Hope you all enjoyed reading it..looking forward for more contributions to the series... especially from Europe and US cheers