When did you first try out your mom’s saree and jewels and sashayed in front of a mirror?
That loving fond memory – and other little ones, like that cute little earring you double-checked every now & then while in school, the bracelet which you jiggled while talking to your college friends, the first bridal jewellery you wore at your cousin’s wedding – are moments that you cherish for life. The Jewellery in them a substantial facet of those worthwhile memories in you.
Jewellery has been worn by both men and women since time immemorial either as a symbol of marital status, as a lucky charm, as a protective talisman, as a seal of belonging, as a symbol of authority, a cultural statement, and as an expression of individuality. Jewellery is rooted in tradition, provides security, symbolises love, makes a fashion statement and forms a part of one’s own self-identity.
The modern Indian bride is, at her very heart, rooted in tradition. India is a mix pot of cultures with each region having its native signature styles, craftsmanship, and even unique pieces of jewellery. India jewellery designs are distinct and unique to a clan, a religion, an ethnic group, or even confined to a district. Jewellery is part of every familial and social event. Jewellery is rooted in every tradition and culture.
Security from Jewellery
Indian brides across all economic statuses are invariably decked in precious jewellery. Indian bridal Jewellery is usually 22 carat gold, in other words of 916 purity, and almost exclusively made of precious metals like gold, silver and platinum, and sometimes studded with precious and semi-precious stones. It serves a second purpose, where the jewellery is also seen as a form of investment and an asset of value that could help in times of need.
Symbolising love and bonding
Jewellery is a tangible measure of intangible love, and hence a preferred gift. It expresses the bond in a relationship. As in various cultures, the Indian bride and groom exchange rings during engagement. However, it is the unique practice in India for the bride to be adorned with a thaali or mangalsutra or thirumangalyam as it is known in various regions, by the groom as a symbol of his commitment to the marriage. This is a unique culture of every Indian bride – be it Hindu, Muslim, or Christian faiths. There are myriad designs, styles, unique materials and embellishments on the Thaali pendant, unique to her tradition, that the bride wears. It is both an emblem of her marital status and a talisman to protect her. The Thaali is always held in veneration and reverence by the bride to the point of it being sacred.
Making a Fashion Statement
It is said, fashion either reflects you or inspires you. Growing beyond affluence and luxury, the modern bride looks to boutique, designer jewellery made by master craftsmen and seeks to fulfil her desire to be unique and chooses her bridal jewellery to make the statement for her.
Identity defining Jewellery
Each bride wants to be unique on her wedding day and expresses her identity and her bridal jewellery accompanies her like a shadow. Every piece adds to the meaning of the occasion. Her jewellery is a reflection of what she likes and what she aspires.
Weddings in India are vibrant in nature and steeped in tradition. An occasion to celebrate love, romance, and togetherness. A day that every bride plans to perfection. An attempt to live a fantasy, as she marries her knight in shining armour. On the wedding day, the bride does not feel like just another woman, she feels like a queen, the manifestation of her own desires. As she takes stage as the queen in her own fantasy coming true, the showstopper of which is her Bridal Jewellery.
The Bridal jewellery is a physical embodiment of a mixture of emotions – a symbol of the love showered by those near and dear to her, an accessory of self-adoration, an embellishment to self-worth, and an ornament that serves to reminisce the relationships and happiness - that has, in a way, defined her.
The Wedding jewellery of a bride is not just one grand ensemble, but a series of sets of jewellery for each traditional event of her wedding. She cherishes planning for each socio-religious ritual & event that comprise the Great Indian Wedding.
Wedding Jewellery Shopping
India could arguably assert of being the only culture where shopping for wedding jewellery especially for the bride is an event by itself. It is a journey undertaken by the whole family. Usually, the family chooses to shop for the sacred thaali at a trusted jewellery on an auspicious day. The bride is the centre of attraction and almost everyone is there to please her choice. She is catered to as if she is a queen. She carefully chooses her jewellery for each event. She is the muse and the fashionista, choosing the trendiest designs which she models ever so often in front of a mirror – settling on what best suits her and accentuates her beauty.
As she desires
Even as the modern bride today has a penchant for destination weddings and DJ parties, she retains the passion for traditional garments, ornaments, mehndi, and flower garlands – a tradition that has stayed close to her heart.
As we see her decked with bangles, a choker, a necklace, chains, a haram, grand earrings, a unique vanki (arm band), Ottiyanam (Hip Belt/chain), Nethi Chutti (Forehead), Mattal (Ear chain), Jada Pinnal (Hair Braid Jewellery) and many more – some new and some she has inherited – her carefully curated look reflects her personality. She – is the quintessential modern bride.
She fondly recollects with joy and love, the jewellery which her mom or grandma gave her for the very first time. They being the source of her pride and strength, she is not just inspired by them but aspires to be them. Therein lies her desire to be close to her identity on the day of her wedding. Her choices celebrated and rejoiced. Even years later, she takes a trip down memory lane every time she wears them.
She is the modern bride - her marriage is as she desires.