When I was in school in what was then Bombay (today’s Mumbai), I remember some people refer to ‘our group’ – me, a Malayali girl and a Kannadiga girl – as “Madrasis”. Yes. People from the North of the Vindhyas thought all South Indians who hailed from the South of the Vindhyas were “Madrasis”. I think, or rather hope, awareness has improved. And I think the generalization that there exist only two kinds of people, two kinds of cuisine and two kinds of dressing in India – North Indian and South Indian – is more an exception than the norm. It was not just for food, dress and people. This generalization also applied to jewellery in particular gold jewellery.
But the multitude and variety of designs and the distinction of the region and community-specific jewellery designs in South India is quite incredible. For convenience, let us just take necklace designs. And further, narrow it down to bridal necklace designs. I’m not even going to talk about diamond necklace designs. Let’s just talk about bridal gold necklace designs that are customary and traditional choices in the different South Indian states of India.
Bridal Necklaces of Andhra Pradesh: Ornate and Opulent
Opulence, elaborate rituals and extravagance is seen in large doses in the weddings of Andhra Pradesh. In my opinion, of all the Southern states, weddings in the Telugu communities are the grandest. Of course, even within Andhra Pradesh, bridal attire and jewellery differ from community to community. In the Reddy community, the gold necklace designs favoured are the gondola haram, which is a layered chain, and the pathakala haram, which is a multilayer long chain necklace with a peacock pendant in 22 karat gold with gemstones.
And then there is the AryaVysya community, for whom the preferred neck ornaments are the kandabaranam, which is a choker studded with gemstones, and the nakshi haram – a beautiful heavy gold chain with sparkling uncut diamonds.
The Nizams of Hyderabad are an important and integral part of Andhra Pradesh. Their unique bridal necklace is the saatlada, a seven-tier necklace made of gold and pearls, and kundan chokers.
Karnataka’s Bridal Necklaces: Symbolic and Splendid
Though the actual wedding ceremony to bind the two souls in holy matrimony is simple and short, Kannadiga weddings of Karnataka extend to days with several pre-wedding and post wedding rituals.
The necklaces worn by Kannadiga brides depend on the community they belong to. Many Kannadiga brides wear an entele sara – a layered chain made of gold beads. Mavinkai addigai, the Kannada name for the paisley or mango design necklace found in other states as well, is another popular traditional bridal necklace in Karnataka. The Kannadiga variation is that it consists of pearls and coloured stones. A bride may choose to wear a Lakshmi sara – a necklace of small gold coins with Goddess Lakshmi on each coin.
The jewellery worn by a bride from the Coorgi community is inspired and influenced by fruits and flowers, or by celestial bodies like the sun, moon or stars. Coorgi brides wear a Pathak, which is a chain of gold, coral and black beads, with a unique pendant of rubies with a serpent figure. The jomale, also popular in the Coorgi community, consists of grooved hollow beads filled with lac, strung on a black thread cord. A traditional crescent-shaped pendant with a serpent and Goddess Lakshmi is known as Kokkethathi, worn on a chain of hollow beads woven in silver wire.
Bridal Necklaces in Kerala: Loveliness in Layers
Brides in Kerala seem to favour layers, so they wear several necklaces of varying lengths, from a tight choker to a long necklace that could touch the waist belt. Popular among these are the mulla motto mala, in jasmine bud designs, the pallakkal necklace in a combination of emerald and rubies, and the kasu mala, a necklace of coins.
Kerala Muslim brides wear three types of necklaces – the PADI mala, aalochana mala and chakrakanni mala, made from gold and precious stones.
Kerala Christian brides wear a traditional gold bead multi-strand necklace known as manimuthu mala.
Tamil Nadu Brides: Charm in Colours
The Tamilian brides go for colour – particularly red – in their necklaces and chokers. Rubies and kemp stones are popular in choker and short necklace choices. And then there are the sought after gold necklace designs like the manga malai, kasu malai, Lakshmi Haram and mulla mottu (jasmine bud) malai.
This might not be a complete and comprehensive list or compilation. But it does overwhelm. The variety of designs and traditions in the four Southern states alone, to say the least, is mind-boggling.
You’ll find most of these necklace designs at Vaibhav Jewellers. With 25 years of legacy of trusted service and quality assurance, whether online or instore, you can get your pendants at Vaibhav absolutely hassle-free. You also have facilities like state-of-the-art video shopping, free transit insurance on international shipments, and free domestic shipping. And that’s not all! You also get lifetime exchange, free 15-day return policy, customization services, EMI facility and Smart Buy options.
Shop and bring home a tradition from Vaibhav Jewellers.