In traditional Indian weddings, jewelry plays a highly significant role in the ceremony between the new bride and groom. While bangles, toe rings, and kalgi brooches all play a significant role, none is as important as the mangalsutra.

The mangalsutra is considered an auspicious symbol for new brides, and typically consists of a necklace featuring two intertwined gold chains and small black beads. It is placed around the neck of the bride during her nuptials, and worn every day for the rest of her married life to promote prosperity and protection for her new husband.

In ancient times, the mangalsutra was incredibly long and often made with brightly colored threads and pendants; nowadays, many Indian women have entered the workforce, which means that mangalsutra designs have evolved to include convenience and compactness while still respecting the ancient historic custom.

In this blog, we’re going to take a look back at the mangalsutra of the past, and how the designs have changed today to adapt to women’s changing role in society. Let’s take a look!


Mangalsutra, also known as Thaali, is a necklace included in traditional Indian wedding ceremonies, as well as wedding ceremonies in other regions in Southeast Asia. The mangalsutra is typically made up of two intertwined gold chains and small black beads or diamond studs, and is usually picked out for the bride by the groom’s family. During the wedding ceremony, Indian grooms place the mangalsutra around their bride’s neck, symbolizing their bond as husband and wife.

Women wear their mangalsutra every day of their married life after their wedding ceremony, and it’s considered incredibly unlucky if the bride breaks the necklace.


In ancient times, women were expected to be homeowners and would typically spend the majority of their time in their household; this meant that mangalsutra necklaces could be extremely long, and would often feature brightly coloured threads, large knots, and various pendants. Mangalsutra was designed to be long; the necklace needed to be long enough to reach the Anahat Chakra, or the center of one’s heart, which symbolized the beginning of a strong and lasting bond between the new husband and wife.

Today, however, with more women in the workforce than ever before, mangalsutra necklaces have evolved to become more compact and convenient for daily wear. While some brides still opt for long mangalsutra necklaces, modern designs are usually much shorter than their predecessors, and will sometimes only feature one gold chain and small, more compact black beads.


While Indian tradition stipulates that it is the job of the groom’s family to pick their daughter-in-law’s mangalsutra, it’s still important to consider the bride’s own personal style preferences, as well as convenience and practicality. Here’s what we’d recommend when picking out a mangalsutra necklace;


As mentioned above, many Indian women are now in the workforce, and this can often mean having to adhere to specific workplace dress codes. Many offices and other establishments might have rules when it comes to colors, length of necklaces, or even the visibility of personal jewelry items. Therefore it’s incredibly important to consider these dress codes when choosing a mangalsutra; the bride is expected to wear the necklace throughout the rest of her marriage, so it’s important to choose something comfortable, practical, and convenient.


Given that the mangalsutra is going to be worn by the bride for the rest of her married life, it’s important to opt for something high quality. One of the easiest ways to ensure quality is to pick a mangalsutra with a high percentage of pure gold; a 22 karat gold mangalsutra is the ideal blend of traditional Indian gold and durability; 24k gold is too soft and delicate, and will bend or break easily. Don’t forget that breaking or damaging a mangalsutra can be seen as a bad omen for the health of the husband; for this reason, opting for a more durable 22k gold chain is better.


If you’re opting for a more compact or shorter mangalsutra necklace, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t include homages to Indian culture when picking a design. Whether you opt for vibrant colors that are synonymous with certain Indian regions, or for traditional chain patterns in your design, it’s totally possible to achieve a balance between traditional and modern when looking for the ideal mangalsutra.