Ancient Greeks and Romans wore bracelets to signify power and authority! But...
When it comes to traditional necklaces, no country does it better than India. While the simple pendant or the chain necklace might be the staple accessory of choice in the USA, Indian necklaces take things a few steps further, with necklaces that represent religious and cultural significance spanning centuries and civilisations.
So, which traditional Indian necklaces look beautiful on the neck? In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the most stunning and symbolic necklaces in Indian culture, as well as how they’re designed and worn. Let’s take a look!
The cultural significance of traditional Indian necklaces
Traditional Indian necklaces are renowned for their intricate and delicate designs and come in a variety of styles, including the mangalsutra, choker, jhumka, pendant necklaces, as well as polki and kundan jewelry. The mangalsutra is also perhaps one of the most significant Indian necklaces; designed as a black beaded necklace worn by married Hindu women, the mangalsutra is one of the most beautiful and intricate pieces of Indian jewelry, with a historic and cultural significance that spans thousands of years.
5 different types of traditional Indian necklaces
As India has one of the largest populations in the world, it’s only fitting that there’s more than one necklace style for women to choose from. Here are some of the most beautiful traditional Indian necklaces:
The mangalsutra is a traditional Indian necklace that symbolizes the bond of matrimony between a bride and groom, and is only worn by married Hindu women. A mangalsutra necklace usually consists of black beads crafted with gold, silver or diamond additions and often has a pendant hanging from it which sits just above the heart.
Popular in both the West and India, traditional Indian choker necklaces are typically heavily layered, and are usually made of yellow-hue gold. Most Indian chokers are also adorned with gemstones and diamonds, and can be paired with cuff bangles for a regal finish. While chokers in the West tend to be worn as an everyday fashion accessory, traditional Indian chokers are so eye-catching and intricately designed that they can be worn as a stand-out statement piece for the evening.
Similar to the layered choker, the jhumka necklace is a popular traditional Indian necklace, consisting of a thick chain (typically made with gold) adorned with the familiar jhumka-shaped bells, as well as coins and smaller added charms. The jhumka necklace is also usually decorated with a variety of precious stones, whether it be emeralds, rubies, or diamonds. Given its elaborate and head-turning finish, it’s common for Indian women to wear a jhumka necklace for special occasions, and it’s dazzling enough to be paired with a simplistic outfit for a nighttime event.
Pendant necklaces are another popular type of traditional Indian necklace, and you’re probably already familiar with their appearance. Just like Western pendants – which typically consist of a thin chain and a small or medium-sized pendant attached – Indian pendants share a similar final look, and come in a variety of styles. One difference between Western pendants and Indian pendant necklaces is the pendants themselves; Indian charms tend to be much larger, and are typically decorated with gems, diamonds, and other precious stones.
Typically made with pure gold, Kundan necklaces – also referred to simply as “Kundan jewelry” – are another type of traditional Indian necklace, and one that is sure to turn heads! Made with gold and set with gemstones and diamonds, Kundan necklaces are one of the oldest necklaces in Indian culture, and are still worn to this day across the country and in other neighboring regions in Southeast Asia.
What makes a traditional Indian necklace?
If you’re on the lookout for Indian-inspired jewelry, you might want to know just how a piece of jewelry can achieve that traditional, authentic look – and we’re going to tell you exactly how!
You can’t do Indian jewelry without gold – gold is what gives a traditional Indian necklace its signature look, and what makes the necklaces themselves so long-lasting and durable. Gold-plated jewelry or imitation gold jewelry may be cheaper, but there’s nothing quite as luxurious as wearing 22 karat gold necklaces.
From emeralds and rubies, to pearls and sapphires, Indian necklaces are rarely plain. Whether it’s a mangalsutra set with diamonds, or a jhumka necklace set with rubies and emeralds, color is a significant element of any authentic Indian necklace.