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A Traditional Jewellery Guide for the Tamil Bride

With temple designs & precious gems, a Tamil bride’s wedding jewelry is greatly inspired by her rich heritage which dates back more than a thousand years.

Adorned with motifs of gods and goddesses and other auspicious symbols, wedding jewellery for a Tamilian bride is more than just ornamental bling. Swathed in her rich Kanjeevaram silk zari saree with exquisite gold jewellery studded with gold and precious gemstones, the Tamil bride is a vision to behold. The same holds true for the contents of her jewelry box that holds a plethora of distinctive pieces that range from intricately carved Ottiyanams that cinch snugly around the waist to the signature Mangala Naan which with its classic mango-shaped locket popular across cultures nowadays. So if you’re a Tamil bride aiming to go for a traditional look on your big day, here’s a quick jewelry guide to help you make the best choices.

The Chettiar Bride
With a rich cultural foundation, a Tamil Chettiar wedding is usually an elaborate affair with multiple ceremonies being held over five to six days. Reflecting her rich cultural heritage is a Chettiar bride’s heavy gold ornaments that are studded with precious gems and boast of exquisite workmanship. Here’s a list of the must-have pieces in her bridal jewellery set:

Kempu Kal Mothiram:
Traditionally designed finger rings that are studded with a variety of gems, the kempu kal mothiram are crafted to glimmer on a bride’s fingers.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Vijay Eesam & Co. and Minmit

Kempu Kal Valai:
Forged from gold and precious stones, Kempu Kal Valai are heavy gold bangles that are worn by almost all Tamil brides on their big day.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: South India Jewels

Netti Chutti:
A long gold chain with a multicolored gem-encrusted locket, the netti chutti rests on the bride’s forehead and is a must-have on every Chettiar bride’s list.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Anish Photography

Mulla Muttu Maalai:
One of the longest necklaces worn by the Chettiar bride, the Mulla Muttu Maalai has a unique spiked design that makes a bold statement.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Leelaa Designs

Kaluthiru:
Considered to be the protector of a husband, the Kalithru is the mangalsutra equivalent for the Chettiar bride and is crafted out of a string of minute black beads with a locket in the center.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Focuz Studios

Ottiyanam:
One of the most standout pieces in a Chettiar bride’s collection, the Ottiyanam is the famous waist belt that accentuates the bride’s figure and holds her saree together. Replete with complicated nakshi designs and studded with the occasional gemstone, this piece adds a goddess-like nuance to a bridal look.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Vishal Joshi and SVTM Jewels

Metti:
A silver toe ring that is prevalent across cultures and signified the married status of the woman, the metti is usually gifted to the bride by her in-laws.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Shatheeshram Photography

Kolusu:
An essential accessory in many Indian brides’ jewellery box, the Kolusu are anklets that every Chettiar bride must wear.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: The Wedding Story

Jadanagam:
A traditional hair accessory, the jagadanam adorns the bride’s plait and is crafted out of gold and colorful flowers.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: North Water Star and Ashokarsh

Mookku Vaḷaiyam or Mukkuthi:
An ornate nose ring studded with precious gems or pearls and forged with gold, the mukkuthi golimmers on the bride’s nostril.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Moments by Kajan and Divinemethod Photography

The Gounder Bride
Swathed in luxury, the Gounder Bride loves her gold and carries its weight with aplomb. Refined, sumptuous, and generally three-day extravaganzas, Gounder weddings are a treat for the eyes. Dressed in a glimmering Kanjeevaram saree, a Gounder bride resembles a goddess, like the ones intricately depicted in her jewellery designs. Here’s a list of the must-have pieces in her bridal jewelry set:

Thali or Mangala naan:
An auspicious neck ornament gifted to the bride by the groom once it’s been blessed by all the elders, the Mangala Naan is then tied by the groom around the bride’s neck.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Jeyash Luxmanan

Netri Pattai:
A unique matha patti, the netri pattai is a slender band of beads tied around the bride’s forehead that highlights her eyes.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Omer Janjua

Mattal Jimikki:
Mirroring the shape of a bell, the Jimikki is a versatile ornament with ear chains/extensions. Its design usually consists of dainty floral motifs and dangling gold beads that sway with every move.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Deepak Vijay Photography and Studio31

Sigappu Kal Attigai:
One of the many-layered necklaces with intricate designs worn by the Gounder Bride, the Siggapu Kal Attigal is usually the smallest of all, and is placed at the base of her throat.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Vrddhiuk and Sowparnika Collective

Lakshmi Naga Malai:
Capturing the beauty of temple design perfectly, the Lakshmi Naga Malai is an ornate necklace that blesses the bride with its depiction of Goddess Lakshmi.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Sainu White Line Photography and Kalyan

Kasu Malai:
Classic in design, this necklace contains multiple coins that are embossed with auspicious symbols, the most common being that of the revered Goddess Lakshmi.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Karan Soma

Metti:
A silver toe ring that is prevalent across cultures and signified the married status of the woman, the metti is usually gifted to the bride by her in-laws.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Ashok Arsh

Kolusu:
An essential accessory in many Indian brides’ jewellery box, the Kolusu are delicate anklets that tinkle with every step.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Emmanuvel photography

Jadanagam:
The jagadanam is a hair accessory that adorns the bride’s plait and is crafted out of gold and features pearls and stones.

Jewellery for Tamilian Brides

Mookku Vaḷaiyam or Mukkuthi:
An ornate nose ring studded with precious gems and forged with gold, the mukkuthi golimmers on the bride’s nostril.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Bronzer Bridal Jewellery

Ungila:
A v-shaped gold ring that resembles a mini vanki, the Ungila is sometimes also studded with diamonds.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: KR Jewellery Works

The Brahmin Bride
Fusing opulence with elegance, the Tamil Brahmin bride’s wedding is a treat for the eyes. Simple yet striking, the wedding ceremonies of this community are deeply rooted in tradition. For this bride, her jewellery speaks volumes about her culture and this is reflected in her collection of necklaces, waistbands and hair accessories. Here’s a list of the must-have pieces in her bridal jewellery set:

Netti Chutti:
A long gold chain with a multicolored gem-encrusted locket dangling at the end, the netti chutti rests on the bride’s forehead.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Photo Alchemy and Kalyan

Vanki:
With its unique curved ‘V-shape’ design, the Aravanki is a versatile ornament that has been adapted throughout generations. Worn on the arm, this piece comes in all varieties from delicate gold to the more elaborate ones that are studded with diamonds and rubies.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: South Jewellery and South Indian jewellery

Suryapirai and Chandrapirai:
Worn by the bride on either side of her hair parting, the Suryapirai (sun-shaped) and Chandrapirai (moon-shaped) ornamental jewels are studded with colorful gemstones.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Made in Mono and Aaharya

Kal Jhimki:
Fringed with pearls and embellished with precious stones, this versatile pair of jhumkas (dangling earrings) is worn during festive occasions and by brides.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Moments by Kajan

Kempu Attigai:
A short gold chain with a heavy and bold ruby-encrusted locket that sits in between the bride’s collar bones, the Kempu Attigai is usually also accompanied by matching jhimkis (earrings).

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: South Indian jewellery

Kilikasu Haram:
Fringed with delicate gold coins with an intricately carved gold pendant in the center, the Kilikasu Haram is a striking accessory that is layered with other neckpieces.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: South jewellery and Shadows Photography

Ottiyanam:
One of the most standout pieces in every South Indian bride’s jewelry collection, the Ottiyanam is an elaborate waist belt that accentuates the bride’s figure and holds her saree together. Replete with complicated nakshi designs and studded with the occasional gemstone, this waist belt transforms the bride into a goddess-like vision and holds her outfit together.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Duet Photography

Metti:
A silver toe ring that is prevalent across cultures and signified the married status of the woman, the metti is usually gifted to the bride by her in-laws.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Pranesh Photography

Kolusu:
An essential accessory in many Indian brides’ jewellery box, the Kolusu are delicate anklets that tinkle with every step.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Ashok Arsh

Jadanagam:
The signature south Indian hair accessory, the jagadanam adorns the bride’s plait and is crafted out of gold with intricate designs.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: ANS Jewelry

Mookku Vaḷaiyam or Mukkuthi:
Crafted with floral motifs and glimmering gems, the mukkuthi sported by the Brahmin bride is bold and is also sometimes accompanied by a second nose ring that is worn on the septum.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: Ragalahari and Shopzters

Ungila:
A v-shaped gold ring that resembles a mini vanki, the Ungila is sometimes also studded with diamonds.

Jewellery for Tamilian BridesPhoto Courtesy: DailyIndian Fashion

Here’s a list of stores that are known for their unique jewelery designs perfect for the Tamil bride:
Kalyan Jewellers
GRT Jewellers
Joyalukkas
Malabar Gold and Diamonds
Saravana Stores
NAC Jewellers
Lalithaa Jewelry
Sree Kumaran Thangamaligai
Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers
Prince Jewellery
Khazana Jewellery

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