Traditional Jewellery Guide for the Bengali Bride
Blending traditions & trends, the modern Bengali bride’s jewellery box is a treasure trove of distinctive pieces.
A state known for its intellectual prowess and rich culture that is deeply rooted in femininity, West Bengal has, like many other states of India, developed its own signature style when it comes to fashion. Bengali women are enterprising when it comes to sporting a saree or giving a unique twist to traditional jewellery. This holds equally true for them on their wedding days when an exquisite red Banarasi saree is gracefully wrapped around her, while a pristine white ‘mukut’ (crown-like ornament) graces the top of her head. Intricate, delicate, and striking, her jewellery impresses with its graceful curves and motifs, some of which have their origins in various parts of India.
So, if you’re a bride from West Bengal who wants a traditional vibe on your big day, here’s a quick jewellery guide to help you put your look together.
A sign of wealth and prosperity, the mukut is a mini gold Indian-style tiara that sits on the Bengali bride’s crown. However, nowadays, many brides eschew pure gold mukuts, and prefer the more affordable gold plated versions of this ornament.
Photo Courtesy: Mon Amour Weddings and Waman Hari Pethe Sons
Similar to the popular maang tikka, the tikli is a delicate piece of jewelry that rests on the bride’s forehead and sometimes is even attached to the mukut.
Photo Courtesy: Aheli Chakraborty and Sourav Paul
An earring that encompasses the entire ear with its ornate design, the kanner dul is a classic masterpiece of Bengali luxury and is usually worn by women only on festive occasions.
Photo Courtesy: Sayak Chuckervertii and Asirkar
Similar to the hath phool (hand ornaments) so ardently loved in North India, the ratanchoor usually boasts of a minimalist design consisting of delicate chains and floral discs that connect a bracelet to several finger rings.
Photo Courtesy: Siladitya Dutta
Known for their thick, long locks, Bengali brides flaunt traditional bun pins with elan. A regular accessory in the olden Zamindar days, the bridal bun pin is a colorful creation crafted out of gold and rich-hued gemstones.
Photo Courtesy: Color Padam Photography and Lakmé Salon
An accessory that is well known across the Indian subcontinent, the bridal shaka paula is a set of white and red bangles that are worn only by married women in Bengal. Delicate white (shaka) bangles crafted out of conch shells and bright red (paula) ones made from corals create a striking color combination that pairs well with the classic ‘lal paad’ (red border) saree.
Photo Courtesy: Official clickers 29
A gem-encrusted nose stud that glimmers brightly on the bride’s face, this accessory is sported by Bengali women on a regular basis too, and gets upsized at their weddings.
Photo Courtesy: Sayak Chuckervertii
Similar to the naths (nose ornaments) worn by other Indian brides, the Bengali bride’s nath is crafted out of pure gold and fetaures a delicate chain that hooks on to the hair. However, instead of only having a bead or a pearl as an accent, dainty floral designs have also been incorporated in recent times for a modern look.
Photo Courtesy: Sourav Paul and Raunak Sarkar Photography
A fusion of the two most popular earring designs found in India, the jhumka and the chaandbali, the ‘kaan bala are statement gold earring embossed with fine gold details that end with gold bead danglers.
Photo Courtesy: Makeover Chaite and Sayak Chuckervertii
Perfectly suited for brides with round faces, the kaan pasha’ is a full-bodied earring that covers up the entire ear lobe with its ornate design. These statement ear studs usually come in a circular shape, but nowadays, one can also get them in leaf shapes.
Photo Courtesy: Azva
Sat Noli Haar:
A luxurious piece of gold jewelry that is usually only worn by brides on their big day, the saat noli haar has seven tiers, with each necklace bigger than the other with a similar locket adorning the center.
Photo Courtesy: Jhums Makeover and Tanishq Jewellery
The Bengali adaption of the popular choker necklace, the chik is also crafted out of gold and is usually equipped with an adjustable fabric-based clasp.
Photo Courtesy: Sheetal’s Makeover and DM Gold and Diamonds
Probably one of the longest necklaces in her jewellery collection, the Sita haar consists of multiple delicate gold chains that are united with an ornate locket usually embellished with floral motifs.
Photo Courtesy: Silver Sand and Two hearts kolkata
A broad, delicately hewn wristlet with golden lacework, the mantasha also includes a dainty ring that hooks onto one of the bride’s fingers. Usually, if the bride chooses to wear a mantasha, the ratanchoor is eschewed.
Photo Courtesy: Tanishq Jewellery and Asirkar
A Bengali girl’s favorite piece of jewellery that is usually inherited from her mother or mother-in-law, the bala is an absolute staple in many women’s jewellery boxes. A thick gold bangle adorned with floral or animal motifs, the bala pairs well with the shaka paula, and no other bracelets or bangles are typically needed.
Photo Courtesy: Srikanta Majumder and Krishanu Das
A traditional half-cut bangle that’s filled with lac to preserves its shape and coated with gold, the bauti is worn by women across Bengal.
Photo Courtesy: SD Photography
Crafted with a glimmering spiral design, these bangles are heavy and elegant pieces. Worn on special occasions only, these bangles also have intricate motifs on one end.
Photo Courtesy: A-Sirkar
A gold armlet with intricate lacework and an adjustable chain, the Ananta is usually a precious heirloom inherited by the bride from her mother or mother-in-law.
Photo Courtesy: A-Sirkar
Much like the popular vaddanam of South India, the bengali kamarbandh (waist ornament) features a simpler design and is adorned with floral motifs that are carved in gold.
Photo Courtesy: Jhums Makeover and leraks jewellery
An absolute essential in a Bengali bride’s jewellery box, the loha badhano is a gift from her in-laws and is a sign of a married woman similar to the shaka paula.
Photo Courtesy: A-Sirkar and Club Factory
Here’s a list of stores where you can find Bengali jewellery to suit your tastes:
M Walters & Co.
Mahabir Danwar Jewellers
Senco Gold and Diamonds
BC Sen Jewellers
Precious Gems and Jewellery