Ornaments and Jewels are considered fashionable all over the globe. But in
ancient times, Indians
& majority of Hindu women used these ornaments, mainly made of Gold and some
Silver, with so beautiful crafting and designs, all the good work of
handcrafted by goldsmiths. There were and are numerous ornament decorative or
otherwise but the Hindus wore these ornaments in every visible part of their
body! They wore jewellery items not just for show, but with some inner meaning
to it. Here I am giving the ornaments worn usually by any Indian Women.
Normally, Women are very of fond of wearing all sorts of ornaments made from
gold and Silver. More so Indian women. It is said that more than 40% of the
gold products in the world is bought by Indians! But they used only silver
ornaments below hip level. Each and every ornaments they used, were somehow
connected with human anatomy and functions. Only a person who knows anatomy
fully can describe the functions in a systematic way. However, I am giving
here the reasons and value for wearing each and every ornament on the body
that you will find most Hindus are possessing with them.
To begin with, an Item used as Metti by Indian married women in
general and Brahman women in particular, is made of Silver. This is a ring
with two or three line rounds, worn in their second finger from toe. By
wearing this in both feet, it is believed, that their Menstrual cycle course
is regularized with even intervals. This gives good scope for conceiving to
married women. Also it is said just because that particular nerve in the
second finger from toe, also connects the uteruses and passes thru heart.
Because of this, the constant friction caused while walking and doing all
sorts of chores during a day, it revitalizes the productivity organs. Silver
being a good conductor, it also absorbs the energy from the polar energies
from the earth and passes it to the body, thus refreshing whole body system.
This ornaments only used by married women, just to set regular cycle of
menstrual course for them to conceive. Wherein no unmarried women should
conceive, even by accidental contacts. So unmarried women not allowed to wear
this ornament. Also, when one becomes widow, they remove it. The reason is
clear and one can understand its meaning.
Next, above their feet joint, they used to wear an ornament known as kolusu
Tamil, Ghungru in Hindi, which is known as Anklets in English. It is widely
believed that by wearing this, one's energy is not wasted but re-vibrated back
to one's own body. How far this is true just cannot be said, but for
generations Indian women of all ages and walks wear this ornament, even today.
This item made of Silver and is available in so many attractive designs and it
really makes a women pretty good in looks!
Then an ornamental jewellery called Kaappu, is also a type of Anklet made of silver
is given to children from the 11th day they are born. For this they have a
separate function called naming ceremony commonly known as Naamakaranam.
Sometimes this Anklet is made with Silver and Copper mix.
Another jewellery ornament knowingly used by Indian women as Hip Belt called Oddiyaanam.
This too, is made of Silver, but the usage of this is not common. It is very
particularly used to control women from getting fatter and to avoid flabs in
hip and pot belly. Since no women uses these days this ornament, one can see
the results that is visible!.
From the body level, all sorts of Gold ornament is used. Each part of human
body is divided into two parts - Upper and lower level. In the lower part
(i.e. below naval) they used all silver made items, wherein in the upper
portion they used Gold made ornaments. Chain, Necklace, Pendants are used with
decorative passions, stones and designs. Every married women used to get a Mangalsutra,
which is known as Thali in Tamil and Thirumangalyam amongst srivaishnavas.
This is mostly made in gold as an identifiable mark for married women. This too is
believed to regularize a women's blood circulation. This is also said to
control the body pressure levels to a maximum extent, as Indian women tend to
work hard, more than her male counterpart. The most important thing to note about
this Thirumangalyam is, that it should always be hidden or covered in
the inner garments. Just because of the constant friction of the metal gold
touching the body portion directly, the effect will be more to gain the said
benefits. However, if the same is worn outside the clothes and making it
visible to everyone, then the effect is reduced. That's why it is always
advisable to wea the
Thirumangalyam known as Thali or Mangalsutra inside the
blowse and not to show off.
Images are provided by Mr. Srinivas Rao of Aabharana Jewellers, Matunga.
In the Hindu culture
& tradition, and for every married women, the mangalsutra holds an important place,
especially with the wedded women of that religion. Hindu women hold the
mangalsutra, to be a very significant bond with their husband; it is just similar to the
wedding rings in western countries. It is removed from their neck only one
becomes widow. In the modern times, most of the working class women discard this
one for many reasons, one for being fear of snatched during train journeys. A
few, as a fashion never wear any ornament, despite their marital status which
demands wearing one for ever.
following images shows different types of South Indian Thirumangalyam known as
Thali in Tamil & Telugu and Mangal Sutra in Hindi.
am thankful to my friend Mr. M. R Srinivasan, Kalva for providing the above
In the Eastern India, specifically from Bengal, they used to wear a bangle made out
of Ivory to show the marital status. Married women wears the Ivory Bangles
in West Bengal but for them the mangalsutra is not of much any
Now let us see the next item - Ear Stead. This ornament is mostly made of Gold
with innumerable designs and fashions. Some in Gold with stones and some with
plain Gold designs. This is considered to be the most important ornament and
from childhood days Hindu girls are given this ornament. The boys too wear it
from the age of 7 years. Though ear piercing takes place on completion on one
full year, they wear these stead only after completion of six full years. The
reasons for wearing these stead are clearly given in my article on the other
page under "Yagnjopaveetham
- Poonal" . You will find it in the article's 9th paragraph
explaining the reasons in detail.
If one is agreeing with these contents or not, in general everyone is aware of
the fact, that these ornaments were and are being used by most of the Indian
women. But one must be aware that our olden fashion and style of yesteryears
did not die despite changing scenario. As a matter of fact, the interest in
wearing all sorts of ornaments are in the increase, one can judge from sale of
Gold in the Indian Markets. For some it is a display of wealth. For many it is
really an investment mode. For a few it is compulsion of social status. And
for many it is a distant Dream.
Now, this discussion is only on the value one gets by wearing such ornamental
So let us see the next precious item called Bangles. Normally the wrist
portion is in constant activation on any human. Also the pulse beat in this
portion is mostly checked for all sort of ailments. Even though, pulse beat is
counted from the wrist, the heart beat ratio too, is taken for checking one's
health conditions. The Bangles used by women are normally in the wrist part of
ones hand and its constant friction increases the blood circulation level. Or
so it is believed. Further more the electricity passing out through outer skin
is again reverted to one's own body because of the ring shaped bangles, which
has no ends to pass the energy outside but to send it back to the body. This
way a women gains her strength which is presumably wasted otherwise. So the
ancient Hindus gave shape to this item called Bangles and later it got molded
in to many shapes and designs to add more attraction and beautification.
Amongst other varieties of ornaments Bangle is most important for any women,
it is felt and that too if it is made of Gold then only it gives you the
aforesaid values & meaning.
The next item is a piece of stead-like ornament worn by women in their nose,
commonly known as nose-ring and nose stead. (known as Mukkuthi
or Mookuthi in Tamil and Nath in Hindi -
please do not miss this article, this full page is devoted to explain about
the benefits of Nose Ring/Nath) The custom
to wear this ornamental jewel is typically different from one state
to other, one caste to other and even different amongst communities. Some use
it in their left nose, some at right and few wear it in both sides of their
nose. Though it is mainly used for beautifying women, the in-depth meaning
can't be termed as unfound myth. It is considered as a breath regularizing and
some say it is just to eliminate the poison coming out while exhaling carbon.
Because the practice varies from one part to another, one cannot be sure what
the actual benefit derived is, by using this item. But traditions apart, every
community and caste, without any barrier uses this nose-stead. No one can
deny, that this ornament adds extra beauty to the wearer!
Now, for the finger rings! In every part of the globe, this ring is mainly
used during betrothal and marriages, thus signifying that the person, is a
married person. The ring finger is most appropriately used to wear this ring.
In ancient India, they classified the significance of each finger that
controls or is in anyway connected to each part of one's body and the brain.
To keep this point elaborative one has to go in for details.
The Thumb in both hands are believed to be connected to the brain
neurons/nerves which connects the sexual organs. And this finger is identified
with planet Venus, The Goddess of Love. Any metallic friction in the body
kindles specific brain neurons. So as to avoid frequent frictions in a
specific part, they avoided wearing any ornaments in the Thumbs. The meaning
is well understood!
According to Palmistry, the second finger from Thumb called the index finger,
is identified with planet Jupiter. This finger's nerves are connected to the
brain, in its learning capacitor neurons. If in one's horoscope Jupiter is ill
placed then astrologers advise the person to wear gold ring in index finger,
preferably with Yellow Sapphire stone, which again identifies the Planet of
Then the Middle finger. It is said that it's nerve is passing through the
brain divider line and if any metallic friction is here, then the confusion is
caused in the brain whether the signal given is from left or right side of the
brain. When some important decision is to be taken and if the confusion
prevails because of wearing a ring in the middle finger, then it is likely to
be the wrong decision. To avoid this, generally people never wore nor wear any
rings in this middle finger. However, there are some exceptions given,
according to Astrology and Palmistry, under which a person can wear a ring
with Stone of Blue Sapphire (and in some cases Coral). In palmistry, this
finger is identified with planet Saturn.
The most vital is its function and connectivity, the fourth finger from the
Thumb, known as the ring finger is identified with the Star-Sun. It is widely
believed, that the nerve passing through this finger is evenly spread to the
entire brain neuron cells and any frequent metallic friction caused in this
finger is very good for one's health. It also improves one's general capacity
in handling his/her life with ease and confidence. That's why all over the
world, they use gold rings for men and women, very commonly in this finger.
Specifically during engagements and marriages. It also signifies one's marital
status just at a look. I sincerely suggest every one to wear a gold ring in
this finger so that he/she prospers through out their life.
Finally, the little finger. This finger is identified with planet Mercury
which controls the organs that is ruling the brain, thoughts and thinking. Any
friction in this finger causes some disturbance in one's thoughts. So only
when the planet Mercury is weak in a natives horoscope, then they wear any
ring in this finger with an Emerald stone.
For Mars and Moon too, in addition to above, they identify the middle and the
little fingers respectively.
caste or community had its typical ornament. In the southern part of India, all
the four States viz. Andhra Pradsesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu has an
unique and typical way of using golden ornaments. While most of the Adivasi
tribal and backward classes used Silver made ornamental jewelry, the most
forward and Brahmin community used gold made jewelry as a display of wealth. It
also makes one feel secure as an investment that can be encashed anytime they
Kerala, the Nair community women use an ornament known as Nagapadam or serpent
hood, just as this resembled the serpent, in pendant shape. An ear ornament
called Toda or Thodu, a double convex disc, is used after dilating the earlobes.
Mukkuthi was an ornament for nose and Kappu for the wrist. The famous ornaments
for the neck were Addyal, (addigai in Tamil), Yantram, Avil Mala and Puli Nakham
(Tiger’s Nail!). Cherutali is a kind of necklace worn loose over the breast by
Namboodiri Brahmin women, while women from Tamil Brahmin community used Kasu
Mala and Oddiyanam.
Christian women used to wear a kind of heavy guilt brass ring called Mekka
Motiram, after piercing their ears in several places. Ottezhapathakkam (Single
line Medal shaped), Kombu, Tala etc., were also typical Christian ornaments.
Though most of the traditional ornaments stated here have become defunct now, in
Tamilnadu & Kerala, still women are fond of typical ornaments, and jewelry
items that are shaped and crafted with modern designs and craftsmanship. One
most common among all the south Indian married women are an ornament named
“Thali” known as Mangalsutra in
Northern part of India and Thirumangalyam to the Sri Vaishnavites.
more than 48 kinds of essential jewel, jewelry & fashion ornaments used during
Vedic era, each signifying body
mechanism. Though the rich, affordable and King's family had it all, even the
poorer of poorest did wear most common items from the above lists. The names of which are not common and most of these
jewels & ornaments are
not in common use these days. However most commonly used Jewelry ornaments and its usage is
given in this article. More so, the astrological point of view ought to
be taken while suggesting an ornament, if it is to be fixed with some Gem and
of the Tamil names which are common and known to many are listed below:
(used in the second finger from toe)
(Anklets made in silver with verities of shape and design)
(a belt type jewel used to tighten the sari, in the hip)
(Made of Pearls & Corals)
(Chain made of gold only)
(Bangles without designs) known as Kappu
(Finger ring), Mothiram
(Ear Stead & rings)
(Ear steads with larger make)
(Used in the forehead)
(used in the backhead, hair design, to hold the bunch of lengthy soft hair
spun and tied)
Mookuthi (Nose stead) (Mukkuthi)
following are the names of some more jewel items which were used by Tamil
Brahmin women in particular and Hindu
women in general, those days; but most of the jewelry items are not in use today or rarely used ornaments at occasional
(Belt strap ornament)
Malai (made of coin shaped necklace)
(used to tie the hair band from back side)
Kappu (used in the shoulder to hold the sari)
(A stead in gold with stone studded Nose stud or ear stead with a hanging
or Nagam (A cobra shaped ornament used the upper arms)
& Chandra Pirai (Sun & Moon shaped ornamental jewel used to decorate
(A designer jewel worn in the that hangs from the nose stead or ear stead)
(a jewel made of Silver worn in the ankle with some precious stone studded
from inside of the jewel, like a pipe-shape ring that weights heavy)
(A jewel made in silver with a series of small silver bells and worn in
the anklet - Mostly used by classical & Bharathanatyam dancers)
(A chain shaped jewel used to hook in the hair from the ear ring stead or nose
- A designer jewel that hung from the ear stead.
- A designer jewel that hung from the ear stead.
- A designer jewel that hung from the nose stead.
(a silver made item, a chain shaped one used along with inner side of sari at
Malai - A chain made in the shape of leaves and plants of soft designs in
- A ring shaped jewel in a pipe mode within the pipe they used to contain
precious Pearl, silver balls, coral beeds etc.( Oh, a history was created by
Kannaki, using the Silambu with Pearl Beeds; Kannaki burnt the town Madurai
with her inimical power to prove her husband is innocent. A chapter dealing
with Silambu is known as Silappathikaram in Tamil!)
I conclude this
for now and leave it to the reader to judge the values of jewelry worn for
ornamental values and decide
which one is the best that suits him/her. If you know the name/names of any more
jewel worn by the olden days, please mail me the names and its usage for
me to publish here in these pages.