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27 Kerala Traditional Jewellery Designs and Names | South Indian Jewels

Updated: Feb 19

The lush green landscapes of Kerala enamour every soul with a penchant for nature. The breathtaking backwaters, greenery, rich culture, progressive and secular society, delectable cuisine and their love for gold makes Kerala the God’s own country indeed. Gold jewellery has always been a part of Kerala traditions. Be it festivals like Onam, Vishu or Weddings, gold ornaments of Kerala can be seen worn by women in almost every house-hold.

A variety of evergreen jewels are found in the treasure trove of Kerala traditional jewellery designs. We can take a quick look at the top Kerala traditional jewellery names and designs below.


Traditional Ornaments of Kerala

Kerala Traditional Jewellery Names

1. Pichimottu Mala

​2. Palakka Mala

​3. Mulla mottu Mala

​4. Manga Mala

​5. Elakkathali

​6. Kazhuthila

​7. Nagapadam mala

​8. Kasu Mala

​9. Pulinakha Mala

​10. Karimani Mala

​11. Sarapoli Mala

​12. Poothali Mala

​13. Kuzhiminni

​14. Chandraminni

​15. Kuzhalmothiram Mala

​16. Mani Mala

​17. Kandasaram

​18. Avil Mala

​19. Kashali Mala

​20. Gothambumani Mala

​21. Pathakkam

​22. Mukkolakkallu Mala

​23. Kingini Mala

​24. Moonizhamani Mala

​25. Kumbil Mala

​26. Thalikoottam or Cheruthali

​27. Lakshmi Mala


Pichimottu Mala

Pichi, a variant of Jasmine, is a popular plant found in Kerala. The design of Pichimottu mala is acquired from the buds of the Pichi plant. The gold necklace is made by laying the lockets in an array. Pichi mottu necklace is a popular traditional jewellery in Kerala


Palakka mala

The most desired traditional jewellery design in Kerala is Palakka mala. Originally they were only made in green colour to represent the green nature of the state. With the advent of modern fashion, the design was caressed in multiple hues resulting in violet, red, blue, pink and more. Palakka comes in the form of chokers, palakka long harams, pendants, bangles, and earrings. A palakka design is traditionally made in leaf shape and is rendered in glass or crystals. They come in the shape of manga(mango), pulinakham (tiger-claw), fusions and much more.


Traditionally, the elaborate inlays of Palakka are set in heavy gold, imparting elegance to the jewellery. To make it more affordable, palakka designs are made available in other metals and alloys as well. Checkout some of the imitation or gold plated palakka mala on Amazon.


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Mulla mottu mala

Importance of jasmine flowers in South Indian states is unparalleled. Every celebration and customary function includes jasmine. Mulla mottu mala means garland of jasmine buds. The necklace is much favoured by Kerala brides. Pure gold mullamottu necklace is usually an heirloom that every girl gets from her grandmother, in an 'amadapetti'. Imbued with the essence of rich culture every generation celebrates life in the Malayali way. In Karnataka, the necklace is called mallimoggu sara.

Jewellery stores like Malabar gold, Joy alukkas, Navrathan, Kalyan Jewellers have a wide collection of mullamottu mala in gold. Gold plated mullamottu mala versions are available on Amazon as well.


Manga mala


Manga Mala is also a part of traditional bridal trousseau in Kerala. The beads or lockets are shaped like mangoes and are arranged in a beautiful setting to form a manga mala.


Elakkathali


As the name depicts elakkathali is a collar necklace that flutters with movement. Numerous tiny thin leaflets hanging from the necklace reflect the light in a mesmerising way creating the illusion of sparkle. The necklace is worn as an adornment while performing Mohiniyattam - the classical dance of Kerala.


Elakkathali is available as 22 carat gold and gold plated necklaces, keeping the choices open for people. Amazon has a good collection of gold plated elakkathali if you prefer to try one. Whereas for pure gold elakkathali one can always visit online jewellers like Kalyan, Jos Alukkas and more.


You may also like to read: South Indian imitation jewellery brands



Kazhuthila

It's a simple choker necklace inspired from leaves. The gold leaf trinkets are arrayed dangling to form the elegant Kazhuthila. These neckpieces are not as popular as a palakka or Kasu mala but they indeed bring out the beauty of a Kerala woman.


Kasu mala


The symbol of prosperity and power, every Kasu mala was a secret pride of Nair and Namboothiri women in Kerala. Passed down through generations, kasu mala holds a prominent place in the trousseau of a Kerala bride. Justifying the name, the necklace is made of coins. Kasu mala evolved with the modern fashion trends and many new variants were made. Gold kasu mala, gold plated, silver Kasu mala, oxidised ones and more. In Karanataka the necklace is called kasinasara and in Andhra it is kasulaperu.


Nagapadam mala


Keralites worshipped snakes as a part of their religious beliefs. Nagapadam mala represents the head of a snake. The inlay is similar to palakka mala and was traditionally set in gold. Nagapadam mala and nagapada thali are still among the most cherished Kerala traditional necklace designs. Nagapada thali or ottakal nagapadam mala is made out of single stone set in gold pendant and a sleek chain.


Pulinakha Mala


The tiger claw necklace or pulinakha mala is one among the dainty traditional ornaments of Kerala. The pulinakha pendants were worn by warriors during the earlier days. Later on, inspired from pulinakha pendants pulinagha mala chokers were made by the skilled jewel smiths of Kerala.


Karimani mala

Black beads are stringed along with gold beads to make a beautiful karimani mala. These necklaces are seen to be worn by married women as a symbol of their marriage. Some even use these as thali chains.


Sarapoli mala

That necklace you wanted from your mother’s or grandmother's jewel box when you were a kid. Yes! a sarapoli mala is simple yet attractive enough to grab even a kid’s eyes. The leaf-like motifs with a vertical fold in the centre are arranged in a choker or long chain setting to create a sarapoli mala. This timeless traditional jewellery design of Kerala is still adored by young brides.


Poothali Mala


Poothali mala is one of the popular traditional ornaments of Kerala. Floral designs are etched onto the necklace and hence the name ‘poo’ thali. Kattapoothali, thamara poothali are other variants of poothali mala that found their place in the trousseau of Kerala brides.


Kuzhiminni

The kuzhiminni necklace design is inspired from flowers and the charms of this necklace has a depression on the centre. The beautiful chokers are always a happy presence in weddings, events and festivities.


Chandraminni

Slim and sleek crescent moon shapes are made in gold and are arranged in a necklace setting with a centre-piece to create a chandraminni necklace. The necklace is one of the rare traditional jewellery designs in Kerala


Kuzhalmothiram Mala

The simple kuzhalmothiram mala is usually passed down through generations. The choker usually comes with a centrepiece stone inlay and side pieces. This beautiful necklace drapes around the neck accentuating the beauty of the person wearing them.



Mani Mala

One of the common gold jewellery you can find in almost every household of Kerala. A manimala usually comes in single and multiple layers. The ball beads of gold are strung together to form a simple necklace. Many women use the necklace on a daily basis.


Kandasaram

The half moon gold pieces stacked together and pink stones embedded on the necklace are quite alluring. The necklace indeed gives out authentic and royal south Indian vibes. Kandasaram necklace is hands down the regal necklace among Kerala traditional jewellery designs.


Avil Mala

The nature of acquiring inspiration from surroundings begot many unique and elegant designs to be born in Kerala. Avil mala is such a supple design that was made by taking inspiration from rice flakes (avil), which is a common food in Kerala. The chain usually is of single or multiple layers.The necklace is called havalakki sara in karnataka


Kashali Mala

Kashali mala is a variant of kasu mala with Laksmi motifs on them. The difference between a kasu mala and kashali mala is that kashali coins won't overlap. The pieces of the necklace are made with rare mould and are not commonly found. The intricate work boasts of skill and effort. This traditional necklace is gaining much popularity now.



Gothambumani Mala

Inspired by wheat grains, gothambumani mala was born. The sleek and delicate design sharpens the features of the person wearing them. These chains are also preferred in single and multiple layers by Kerala women. For kannadiga brides of south Karnataka the necklace is godhisara


Pathakkam

Pathakkam - The chain with a round pendant is a must have in a malayali brides’ jewellery treasure. A pathakkam necklace comes in simple gold studded with stones or in palakka setting. Pathakkam is one such piece of jewellery that can be worn alone and still grab plenty of eyeballs. The traditional pathakkam necklace is common in south Indian states. In Karnataka it is called Padaka.



Mukkolakkallu Mala

Mukkolakkallu mala is one of the traditional jewellery worn by unmarried Namboothiri (Kerala brahmins) girls. Namboothiri women always wore simple and light weight jewellery favouring their satvik nature. Mukolakkallu mala is a simple and unique necklace to own.


Kingini Mala

Kingini mala necklaces were first used as hip chains for small kids. Later on, women started wearing them as necklaces as well. The design is used as a hip belt, anklet, choker, long necklace and bracelets by many women in Kerala. The original design also had a bigger round bead as the centre piece which disappeared over time.


Moonizhamani Mala

Moonizhamani mala is one of the supple and gorgeous necklaces you can find in Kerala’s traditional jewellery treasure trove. Married Namboothiri women wore this three layer necklace with grace. The necklace come with a bodhi leaf pendant on the longest layer and usually has a ruby stone inlay.


Kumbil Mala