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South Indian Jewellery & Its Significance | South Indian Jewels

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

South Indian jewellery is a cumulative term given to the traditional jewellery designs made through various unique crafts by artisans of south India and is widely used by women in India. The jewellery designs are a part of the rich south Indian culture and the evidences of its existence can be seen in ancient sculptures and scriptures of the region.


South Indian Jewellery hails from the five states of southern India, namely Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. Each state has its own unique culture and traditions which in turn got imbued in the sculptures, scriptures and jewellery.

For people in south Indian states, opulence matters and one of the major way of representing their wealth in society is through jewellery. It can be an ancestral gold necklace to show the generations of wealth and stature or gold and diamond jewellery to establish a standing among their community. South Indian weddings are packed with resplendent silk sarees and tantalising jewellery designs.

These traditional south Indian jewellery designs are majorly used in weddings by the brides and other festive occasions. Many jewellery pieces have important roles in performing religious rituals thereby making the traditional jewels an inevitable part of customs and traditions.

History Of South Indian Jewellery

The jewellery in south India is believed to be born during the ancient times predating sangam period which spans between 6th century BCE to 3rd century CE. Literary works like Cilappatikaram - 'story that centers around an anklet' mentions presence of eclectic jewellery designs owned by women during the those times.

During the early reign of Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties of south India, trade, art and crafts, music and wealth flourished. Jewellery made with gold, silver, copper and brass were used by people of different classes. Though gold was majorly used in making jewellery designs, other metals and even clay was also used to create artistic jewellery forms on an earlier period.

Types Of South Indian Jewellery

South Indian jewellery can be divided based on states(as per current state divisions), the craft, materials and by parts of body where it is worn.

Types of south Indian jewellery division by states are as follows:
  1. Jewellery designs of Tamilnadu

  2. Jewellery designs of Kerala

  3. Jewellery designs of Karnataka

  4. Jewellery designs of Andhra Pradesh

  5. Jewellery designs of Telangana

Types of jewellery found in south India based on some of the crafting methods are;
  1. Temple jewellery

  2. Nakshi Work Jewellery

  3. Nizami Jewellery

  4. Palakka Jewellery

  5. Bidri Jewellery

Based on materials south Indian jewellery designs can be divided as below;
  1. Gold Jewellery Designs

  2. Diamond Jewellery

  3. Silver Jewellery

  4. Polki Jewellery

  5. Pearl Jewellery

  6. Gemstone Jewellery

  7. Semiprecious Jewellery

  8. Copper and Brass Imitation Jewellery

South Indian Jewellery can be elaborately divided into many, based on where it is worn;
  1. Head Jewellery

  2. Nose Pins or Nose rings

  3. Earrings

  4. Necklaces

  5. Bangles & Bracelets

  6. Finger Rings

  7. Armlets

  8. Hip chains or waist belts

  9. Anklets

  10. Toe Rings


South Indian jewellery designs have seen kingdoms rise and fall. They still exist among us adorning us in flattering ways making us pine for more. Through centuries the jewellery designs have evolved and adorns even the most modern south Indian bride.

The metamorphic change of traditional south Indian jewellery designs without changing its values and traditions is a feat in itself.


Nakshi temple jewellery, Lakshmi haram, guttapusalu, palakka jewellery, kokkethathi mango mala, kasumala, Bridal vaddanam, Hyderabadi diamond jewellery are some of the most popular jewellery designs of south India.

The demand for south Indian jewellery designs are increasing among the brides of India.

South Indian Jewellery Names

  • Manga malai/ mangamala/ Paisley necklace/ Mango haram

  • Kasumalai / Kasumala / Kasinasara / Kasulaperu / coin necklace

  • Vanki / Armlet

  • Vaddanam/ Arapatta / Oddiyanam/ Hipbelt

  • Temple Lakshmi Haram

  • Kemp Necklace

  • Guttapusalu Haram

  • Papidi Billa / Netrichutti/ Nettichutti/ Mundale/ Mang Tika

  • Gundala Haram

  • Nakshi Haram

  • Palakkamala

  • Mullamottu mala


South Indian jewellery is growing more on people day by day. Cherish our beautiful and deep heritage close to heart. Take time to know more about the jewellery you own. Subscribe to south Indian jewels to know more on south Indian jewellery designs.


Image credits - Kalyan Jewellers, A Geeri Pai, Krishna jewellers


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