Traditional Tamil Jewelry: A Timeless Elegance

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


Tamil Nadu, a land of rich cultural heritage and exquisite artistry, boasts a tradition of jewelry-making that dates back centuries. The jewelry worn by Tamil women is not just an adornment but a symbol of their heritage, status, and spirituality. Let’s delve into the various traditional jewelry pieces that have been an integral part of Tamil culture.

Oddiyanam (Waist Belt)

The Oddiyanam, also known as the waist belt, is an essential ornament in Tamil weddings and festive occasions. Typically crafted from gold, this wide belt is intricately designed with motifs of deities, flowers, and peacocks. It is worn around the waist over a saree, enhancing the elegance of the attire. The Oddiyanam signifies prosperity and is often passed down through generations.

Thali (Mangalsutra)

The Thali is a sacred necklace given to a bride by the groom during the wedding ceremony. It is a significant symbol of marital status and is usually made of gold with a distinctive design that varies by community. The Thali represents the bond of matrimony and the blessings of the divine for a long and prosperous married life.

Vanki (Armlet)

The Vanki, or armlet, is worn on the upper arm and is characterized by its V-shaped design. Often adorned with intricate carvings and gemstones, the Vanki is a staple in bridal jewelry. It adds a touch of regality and is believed to protect the wearer from negative energies.

Maang Tikka (Nethi Chutti)

The Maang Tikka, known locally as Nethi Chutti, is a forehead ornament that completes the traditional bridal look. It is placed in the center parting of the hair and extends onto the forehead. Crafted with gold, pearls, and gemstones, the Maang Tikka signifies wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.

Jhumka (Ear Rings)

Jhumkas are traditional earrings that are quintessential in Tamil jewelry. These bell-shaped earrings, often large and elaborate, sway gracefully with every movement. They are typically made of gold and embellished with intricate designs and gemstones, adding a touch of glamour to any outfit.

Bangles (Valayal)

Bangles, or Valayal, are worn in multiples on both wrists and are an integral part of a Tamil woman’s jewelry collection. Made from gold, glass, or other materials, bangles symbolize prosperity and good fortune. They create a melodic sound, which is considered auspicious and pleasing.

Anklets (Kolusu)

Kolusu, or anklets, are worn around the ankles and are often adorned with tiny bells that create a pleasant sound as one walks. Made of silver or gold, anklets are not only beautiful but also believed to protect the wearer from harm.

Nose Ring (Mookuthi)

The Mookuthi, or nose ring, is a delicate ornament that adds charm to a woman’s face. It is usually a small stud or ring made of gold and sometimes embellished with a diamond or other precious stones. Nose rings are particularly popular among married women.

Necklaces (Malai)

Tamil women wear various types of necklaces, each with its unique significance. The Kasu Malai, made of gold coins, and the Muthu Malai, made of pearls, are particularly popular. These necklaces are often layered, adding grandeur to festive and bridal attire.

Toe Rings (Metti)

Toe rings, known as Metti, are worn by married women on their second toes. Made of silver, they signify marital status and are believed to enhance reproductive health according to traditional beliefs.

Choker (Addiga)

The Addiga is a close-fitting necklace that sits snugly around the neck. Often decorated with intricate designs and gemstones, chokers are a favorite among brides and are worn on special occasions.

Ear Studs (Jimikki)

Jimikki, or ear studs, are smaller than Jhumkas but equally beautiful. These ear studs are versatile and can be worn daily. They come in various designs, from simple gold studs to more elaborate pieces adorned with diamonds and pearls.

Hair Accessories (Jadai Nagam)

Hair accessories, including Jadai Nagam, are ornaments for the hair. These include hairpins and decorations for braids, often made of gold and adorned with flowers and deities. They add a regal touch to traditional hairstyles.

Finger Rings (Mudichu)

Mudichu, or finger rings, are an essential part of Tamil jewelry. These rings, often made of gold and adorned with precious stones, are worn on various fingers and symbolize different aspects of tradition and personal style.

Head Ornament (Rakkodi)

The Rakkodi is a circular ornament worn at the back of the head, often seen in bridal jewelry. It is typically decorated with intricate designs and gemstones, adding a finishing touch to traditional hairstyles.

Hip Chain (Kamarbandh)

The Kamarbandh, or hip chain, is a delicate form of waist jewelry, often worn by young girls and brides. It is usually made of gold and adorned with small bells and charms, enhancing the grace of the attire.

Muthu Chutti (Pearl Maang Tikka)

A variation of the Maang Tikka, the Muthu Chutti is adorned with pearls. It is worn similarly on the forehead and adds a touch of elegance and purity to the bridal look.

Nethi Chutti (Maang Tikka)

The Nethi Chutti is another form of Maang Tikka, featuring a central pendant and side chains. It is an essential part of the bridal ensemble, symbolizing the divine connection and spiritual grace.


The traditional jewelry of Tamil Nadu is a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage and exquisite craftsmanship. Each piece of jewelry is not just an ornament but a symbol of tradition, spirituality, and personal style. From the elaborate Oddiyanam to the delicate Nethi Chutti, Tamil jewelry continues to enchant and inspire, preserving the timeless beauty and elegance of Tamil culture.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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