In India, jewelry has not only traditional and aesthetic value, but is also considered sacred and even today, jewelry is often bought to fulfill various religious rites and needs based on an individual's religious and spiritual belief. Therefore, the impact of religion has been predominant in south Indian gold jewelry designs which draw inspiration from nature and continue their reference to flower and animal motifs laden with meaning. The significance of rendering plants, flowers and animals in jewelry can be traced back to centuries and continues to the present day.
Let's look at the motifs used commonly in south Indian jewelry and understand each of their significance. For the benefit of our readers, I have also depicted popular south indian jewelry associated with each of these motifs.
The parrot in Hindu mythology is associated with Kama, the god of love and his consort Rati. Kama is depicted as riding a parrot and taking aim with his bow made from sugarcane and arrows made of flowers. Also, in Indian mythology, parrots are associated with fertility and each color of the feather holds a different meaning. Green for example, represent earth after the rain, while the red feather represents unfulfilled desires. Also, in south Indian temples, goddesses hold parrots in their hands as symbol of a messenger and surveillance. The Parrot Kasu Mala (see images below) is a very popular choice among south Indian brides as it signifies color, fertility and all of the magic that it encompasses.
Mango tree has long held mythic associations in Indian society. The mango tree is believed to be a symbol of fertility and long life. Mango leaves which are believed to hold protective powers are still used in actual rituals in India, also commonly found strung across the entrance of an house. Motifs of mango have been used in south Indian jewelry, lending not only a meaning but decorative elements to the jewelry pattern. Also, in Hinduism, the perfectly ripe mango is often held by Lord Ganesha as a symbol of attainment, perfection and love. Representative of life, perfection and eternity, the Mango Mala makes the south Indian bride look extremely traditional and glorious on her wedding day.
A popular south Indian design jewelry effortlessly imbibes the motif of the peacock, and it’s not just because of the bird’s beauty and elegance. In south Indian mythology, peacock is the vehicle (vahaana) of Murugan/Kartikeya, the God of war, victory, love and wisdom. Also, peacock symbolises the blossoming of love. Peacocks are extensively used in south Indian jewelry signifying love, beauty and wisdom.
Plants and flowers are associated with deities, presented as offerings in Indian rituals and symbolically represented in daily life through various means. A closer look at Indian jewelry from our collection show the many ways floral motifs are adapted in design and jewelry making. Flowers are symbolic of splendid beauty. It is also used to indicate happiness, color and abundance. An Indian bride's jewelry is never complete without floral patterns or design in her bridal collection.