Each Indian state has different cultural traditions and the jewellery that women adorn themselves with vary from one state to the other.
We showcase some of the popular jewellery creations that are patronised by Maharashtrian consumers.
Thushi is a choker style neckpiece woven with the gold beads very closely. It comes with an adjustable thread or dori so that you can adjust it according to your neck. It looks nice when teamed with paithani saree. Thushi necklaces are thick chains of closely-placed golden balls held together by a leather strand or piece of rope. The necklace is worn right at the base of the neck, so it is the first piece of jewelry a bride will wear below the necklace. Each minute ball on the thushi is carefully crafted from pure gold and embellished with intricate shapes and designs. The necklace can be furthered adorned with lac centrepieces for colour and variety.
Among the different types of chokers available in Maharashtra, Kolhapuri Thushi is most popular. It is a necklace that is influenced from the traditional styles of Kolhapur, in southwest Maharashtra. The necklace is known for its lightweight feel, which is useful considering the bride is wearing quite a lot of gold jewelry on her wedding day. A Kolhapur thushi will always have a leather dora (string) instead of a cotton thread to tie the golden balls of the necklace together.
2. Mundavalya :This is a unisex ornament, worn by the bride as well as the groom. It is basically a string of pearls, tied horizontally across the forehead from the temple. There are two more pearl lines that drop from either side of the forehead to the shoulders, beautifully framing the face. The mundavalya are tied after the bride is ready to walk to the mandap. This literally means that she is ready to get married.
Maharashtrian wedding is simple yet very unique than any other type Indian of wedding. Unlike other brides Maharashtrian bride wear a green or yellow paithani saree & choose to wear either gold or pearl jewellery on the wedding day. Like bride, the attire of groom is also unique he wears Dhotar & Kurta.
3. Kolhapuri Saaz : As the name suggests, this ornament is originally from the city of Kolhapur in Maharashtra. This necklace is suggestive of the woman’s marital status and is gifted by the groom’s family. In many Maharashtrian communities, a Kolhapuri saaz is as important as the mangalsutra, and many women in rural Maharashtra still wear it every day. It consists of gold beads (Jav mani), gold elements of leaves, petals etc., and a round pendant with a red stone in the centre, woven in a gold wire.
Traditionally, this necklace included 21 separate design elements, of which 10 are a reflection of Lord Vishnu’s avatars, 8 are auspicious patterns or ashtamangal, and two are ruby and emeralds. The last piece is the taviz to protect from evil.
A saaz is a studded, long Kolhapuri necklace with a jeweled pendant. The surrounding beads are made with gold and tend to be chunky – the necklace itself hangs low, at least a foot, below the bride’s neck. The beads and jewelled pendant are held together by a string. The colored jewels or beads on the necklace tend to be a bright green or red – both colors commonly worn in Maharashtrian weddings.
4. Maniwati : Maniwati beads are black and gold and used in the mangalsutra – a traditional gold necklace worn by married women. The maniwati beads are lightweight and small, and they compose a necklace that can range in weight and length. Typically, maniwati beads have little or no designs or patterns on them, but the beads at the center of the mangalsutra tend to be more elaborate and larger.
5. Bor maal :This long, beaded necklace is made with wax beads covered in gold plating. The beads will be of a consistent shape and size – generally rounded. The entire ensemble is held together by a brown or red string. The necklace is one of the longer pieces that a bride will wear, as it can hang as low as mid-way to her waist.
6. Tanmani :This is an absolute must for a Maharashtrian bride. It is a choker with 3-4 pearl lines that sit firmly onto it. The off-white pearls are accompanied by a few coloured pearls just to add to the beauty of the neckpiece. This essentially comes with a resham string that holds it and can be adjusted at the back of the neck to tighten or loosen it.
7. Jodvi or tow-rings, always in silver, are gifted by the mother-in-law and signify the bride’s entry in the new household. These are a must for every Maharashtrian bride.
Traditionally, the jewelry worn by a Maharashtrian bride is handed down from generations – from her grandmother to her mother and down to her. It therefore carries a lot of meaning, but it also means that each piece tells a personal story of the family’s wealth, success, religion, and values. Each piece also tends to be a valuable item that the bride will prize and save for her daughter or daughter-in-law.