Onam is here. Time to go back to the roots and brush up on age-old traditions associated with the festival. Time to indulge in the Onasadya and pull out traditional attire from the wardrobes. It is also a time to revisit traditional Kerala jewellery because while change is always welcome, one can never let go of the classic and the timeless. This Onam, adorn yourself with traditional jewellery which has withstood the test of time and the vagaries of passing fashions through the years.
The traditional designs of jewellery have deep cultural significance and symbolic value. They are usually based on symbols of nature and mystical themes and are expected to empower the wearer with energy and serenity. Whether it is temple jewellery or traditional bridal jewellery, the exquisite craftsmanship of the ornaments and inherent beauty of the designs make these pieces a must-have for every woman in Kerala.
Traditional Kerala ornaments like jimiki, kasumala (coin necklace), palakkamala (mango necklace), cheruthali, poothali, nagapadathali, karimanimala and mullamottumala have always been in fashion. The ornaments are almost always made of gold, with use of gemstones like diamonds, rubies and emeralds to enhance the basic design. Sometimes for customised Kerala-style jewellery, the craftsmen use birthstones or ‘lucky stones’ in combination with the designs.
In the case of the traditional earrings (jimiki), there is a vast range of designs and styles available to suit every fancy and every occasion. With changing times, silver, platinum and non-traditional gemstones have made an appearance in the jewellery but the basic designs have remained unchanged.
These jewellery designs are not only a part of the wedding trousseau of every Kerala bride, but they are also rapidly gaining popularity among gold lovers everywhere. Even today, these traditional ornaments continue to influence the trends and styles of modern jewellery made in Kerala.