Bangles are traditional ornaments from India worn around the wrist and sometimes arms, similar to bracelets. Indian bangles are typically worn on both the hands, in a set of six, twelve or more, depending on the style of the jewelry and the occasion. Bangles hold a very significant place in Indian culture, especially for older, married women. Termed ‘choodi’, these graceful, tinkling items represent fertility and marital bliss for married ladies. However, different variations are worn by young girls from a very young age. The scenario nowadays is quite different as bangles have become much more than just a culturally significant ornament; they have now evolved into a fashionable accessory which comes in many styles, including Western and Indo Western and can therefore be worn with a wide variety of outfits. Bangles of all types, shapes and colors have become popular in the West as a funky addition to any outfit, while in India both their traditional and contemporary varieties are commonly worn by older women and young girls.
India is a vast country and each geographical region has a distinctive culture, accompanied by diverse styles of dressing and ornamentation. The Indian bangle is no exception. Though it is a significant piece of jewelry everywhere, every region has a different level of importance attached to it. Moreover, every region will have different types of bangles meant for various occasions. The end result is that even within this one category there are many different styles and designs to choose from. For instance, in Rajasthan, thick white and red bangles mingled with metallic chudas are the norm and for special occasions they can even extend almost up to the shoulder. West Indian bangles are typically more colorful and made of glass while Hyderabad is known for its beautiful but brittle lac bangles. For a South Indian bride wearing Indian bangles, gold has to be the material of choice to match with the rest of jewelry. In Punjab, married women are expected to wear red bangles during and after their wedding day, for a few more months or even years. In some places, the breaking of the last bangle signifies the end of the ‘honeymoon’ period. Similarly, for many religious ceremonies like Karva Chauth and Diwali, women are expected to wear traditional bangles in certain colors and designs.
The variations in style depend not just on the region and occasion but also on the personal style of the wearer. Some women prefer Indian bangle bracelets, which are thick and intricately designed bangles meant to be worn one for each hand, as an alternative to a whole set of thin bangles. To make them stand out despite being worn as single items or in pairs, they are quite delicately wrought with interesting details. For instance, Meenakari enameling can be used to make colorful and beautiful bangles with a metallic finish, decorated with peacocks, paisley, flowers, leaves and other multi-hued designs. Real gold and silver is often wrought into complex designs like a mesh or a swirl, with stones, gems or crystals for decoration. They can also be decorated with the exclusive art of Kundan, to create stunningly luxurious looking designs, and worn as a complete set of six or twelve.
However the most commonly worn are the colorful glass Indian bangle sets. These are versatile and can be worn with all types of Indian outfits. On the other hand, more modern metallic bangles made of steel or oxidized silver can be worn with Western outfits as well. Indian bangles’ designs often incorporate beads, shells, bells and other cost-effective decorations.
When purchasing bangles, getting wholesale Indian bangles is a great way to get tremendous varieties at lower prices. The disadvantage of getting Indian bangles wholesale is that one can only access such shops near the production site which might not always be convenient to travel to. Buying online can be a good alternative, as good online stores typically source straight from the source.
Tips for Wearing Bangles
The fantastic thing about bangles is that they can be used to effortlessly accessorize almost every Indian outfit, be it a salwar kameez, lehenga choli or a saree; the only caution is that they must be stored carefully for them to maintain their beauty. Many Indian women have a special Indian bangle box where they store their exclusive bangles which can be worn for special occasions like weddings, festivals and ceremonies. Lac and wooden bangles have to be stored in a box or on a special Indian bangle stand to prevent them from losing their shape with the change in weather. These, along with oxidized silver Indian bangles, wood bangles, lac bangles and simple gold Indian bangles are trendy casual accessories right now and pair brilliantly with Kurtas and tunics.