An Overview of the Cultural Holistic Science of Jewelry in Indian Tradition

Credit: Graziella

Jewelry has been a significant adornment in every woman’s life. Since the inception of civilization, jewelry has been an integral part of every woman’s life.  It has always been a very crucial part of who she is and what she represents. Jewelry not alone helps in enhancing one’s beauty, but it also symbolizes wealth, power, and status. For some, jewelry is a form of art for self and creative expression. Then, there are some people who use jewelry as part of their tradition and culture. Though they may differ in terms of importance and relevance, they all play significant roles.

History of Jewelry

Gemstones and jewelry have been a part of mankind since before history was written. It began when time began and man first walked on Earth. Of course, the jewelry they wore in the old days was not made as we make it today. The ancient people wore jewelry made of feathers, bones, shells, and colored pebbles. These colored pebbles were gems and gems have been admired for their beauty and durability and made into adornments. Diamonds were not popular until people learned how to cut them to show their brilliance, which began in Europe sometime around 1300.

Jewelry is one of the oldest types of archaeological artifacts – with 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells thought to be the oldest known jewelry. Another earliest finding of jewelry was dated around 25,000 years ago. This simple necklace made of fish bones was found in a cave in Monaco. What did this necklace signify? Was it for the chief of the village or a witch doctor? We might never know the real reason for the making of the gift, but we can use our imagination and try to understand the way people thought in those days.

Early jewelry often consisted of found materials, such as shells, wood, stones, feathers, and other natural items, but many of those pieces had significant meaning behind them. Particular cultures constructed those found objects in particular ways to represent different beliefs or affiliations. As jewelry progressed through the ages, many of the purposes and symbols remain important. Despite the difference in materials and methods of making pieces, jewelry still shares some of the same roles as those early types of jewelry.

Many types of jewelry items still made today began as functional objects. Pins and brooches originated from the clasps that held clothing together. Rings and pendants were used for early seals and signs of identification, rank, and authority. The basic forms of jewelry vary between cultures but are often extremely long-lived; in European cultures, the most common forms of jewelry like brooches, pendants, rings, etc., have persisted since ancient times, while other forms such as adornments for the nose or ankle, important in other cultures, are much less common.

Materials and Methods

Jewelry, a human’s favorite accessory, comes in various types. As we all know, jewelry can be made using different materials and metals and each looks beautiful and unique in its own way. There is now a wide range of jewelry available in the markets which is made from precious metals like gold and platinum to simple and cost-effective materials like glass, paper, and clay. Silversmiths, goldsmiths, and lapidaries use methods including forging, casting, soldering or welding, cutting, carving, and “cold-joining” (using adhesives, staples, and rivets to assemble parts).

Jewelers also include various precious and semi-precious stones, beads, and enamels to enhance jewelry. Precious stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are incorporated into jewelry designs to enhance their beauty and worth. Semi-precious stones like amethyst, topaz, and aquamarine are also used to enhance an ornament’s beauty. The range of infinite palettes of colors and shades makes these semi-precious stones as many sorts of stones for jewelry. Beads are frequently used in jewelry. These may be made of glass, gemstones, metal, wood, shells, clay, and polymer clay. Beaded jewelry commonly includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, belts, and rings. Beads may be large or small; the smallest types of beads used are known as seed beads. These are the beads used for the “woven” style of beaded jewelry.

Significance of Jewelry in Indian Culture

In Indian culture, jewelry plays a symbolic role. Apart from its beauty, jewelry is at times viewed as a status symbol. It is considered as great security as it comes in handy and becomes helpful during a financial crisis in a household.

Indian jewelry varies from culture to culture and religion to religion. It enhances the aesthetic essence of an individual. Apart from all these reasons, jewelry also plays a significant role in promoting Indian culture, especially during weddings. The piece of jewelry worn by the bride signifies that she is to become a part of her husband’s extended family. They are a part of the purification ritual as she becomes a part of the extended family of her bridegroom.

Indian weddings are famously imagined as enormous spectacles. They are often colorful, lavish, and pompous when compared to the western concept of the wedding. Indians give importance to the nuances of bridal jewelry. The heavier the nuances of this jewel are, the bigger role it plays in the legacy of the family and the jewel itself. So, the family often makes sure that the bridal jewelry is heavy with more distinct designs. In an Indian wedding, a bride wears several ornaments which have a unique meaning and significant representation. Aside from jewelry, the bride also wears a few jewelries which are considered to hold religious values. These pieces of jewelry are often connected to the Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism. Wearing this jewel signifies that you are asking for protection from these divine beings. It is also a way of asking for blessings.

Jewelry designs are available in a wide range and each state in India has its own distinguished jewelry according to its own culture. Some of the most commonly worn jewelry pieces include earrings, rings, nose pins, bangles, and toe rings.

Holistic Science and Jewelry

Jewelry and Indian women share a deep connection as their value lies not only in traditions but also has great significance in scientific terms. The reason behind each jewelry piece adorned by Indian women has a deep-rooted scientific meaning which makes one marvel.

Maang Tika (Headpiece)

Maang Tika
Maang Tika credit: aurajewels

A maang tikka is a piece of jewelry typically worn by Indian women on the forehead and is similar to the concept of head harnesses. It is composed of a chain with a hook on one end and a pendant on the other. Brides typically wear maang tikkas, but they can also be worn by women of all ages. So what is the scientific reason behind this piece of jewelry? It is generally believed that the central spot on a woman’s forehead is called Agya Chakra i.e., the seat of preservation. In view of science, this union is the meeting of the male and female elements in nature at both the physical and the mental levels. It symbolizes the final union where there is no division. It is also believed that wearing a maang tika controls an individual’s body heat.


Mangalsutra is believed to control body pressure levels and make blood circulation regular in the body of the woman wearing it. Traditionally, the groom ties this piece of jewelry around the bride’s neck during their wedding to acknowledge it to the bride during the wedding and it is worn by the married woman, symbolizing feelings of love and commitment between the married couple.

Nose Pin

Nose Pin
Necklace&Nose Pin Credit: Instantstories

With the diffusion, exposure, and spread of Indian fashion and culture, nostril piercing has in recent decades become popular in the wider world, as have other forms of body piercing, after punks and subsequent youth cultures in the ’80s and ’90s adopted this sort of piercing. Today, nostril piercing has become popular in Western and European society, with piercings being performed on either side of the nostril. For some cultures, this is simply an ornament, while for others it is for religious practices.

A nose ring called Nath by Indian women is considered one of the most beautiful and alluring jewelry. It is an integral part of traditional bridal jewelry because of its conventional and scientific value. So it is believed that piercing one’s nose in a particular node helps in lowering the menstrual pain and labor pain for a woman. Women usually prefer to wear nose rings in the left nostrils because the left Nostril nerves are associated with the female reproductive organ. According to Ayurveda, piercing one’s nose can help activate the energy center, which in turn alleviates the body’s energy level. It is also believed to ease respiratory problems. The oculists believe that it is very difficult to control, hypnotize or mesmerize women wearing a nose pin as it controls the brain’s wavelength.


We all know that the right pair of earrings can enhance any outfit and accentuate

    Earrings credit: Pinterest

its beauty. Earrings have been a thing since the Bronze Age. The oldest evidence of earrings ever found is about 5,000 years old. Hoop earrings were a popular style as far back as 4,000 years ago. Persian soldiers wore them as talismans of protection during battle. These ancient earrings were typically made of gold and decorated with gemstones. (Fun fact: Earrings were so popular in Egypt; they were even worn by cats.)

According to Ayurveda, the center of the ear lobe has a point that is important to reproductive health. It also helps in regulating the menstrual cycle. The ear lobes also have a meridian point that connects the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere of the brain. Piercing of this point helps activate these parts of the brain. Acupressure therapy also claims that when these meridian points are stimulated, it helps in the healthy and quick development of the brain.

The latest studies have also revealed that the ear is a microcosm of the entire body and has an important nerve that connects the cervix, brain, and kidney. Thus, applying the right amount of pressure enhances the health of the kidney and the bladder.


Necklaces are one of the most beautiful and important accessories for enhancing one’s beauty. Since ancient times, people have decorated their necks by wearing various pieces of jewelry like necklaces, pendants, chokers, and beads. The superstitious belief behind this piece of jewelry is that it wards off evil eyes and brings about protection and prosperity. Necklaces worn near the heart are believed to control emotions and strengthen love.


Bangles credit: Pinterest

Bangles are one of the most common accessories worn largely by Indian women. Apart from adding beauty to the overall appearance, it also has some health benefits. So what is the science behind this accessory? Bangles are generally worn in the wrist part of the hand. Bangles cause constant friction, which in turn increases the blood circulation level. Furthermore, it is believed that a round shape doesn’t let energy pass through as it has no end. So, the electricity passing out through the outer skin is again reverted to one’s own body because of the shape of the bangles.


A ring is a piece of jewelry worn by everyone across the world. Generally, the engagement and wedding band are worn on the left ring finger as it is believed to have a nerve that directly connects to the heart. Since love is connected and symbolized to the heart, the ring is generally worn on the left finger.  Apart from that, it is also believed to improve one’s general capacity for handling his/her life with ease and confidence.

Toe Rings

Toe Rings
Toe Rings credit: Mirraw

Toe rings, which are worn by a lot of women across the globe, are considered as a fashion statement and a beautiful accessory to enhance one’s feet. But are we aware of the scientific facts behind this piece of jewelry? Wearing toe rings is said to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. Toe rings are commonly worn on the second toe as this toe has a nerve that connects to the uterus and to the heart. By applying the right amount of pressure, it can improve one’s health.

Long-standing Tradition

It’s been ages since jewelry found its way into human life and it still holds an important role in culture and religion. Apart from culture, each piece of jewelry is believed to have its own scientific reasoning which helps in enhancing the life and health of an individual. Despite the changes in the composition and design of pieces of jewelry, they have never lost their value. There are many new pieces of jewelry that have found their way into the jewelry market. The value of metals that are used in manufacturing jewelry is increasing with each passing day, even during this pandemic. This shows that jewelry is a long-standing tradition that will never lose its splendor in society.

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