Sep 23, 2007

Bangles India

It is no secret that India is a shopper’s paradise. Each region has its specialty of goods. Varanasi is known for its exquisite silk, Jaipur for gemstones and Agra marble, to name a few. One item you can find everywhere and which makes a great gift for women is bangles. They are easy to pack and relatively inexpensive.

The traditional jewelry has been worn by Indian women since ancient times. Bangles are made from glass, metals, plastic and of course gold and silver. Glass bangles are becoming less common as they tend to shatter. My sister-in-laws wouldn’t let me buy them when I was in India earlier this year. I don’t recommend them for young children.

The price of a set of glass, metal or plastic bangles can range anywhere from 50 cents to $25 depending on how intricate the design. They typically come in sets of 12 and there are many different sizes, which fit even the smallest child. You can easily break up a set into four or six and mix and match to give them as gifts.

As you can see from the photo of bangles I took in Jaipur, Rajasthan the variety of colors and styles is endless.

Can you hear the jingling sound they’d make on your arm?


Maryam in Marrakesh said...

You have no idea of how many of these I have! So, so many. I love them. I have always been particularly fond of the blue glass ones. In Nepal, it is not recommended that you wear these before marriage because the sound of them is said to drive men wild!

PS I am linking you:-)

Wendy said...

Hi Maryam
That's interesting about Nepal. The sound they make is very feminine indeed. Kathmandu is one of my favorite cities. I fell in love with my husband there.
And thank you for the link!

Anonymous said...

Different colored bangles have different meanings

The green glass bangles are worn after marriage who are called maharastrians. This also goes for some other community as well. They are signs of marriage as we have ring here
The red and white combination are worn by some parts of women in the east - again a sign of marriage
A differnt combination of redandwhite is worn by the people of punjab.
Tradition has it that the bangles are broken as a sign of widowhood.
All other colored bangles are mainly used as "fashion"
The above is only a story of glass bangles.

We can have a book on the stories of bangles. It will make a fine coffee table book

Wendy said...

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your knowledge. A book is a great idea. I would love to be the photographer for such a book.

lisa flores said...

hi wendy i love photos by the way they are very journalistic i think...back in the day wearing glass bangles signified that you were married in many parts of india...i once saw a really sad movie in which a woman becomes a widow and when her husband died she went thru this ritual (i dont think its practiced much anymore) during which her hands were hit against a stone until all her bangles broke off signifying that she was no longer married, and then she sat by the door of her house covered in a shawl over her head and as people entered the house for her husbands mourning ceremony they would pick up the shawl peep inside, not say anything, put the shawl back down and walk into the house signifying that there was no one under that shawl...unfortunately women cease to exist on their own once they are widows...really long ago many indian women would throw them self into the flames once their husband died...again i dont believe any of this is commonly practiced now but bangles definitly have a huge story behind them and someone could definitly make a coffee table book out of it...

Wendy said...

Hi Lisa,

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. It would be interesting to research the meanings of different bangles. The symbolism and look of bangles varies by region in India. It would be quite an undertaking but a labor of love to research and photograph.