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Bangles on display in India

Bangles or Chudi (Tamil: Valayal) (Telugu: Gaaju) (Malayalam: Vala) are traditional ornaments worn by Indian women, especially Hindus. They are worn after marriage to signify matrimony.

They are circular in shape, and, unlike bracelets, are not flexible. The word is derived from Hindi bungri (glass).[1] They are made of numerous precious as well as non-precious materials such as gold, silver, platinum, glass, wood, ferrous metals, plastic, etc.

Bangles are part of traditional Indian jewelry. They are usually worn in pairs by women, one or more on each arm. Most Indian women prefer wearing either gold or glass bangles or combination of both. Inexpensive Bangles made from plastic are slowly replacing those made by glass, but the ones made of glass are still preferred at traditional occasions such as marriages and on festivals.

The bride will try to wear as many small glass bangles as possible at her wedding; honeymoon will end when the last bangle breaks.

The designs range from simple to intricate handmade designs, often studded with precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, gems and pearls.

Sets of expensive bangles made of gold and silver make a jingling sound. The imitation jewelry, tend to make a tinny sound when jingled.

Some men wear a single bangle on the arm or wrist called as kada or kara. In Sikhism, The father of a Sikh bride will give the groom a gold ring, a kara (steel or iron bangle), and a mohra.[1]

Chooda is a kind of bangle that is worn by Punjabi women on her wedding day. It is a set of white and red bangles with stone work. According to tradition a woman is not supposed to buy the bangles she will wear.

Contents

History

Pair of bangles, about 1880, India V&A Museum no. IS.1889&A-1883

Bangles—made from shell, copper, bronze, gold, agate, chalcedony etc.—have been excavated from multiple archaeological sites throughout India.[2] A figurine of a dancing girl—wearing bangles on her left arm— has been excavated from Mohenjo-daro (2600 BC).[3]

Other early examples of bangles in India include copper samples from the excavations at Mahurjhari—soon followed by the decorated bangles belonging to the Mauryan empire (322–185 BCE), and the gold bangle samples from the historic site of Taxila (6th century BCE).[2] Decorated shell bangles have also been excavated from multiple Mauryan sites.[2] Other features included copper rivets and gold-leaf inlay in some cases.[2]

Types of bangles

There are two basic types of bangles: a solid cylinder type; and a split, cylindrical spring opening/closing type. Primary distinguishing factor for these is the material that is used to make the bangles. This may vary anything from glass to jade to metal to lac and even rubber or plastic. Traditionally bangles were made of various types of metals like gold, silver, bronze etc. Bangles made from gold are considered the most expensive ones.

Another factor that adds to the price of the bangles is the artifacts or the work done further on the metal. This includes embroidery or small glass pieces or paintings or even small hangings that are attached to the bangles. The rareness of a color and its unique value also increase the value. Bangles made from lac are one of the oldest ones and among the brittle category too. Lac is clay like material which in molded in hot kilns-like places to make these bangles. Among the recent entrants are the rubber bangles that are worn more like a wrist band by youngsters while the plastic ones are there to add the trendy look. Normally, a bangle worn by people around the world is simply an inflexible piece of jewelry worn around the wrist. However, in many cultures, especially in the Arabian Peninsula and in South Asia, bangles have evolved into various types in which different ones are used at different occasions.

Function

A standard bangle is used as an adornment. A new special type of bangle doubles as a clip for hanging items such as a handbag.

Production

Glass bangles are mostly produced in only one Indian city called Firozabad in North India.

In India, Hyderabad has a historic market for bangles named the Laad Bazaar.

In Pakistan, glass bangles are almost all produced in Hyderabad, Pakistan

Notes

  1. ^ Bangles, necklaces, and garlands
  2. ^ a b c d Ghosh, page 224
  3. ^ Ghosh, page 83

References

  • Ghosh, Amalananda (1990). An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology. Brill. ISBN 9004092641.
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