Ancient Jewellery


  • Angulia
  • Akshamala
  • Arsi
  • Bina
  • Bulaku
  • Nakchabi
  • Chaulari
  • Paklari
  • Satlari
  • Tilari
  • Chudamanl
  • Dehri
  • Dhammilia
  • Ghungroo
  • Keyura Orangada
  • Gurnakuntala
  • Haravasti
  • Hasti
  • Hemasutra
  • Hemavaikaksha
  • Hiranya
  • Jimiki
  • Kaksha
  • Kakshya Bandha
  • Kalabaku
  • Kanaka Kamala
  • Kanchala
  • Kanchis
  • Kantha
  • Karanda-Mukuta
  • Karnika
  • Kavacha
  • Keyura
  • Kirita
  • Kirita-Mukuta
  • Kundala
  • Lambanam
  • Makarika
  • Mangamalai
  • Mauli Mani
  • References


Literally, the term ‘Angulia’ means ‘for the finger’ (anguli). It is also called anguliyaka or anguthi. Ratnangulia is referred to a ring studded with precious stones.


The term ‘Akashmala’ means ‘rosary of beads’. There are two types of akshamalas – rudraksha and kamalaksha. The Hindu akshamala has 50 beads corresponding to 50 letters of the alphabet beginning with ‘a’ and ending with ‘ksha’. The Buddhist akshamala has 108 beads. Generally the Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and goddess Saraswati are depicted with the rosary in their hands, but it is not unusual to find it in the hands of other deities as well. Akshamala is also a name given to Arundhati.


A ring for the thumb, set with a mirror.


A star-shaped ornament worn on the forehead, fastened to the hair by a hook or a chain. It is also called sitara.


In Tamil and Telugu languages, Bulaku is a gold ornament worn in the cartilage of the nose, hanging to the lips. Another nose ornament is a nose-pin of gold called Keel in U.P. and Mukkuthi in Tamil.


A nose-pin worn by women in Bengal, studded with glass or stone. Nath or nathia is a big nose-ring generally worn at the time of marriage by women of northern and certain parts of eastern India. It is also called Nothia in Bihar.


A necklace in four strands.


A necklace in five strands.


Seven strand necklace.


Three stringed necklace.


An ornament for shaping the woman’s hair like a lotus. The petals are studded with pearls and precious stones.


Earrings shaped like discs.


An elaborate hair style with flowers, pearls and jewels.


An anklet with small bells. The heavier ones with rows of bells are worn by dancers.

Keyura Orangada

Also payal, nupur, kara (simple bangle type anklet), mani nupura (anklets of jeweled beads), manjira (hollow anklets which make a tinkling sound in movement), sankla a thick chain anklet, tulakoti (heavy anklets with the two ends enlarged at meeting point).


A hairdo for males where the shoulder length hair is curled and left loose. At times, this may be fastened with a headband or a string of pearls.


From ‘hara’ – necklace; made of large pearls.


Lit: elephant tusks. Bangles of ivory.


A gold chain for the neck with precious stones studded in the centre.


Two long wreaths of either flowers or pearls worn round the chest by women.


Known as Gold, it is so called suvarna (good colour), swarna, sona.

Hiranyasraj – gold garlands.


Long earrings with short tassels of gold or pearls or other beads at the end. It is a popular earring of Tamil Nadu. In north India it is called jhumka or jhumki.


Red seeds used for making ornaments, also called manjar.

Kakshya Bandha

A heavy ornament made of chains (of gold, silver or precious stones) embellished with pendants and worn aslant at the hip.


A cummerbund (waist chain) of many strings. Also called kayabandh.


Simple sash kamarbandh bandh.

Kanaka Kamala

Earring designed to resemble a full-blown lotus and set with rubies; often seen in South India.


Elaborate pendant earrings.


Hip girdle with beads.


A short necklace, broad and flat, worn close to the neck (addigay- Tamil).


Lit: bowl shaped crown. It is a small crown generally worn by subordinate gods and goddesses.


A type of earring. Karnphul- earring shaped like a flower.


A protective cover for the body, a kind of armour. Karna, in Mahabharata, a Hindu epic, was endowed with a special kavacha which made him invincible. He was tricked by Indra into giving up his kavacha along with other ornaments and was thus left completely vulnerable.


A flat ornament worn on the arm just over the biceps. Also called baju bahu, angada (shaped like a coiled snake).


A phonetic word for the tiny anklet with little bells worn by children.


A crown or tiara. Also called tirita, mukuta, kreedam (Tamil).


A conical crown with an ornamental top, carrying a central pointed knob. It is covered with jeweled discs on all sides and has jeweled bands on the top and bottom. The crown is worn exclusively by Vishnu.


Ornament for the ear usually ring shaped. Karna, in Mahabharata was made to part with his kundalas, the source of his invincibility, Sarpa-kundala – an ornament for the ear, shaped liked a snake.


A long necklace. Also called mala, maalai (south India).


An ornament for the hair, shaped like a fish or a crocodile.


A necklace of South India with a number of little pendants shaped like mangoes (from manga – mango).

Mauli Mani

An elaborately jeweled clasp for the turban (mauli).