Throughout India, many women continue the age-old tradition of decorating their arms from wrist to elbow with bangles. For some, the bangles are so small that once they’re put on with the assistance of a jeweler, they’re never removed. Our set of mother-of-pearl bangles offers six pastel hues to mix and match or wear as part of an armful. Shell inlaid in brass.
Handcrafted in India. 1/8"W x 2 3/4" diameter.
Banglesmade from glass, plastic, metal, conch shell, lac, or woodare the most universally worn type of jewelry in India. Different regions have different customs, but bangles almost always indicate marital status. One red lac bangle and one white conch shell bangle say that a woman is married and from Bengal. Married women from Uttar Pradesh are required to wear glass bangles. In fact, the bangle seller is the only man allowed to touch a woman who isn’t his wife or daughter, as he must help her slip the smallest possible bangles over her oiled hand, often up to her elbow. The bangles are only removed by breaking them if one’s husband dies, according to jewelry historian Oppi Untracht. Historian Pravina Shukla notes one woman who “wears the red and white pair on each wrist and half a dozen glass bangles as well to communicate that she is a married Bengali woman who currently lives in Uttar Pradesh."
In traditional Gujurat and Rajasthan communities, many women wear a full set of fifty or more ivory bangles on each arm in the belief that they will keep her healthy and ease childbirth. According to Indian-born designer Suddha Pennathur, the color of the bangles also carries meaning: Red bangles symbolize energy, blue bangles symbolize wisdom, and purple symbolizes independence. Green stands for luck or marriage and yellow is for happiness. Orange bangles mean success, white ones mean new beginnings, and black ones mean power. And silver bangles mean strength, while gold bangles mean fortune.