Traditional Jewellery in Tamil Nadu

Traditional Tamil Nadu jewellery shows Indian craftsmanship at its best. Madurai, Thanjavur, Ramanathapuram and Coimbatore produce an innumerable variety of ornaments in gold of a high degree of brilliance and workmanship. In Tamil Nadu gold is considered to be a sign of prosperity and is said to bring good fortune. So it is common to see every woman here wearing at least one piece of jewellery on them. Ornaments of gold are made for every body part except for the feet with the most prominent of them being

  • Oddiyanam is a hip belt or waist chain made of gold and sometimes has a centre-piece featuring goddesses or some abstract images and sometimes encrusted with precious gemstones. Oddiyanam is worn to hold the sari up and provides a slimmer waist appearance.
  • The Maangaamaalai is a necklace of mangoes, stunning in appearance, consisting of stone-studded gold mangoes strung together with a huge pendant of encrusted peacocks. It is worn on the chest above the navel and is said to prevent pulmonary disorders.


  • Thaali or Maangalsutra holds special place for a married Indian woman and is termed as one of the most precious ornaments for them. It is usually made of a string of small sized black beads with a small pendant or locket in the centre. The locket could be shaped like a tulsi (holy basil plant), the shape of Vishnu or it could be heavily stone-studded as worn by Chettinad women.

  • Vanki is an armlet shaped like a snake or floral arch is worn on the upper arm by the women of Tamil Nadu. It is usually in the form of an inverted V-shaped form that allows for flexibility for different sizes.
  • Jhimki also known as Jhumki or Jhumka is a bell-shaped ear jewel set in coloured stones with pearls hanging at the lower end. Tamil Nadu is famous for its lotus shaped earring that the jhumkis hang down from. They are usually studded with diamonds or rubies.
  • Mattals are the stone studded chain that hanging earrings are strung onto. They are secured onto the hair on either side connecting the side hair to the earring, and cover the ears of the wearer. They are usually made of gold and pearls and are hooked to the earrings.

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