A peek at the different bridal customs and jewellery from around the world
Traditions play an important role in weddings. Small ceremonies are as important as the big ones and, often, these traditions date back to ancient times. From wearing a veil to cutting the cake and tying the knot, each of these familiar practices has significant meanings.
Through the years, each culture has developed its own particular wedding and bridal customs, which, to this day, are still honoured and valued. India, for example, has over 20 different bridal traditions from North to South and East to West. In the East, Korean wedding rituals differ from those of the Chinese and Japanese — all done in celebration of the biggest tradition of all, the wedding itself — the union of two individuals who vow to love and honour each other for the rest of their lives.
A symbol of love, status and investment, jewellery has always played an important role in weddings across the globe. With this story, we look at four global brides and their jewellery traditions.
The Western Bride
In the Western culture, it is customary for the bride to wear white
In the Western culture, it is customary for the bride to wear white. And with an all-white theme, jewellery can make a lot of difference — their sheer brilliance can uplift the final look. Clean, classy, and chic, white is always stunning whether the bride wears an all-diamond parure or adds a little pop of colour with her favourite gemstone — sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are common favourites.
While necklaces, earrings and wrist-wear need to be in sync and have to be well-thought of, the most important pieces of jewellery on the wedding day are no doubt the rings and the tiara, or the hair accessory that holds the veil in place. The rings will be worn everyday, and the tiara — often the centrepiece that holds together the whole look of the bride — will be the most prominent accessory in the photos.
For tiaras, the current trends lean back towards history, as many modern brides are looking at antique jewellery to fill the place of ‘something old’ at their weddings. Jeremy Morris, Managing Director of David Morris, shares: “With a heritage in excess of 55 years, David Morris is renowned for creating traditional jewellery with a design twist. An example is the House’s signature Rose Cut collection, which sees traditional stones from antiquity, set into contemporary creations, resulting in feminine, delicate jewellery perfect for any modern bride.”
The Chinese Bride
Brides in Chinese culture are often adorned with multiple layers of gold jewellery, given by the groom’s family as a welcome gift for the bride
Red and gold come to mind when we think of Chinese weddings. Brides in Chinese culture are usually adorned with multiple layers of gold jewellery — often given by the groom’s family as a welcome gift for the bride. The 24K gold jewellery stands out dramatically over the bride’s auspicious red wedding outfit.
Though not many modern brides prefer this traditional look anymore, the meaningful symbols that are associated with this tradition are still honoured to bring in good luck and longevity in the marriage. Symbols like cloud patterns, phoenix, dragon, roses, and other auspicious flowers are commonly spotted at Chinese weddings.
Emperor Jewellery, one of the leading Chinese bridal jewellery brands in Asia, combines the classic designs with western aesthetics to complement the contemporary bride. Blending culture, design, and exquisite craftsmanship, Emperor Jewellery’s bridal pieces take inspirations from the traditional symbols, such as the camellia found in the East and roses in the West to symbolise the romance of a joyful marriage. The dragon and phoenix represent the communion between the couple.
The Indian Bride
Indian brides are literally bejewelled from head to toe, with each piece of jewellery having its own significance and ritual
One of the most diversely cultural countries in the world, India has multiple bridal traditions that vary from each state and region. But one thing common among them is that the bride is literally bejewelled from head to toe, with each piece having its own significance and ritual. For the modern Indian bride, however, jewellery is no longer perceived as an investment to be stored up in safes — she prefers jewellery that she can wear and flaunt post-wedding.
The demand for chunky gold pieces is replaced by diamond jewellery, often with innovative concepts. And rather than wearing everything on the wedding day, trousseau jewellery is actually much desired.
Tanshiq, the largest jewellery retail chain in India, is often called the country’s wedding jeweller for being able to individually cater to every kind of bridal demand from North to South. “One thing that stood out from our extensive research on the millennial bride is that she wants to find more meaning in the jewellery she buys for her wedding and seeks versatility in the ways the jewellery can be worn after the big day,” shares Abhishek Rastogi, Tanshiq’s Head of Design. “Hence we look at modularity in a big way — a grand neckpiece splits into two distinct smaller necklaces, statement chandeliers convert into sober studs, chokers transform into bracelets, and the rarely used maangtikaa effortlessly becomes a daily wear pendant. Lots of innovative modular techniques make this transformation possible.”
The Arabic Bride
Modern Arabic brides today wear the best of global couture and the finest of jewellery
The wedding culture in the Middle East is fast changing — gone are the days when brides were tucked under a thick veil. Post the traditional Nikah that is held among close family and friends, it is the reception that has a larger audience and is more fashion forward. The modern brides today wear the best of global couture and the finest of jewellery. The opulent lifestyle of the Arabs is evident in every detail, from the diamonds to the decorations. The Western world also had a lot of influence on Arabic weddings, making white wedding gowns popular along with other traditions, including exchanging of wedding rings.
La Marquise Fine Jewellery caters to many Arabic brides, and often makes their wedding jewellery dreams come true. “The Middle East is all about love for extraordinary diamond jewellery that makes a statement,” says Nishith Shah, CEO of the brand. “Design elements that comprise precious gemstones with pear, marquise, and round diamonds are particularly appreciated. There has been a move towards coloured stones, too, particularly emeralds.”