Minimalist or glitzy, grooms are increasingly pairing their wedding ensembles with bijouterie. Men wearing jewellery isn’t uncommon, or a break from tradition for most of India. Weddings are an occasion where even the most reticent groom is going to sport at least the ritual ring or a chain. While the bridal trousseau takes up most of the wedding spree, the groom needn’t feel left out when shopping for some eye-catching jewellery.
Although jewellery has only recently become a fashion statement for men, it was an everyday occurrence and a common accessory in ancient India. Many kings and emperors, as well as people of the royal court often donned pieces such as rings, bracelets, stacked necklaces, toe-rings and even clip-on earrings.
The jewellery industry has always been in-step with this, and to not let men feel left out on their special day, has transcended towards creating some gorgeous pieces for the groom, including necklaces, sarpech, brooches, rings, cufflinks and buttons.
While the Western world might be adorning neckpieces fairly recently, the most popular wedding accessory for Indian men, especially for most Hindu wedding ceremonies, necklaces are a style staple for a lot of men. Even though pearls are the most common gemstones used, emeralds and rubies are not far off. The latter two are often paired along with pearls to add a pop of colour.
There are also different kinds of necklaces such as the moti mala or a simple pearl necklace, kundan mala— a multi-layered necklace made with semi-precious stones, and the ladashaar which is also layered but is woven together pearls, polki and sometimes even diamonds. Although the satladas (seven layers) is usually the preferred choice, there are also smaller sizes like panchladas (five layers) and teenladas (three layers).
The second most common accessory, the sarpech also called kalgi or kilangi is a brooch-like ornament fitted on the groom’s turban or safa. The sarpech was an important accessory in ancient India, worn mostly by Hindu and Muslim princes as a sign of virility, prosperity and prestige.
The sarpech is traditionally made with from gold and is encrusted with polki and other gemstones. Some kalgis usually come with a single-fitted piece, whereas others have a more elaborate design with feathers or chains, that wrap around either side of the turban.
Brooches and lapel pins are some of the most versatile pieces of jewellery that add subtle glamour to one’s outfits and is a great choice for grooms who don’t want to sport any obvious jewellery. For those who aren’t too fond of necklaces, a brooch is an ideal piece to keep the outfit from looking plain and simplistic.
Brooches come in a wide range of choices from traditional motifs like lions, swords and shields to more modern pieces with diamonds, pearls and other precious gemstones. With just the right amount of bling, brooches can easily lift an outfit without seeming too gaudy.
Buttons and Cufflinks
Buttons and cufflinks are a smaller accent when it comes to wedding jewellery, but these small pieces can glam up an outfit, taking it up a notch from minimalist to suave and sophisticated.
One gets to choose from simple diamond-studded to colourful polki buttons which can either be colour-coordinated with your sherwani or stand out on their own, adding some festive cheer to the outfit. Similarly, with cufflinks, men can choose to design their cufflinks with their initials.
Bracelets and Rings
Bracelets and rings (other than wedding ring) are a lesser-worn jewellery piece when it comes to grooms. However, simple gold chain bracelets or a well-crafted Kada is perfect for that traditional look. Enhance these with gemstones, monograms or intricate patterns and you have a keepsake.
Keeping up with trends
Traditional jewellery is believed to have more cultural significance for weddings which is why both brides and grooms opt for traditional pieces. For most Indian weddings, grooms choose pieces that have a more traditional design with intricate floral patterns, animal motifs, or mythical creatures. And while kundan and jadau remain a popular choice for weddings, people are mixing it up with a combination of diamonds and other fine jewels, which adds a touch of modernity to the traditional pieces.
These can easily be recycled for other weddings as well as festive occasions and remain the simplest way to dress up an outfit, a secret that women have been in on forever. While most pieces of wedding jewellery can only be worn on one’s wedding day, some of the jewellery brands have created pieces that can be re-worn without looking outlandish. These include more minimal pieces like chains, bracelets, rings and even brooches and lapel pins which can go with any formal outfit, western or ethnic, making for a great occasional look.