For married Hindu women, the mangalsutra is probably the most personal and prized piece of jewelry. Though essentially it is simply a thin chain with a dangling pendant, it is still one of her most important possessions because of its religious and cultural significance. In fact the word mangalsutra means auspicious thread in Sanskrit, indicating its importance in the wedding rituals. It is tied around the wife’s neck by the husband during the ceremony and thereafter has to be worn (whether visible or not) around her neck at all times. It identifies her as a married woman and is a symbol of the loving relationship between her and her spouse. It is even supposed to protect the wellbeing of the family.
It is easy to understand why women, even those who are not very religious, choose to make this auspicious necklace a part of their life. Many women today, however, don’t just look upon the mangalsutra as a cultural necessity. They also see it as a subtle but clever way to accessorize their daily wear look. To answer this demand, many new types of mangalsutra patterns have come in the market. Many of them retain elements of the traditional design, such as the use of black beads, gold discs and small hoops for attaching the pendant to the chain. Of course, there are many variations even in the traditional category as women in different parts of the country wear different types of mangalsutra patterns. Trendy or modern versions of all the regional designs are available, from the black and gold Punjabi chain to the south Indian variations made of dyed threads.
One of the reasons women opt for more modern or trendy mangalsutra over the traditional designs is because the latter can be more easily melded into type of wardrobe. Thus working professionals wearing a predominantly western wardrobe will opt for a lighter, more elegant design without a large pendant attached. Even those who are used to wearing ethnic wear might prefer a thin chain in neutral colors and designs rather than a heavy, multi-chain design.
On the other hand, for many women, the mangalsutra patterns reflect their own personal style and tastes. They may prefer more flamboyant necklaces with large gold pendants, diamond studded chains and intricate designs. A designer mangalsutra is the preferred option for those who want to bring in a bit of glamour and luxury in their daily wardrobe without giving up on the class and comfort. These are thoughtfully and artistically designed to look elegant and chic, and can be shown-off as an accessory as well.
Whether it is a designer mangalsutra or a traditional one, the options available in terms of designs and patterns are tremendous. For a woman in today’s world, the mangal sutra can be as much a fashion accessory as a religious artifact. With some artful styling, she can even make the mangalsutra the center piece of her look!