GOLD OPEN WORKED BANGLES
India, Rajasthan, Bikaner, 19th century
A set of 6 20 krt gold open worked bangles. The edge of the larger pair is set with white sapphires and emeralds, or alternately with a work of closely knit pearls, moti jali. The four smaller bangles are decorated with open worked poppy flowers, set with small pearls and an emerald bead in the centre.
These bangles are an example of one of many typical wedding ornaments. No single ornament, however, serves this purpose throughout the Indian subcontinent, as, for instance, the wedding ring does in the West.
If an imaginary line is drawn between northern and south India, it can be said that to the north of this division marriage symbol ornaments are worn on the head, nose, wrist and toes; and to the south they are worn suspended from the neck. All the matrimonial ornaments and jewellery have the basic function of protecting against evil spirits
The forms of jewellery and ornaments also indicate the wearer’s geographical place of origin, religion and also caste.
In some areas, the primary marriage symbol ornament must be of gold, a metal considered to be ritually pure and sacred to the gods.
Untracht, Oppi Traditional Jewelry of India, page 180, ill.354