There are just some things that go together perfectly. Peanut butter and jelly, ice cream and chocolate sauce, and jewelry and weddings. That's right, no bride is complete without her wedding jewelry for her big day. After all, it's not everyday that we get to dress up in a white dress and get our hair and makeup done, so we can't forget the all-important step of jewelry too. The same goes for jewelry and weddings in other cultures, though we can't necessarily say the same for the food pairings. We've put together different cultures' take on bridal jewelry.
Whether you are having a blended wedding or simply trying to honor your heritage, knowing different cultures' take on bridal jewelry can expand your jewelry desires and open a whole new door of looks for your big day.
- Irish: In Ireland, the Claddagh Ring is a design that features a heart held by two hands, with a crown on top, and each has special symbolism. This is traditionally used as a ring of commitment between two lovers, and it is worn on the left hand when in a serious relationship. This is a wonderful jewelry piece to add to your big day if either you or your groom are of Irish heritage.
- Native American: There were many pieces of jewelry worn, with the main color being turquoise, as it offers protection. These pieces were worn by both the bride and the groom, however the most important item was the concho, which is a belt common in the Zuni and Navajo tribes. It is made of braided leather, featuring round or oval pieces of silver and turquoise gemstones. The stones are displayed in certain patterns and groups, and actually tell a story about the creator. This was a very important part of the wedding ceremony, as this was passed down from generation to generation. Furs, feathers, and thick beaded necklaces were also popular wedding jewelry for their big day.
- Indian: Jewelry is huge in this culture, especially on a wedding day. The bride is covered from head to toe with precious metals on her wedding day, with at least 16 different jewelry pieces, including a bandhi, earrings, necklaces, toe rings, anklets, rings, and bangles. The bangles must be worn in an uneven number to ward off bad luck, and all of the jewelry is meant to bring prosperity and protection to her household, as well as symbolize her official transition into a new role as wife. The final piece is an ivory bangle that is given to her from her family right before the wedding.
- Chinese: Tradition is exceptionally important in China, especially when it comes to weddings. The bride wears a red dress paired with a gold crown, and after the wedding ceremony there is a tea ceremony where she is presented with gold jewelry, and the bride must wear it right away to ensure good fortune. Jade is also one of the most popular stones given, as it symbolizes grace, morality, protection, and familial love. A bride will often be given a gold piece of jewelry with jade inlaid in it on her wedding day.
Of course, here in America you are more likely to go for clear or colored jewelry, with your white gown. For some brides, they wear simple jewelry that is chosen months in advance, while others go all out and really play up the jewelry to offset their dress. There aren't as many traditions about receiving jewelry, though you will likely give your bridesmaids a piece of jewelry for them to wear on the big day, as well as potentially a gift for the mother of the bride and mother of the groom.
All of these cultures show a beautiful way to celebrate this next chapter in life. Whether you are trying to combine different cultures into a beautiful mixed wedding or you are going to fully stick with one culture, we can only imagine how beautiful the jewelry pieces will be, and how they will complete the bridal look.