BEADWORK: ORIGIN, HISTORY AND CURRENT TRENDS

The use of beads in designing clothing is as old as human history. Initially, beads were used as curative agents, good luck charms and talismans in religious rituals. Today, the art of beadwork has taken a firm footing in traditional and Indo-Western fashions. Beautiful beadwork can be seen in both loom and off-loom lacing such as stringing, bead crochet, bead knitting and bead embroidery.

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History and Origin of Beadwork
The use of beadwork embroidery can be traced prior to the Ice Age. During this time, beads were made from egg shells, sea shells and seeds. In Iraq, archaeologists have unearthed 5,000 year old tombs of human skeletons wearing intricately stitched beaded headdresses. Similarly in Europe, human burials were unearthed that displayed linen and wool embellished by bone needles.

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From the period of Kings, Queens and empires, pearls were the dominant ‘bead’ used in decoration. Apart from ornamental wear, pearls were used in a variety of home furnishings as well such as table cloths, curtains and napkins. With the introduction of fine-toothed needles, embroidery was also incorporated with beadwork. Some of the stitches used with beads include the back stich, chain stich, herringbone stitch, single stitch, the crouching stitch and cross stitch.

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In the Middle Ages, beadwork was considerably used to embellish fancy boxes, pictures, shoes and purses. During festive occasions such as holidays, weddings and parties, members of the royal family and nobility were often dressed in clothing adorned with rhinestones, pearls and other fancy beadwork. This trend was brought over from Persia by the Mughals and has remained till this day.

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Current Trends
Today, there is not a single saree, lehenga choli, salwar kameez or any other form of Indian attire that does not contain some form of beadwork. It has become an inherent part of Indian fashion. This fancy beadwork is also noticeable on bags, purses, footwear and most notably, jewelry.

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Hand embroidered beadwork continues to be an essential component of Indian handicraft culture. It’s fine craftsmanship and finish is hallmark of our rich culture.

Image result for BEADWORK lehenga choli wearing bollywood

The use of beadwork has a global presence as well. It is often seen on haute couture garments produced by famous fashion houses such as Karl Lagerfeld, Marchesa and Chanel.

To buy your lehenga choli or saree featuring exquisite handmade, beadwork, visit Indian Wedding Saree.

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THE INDIAN CHOODI: SIGNIFICANCE AND CULTURAL PRACTICES

The choodi or bangles are traditional jewellery ornaments worn by women in India. Moradabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of bangles. It is considered an auspicious adornment for married women. The wearing of bangles can occur at any age, but it is when a woman is getting married that the choodi plays a significant role. Nearly every state in India regards bangles with importance.

bangles online

There are many types of bangles. The glass variety are the most popular. There are also lac bangles which are an older variety. They are not commonly worn because of their brittle texture. Metal bangles, especially those made from silver, gold and copper are worn as well.

online bangles

The History and Origin of Bangles
Bangles have been excavated from several ancient archaeological sites across India. Contrary to today, women from residing in earlier civilizations wore bangles made from a variety of materials such as bronze, sea shells, copper, chalcedony and agate. This centuries old ornament was always worn in in pairs on each arm.

Today, glass and lac bangles are worn the most. During weddings and especially for the bride, glass bangles are mostly preferred.

Choodis online

Various Cultural Practices

Punjab – In Punjabi culture, there is a ‘chooda ceremony’. The maternal uncle of the bride-to-be presents her with a set of white and red bangles that have elaborate stonework on them. These bangles are not seen by the bride until the day the ceremony is held.

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Odissa and West Bengal – In these states, Hindu women wear a pair of white and red bangles on each wrist. This is called ‘Shankha Pola’. The white is made from conch shell while the red bangle is crafted from lac or coral. Unmarried Bengali girls wear the ‘Bengali Bangle’. It is made from bronze and is covered by a thin gold strip.

West Bengal Bangles

Gujarat – In Gujarati marriage traditions, the bride can only take the seven rounds around the fire after she has worn the ivory bangle given to her by her family.

Gujarat bangles

Rajasthan – The bride’s hands are adorned with 52 ivory bangles called the ‘hathi daant ki churi’, as well as yellow, red, white, green and gold bangles.

rajasthani bangles

Maharasthra – Glass bangles are considered auspicious in Marathi culture. The bride wears green bangles on her wedding day.

Maharashtrian bangles

The wearing of choodis or bangles is an important aspect of Indian culture. To view our exclusive collection of choodis, visit Indian Wedding Saree.