The love for gold and stunning gold jewellery design has always been a part of the culture in the little south Indian state of Kerala. Indian gold jewellery is not just considered a statement of fashion but also a perfect long-term investment.
Even after several centuries, the traditional jewellery of Kerala continues to be the most preferred choice at weddings, festivals and auspicious occasions, especially so in South India. The purity of the gold jewellery, the elegant gold jewellery design, and the incredible craftsmanship are the major reasons behind the demand for the traditional gold jewellery of Kerala both within and outside India.
Some of the most popular South Indian gold jewellery styles that are timeless in fashion are:
- Mulla Mottu Mala
- Kasu/Lakshmi Mala
- Manga Mala
- Palakka Mala
Palakka Mala: The Origin
This design is one piece of traditional jewellery that has always been more popular than the other jewellery styles.
- There are speculations that the Palakka Mala was worn during the times of Shri Krishna.
- This was during the Dwapara Yuga.
- It has often been part of the outfits of women in Kerala be it a set Mundu, Pattu Paavada and blouse (A full-length skirt and blouse made in silk), Kerala Saree, and Silk Saree for centuries.
- The design gets its name from the tree called ‘Pala’.
- The distinctive feature of a Palakka Mala are its lockets that are shaped like leaves (Pala leaves), inlaid with green stones or glass.
- Coloured stones/glass are set in a base of pure gold giving a look of grandeur to the necklace.
- Most of these necklaces have a pendant that is bigger at the centre. However, the gold jewellery design may vary slightly from one necklace to the other.
- The pendants are usually circular but are available in different shapes and designs.
- The Palakka mala also has a few pale red coloured stones or rubies that are inlaid to give a slight contrast to the green colour and to create a balance.
Palakka Mala also comes in different types where the traditional leaf-shaped pendants are replaced with other shapes like:
- Mango shaped pendants
- Pendants shaped like the hood of a serpent
- Oval shaped pendants
- Pendants shaped like a rice-flake or ‘aval’
- Pendant shaped like the nails of a tiger
Apart from the traditional green and red/pink ones, these necklaces are also available in other colours including dark blue and deep red.
This piece comes in different styles. They are:
The Traditional Necklace
- The original design is long and heavy.
- Can be worn for a special event/wedding.
The Small And Delicate
- A smaller version.
- A gold chain with a few smaller pendants surrounding one big pendant at the centre.
- A modern version of the design with a single pendant on a gold chain.
- Can be worn with casual outfits.
Pairing It With Outfits
- The jewellery can be worn as a statement necklace along with any traditional Indian outfit for women depending on its colour.
- This piece works well with the traditional set Mundu or Kerala Saree as the emerald green coloured leaves brightens up the pale white colours.
- It can also be worn along with a combination of other South Indian gold jewellery for a wedding.
The traditional Palakka Mala is much heavier and expensive because of the solid stone and gold settings. Lighter necklaces that are much affordable are available today.
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