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An Insight into the Exotic and Unique Style of Coorg Jewellery

Traditional Coorg jewellery is inspired by nature. Weddings, festivals and important days see women dressed in finery that is unique to Coorg. If you are a traditional jewellery ‘connoisseur’, add this one to your collection. Here’s what makes it so

Nestled in Southwestern Karnataka, the Kodagu district or Coorg is home to the unique Coorg jewellery. A small town that has an agricultural economy and vast coffee estates, Coorg has immense natural beauty and lush green mountains. Coorg is also a rich source of natural resources like Timber and Spices.

Coming to the culture, apart from the traditional Coorg jewellery, this place is also very well known for its unique way of draping a Saree.  Unlike the usual style, Coorgi women pleat the Saree at the back and the Pallu is draped across the front in a unique way and kept in place with a brooch. In fact, the Saree brooch is also a big part of what makes Coorg jewellery so different and beautiful.

All women drape the Saree in the traditional way; especially on special occasions and accessorise with traditional Coorg jewellery. Coorgi women wear silk sarees in bold and vibrant colours and include traditional Coorg jewellery like layered necklaces, the Saree brooch, earrings and gold bangles. Brides add Haath Phool, anklets, toe rings and multiple-stringed head chains as part of their bridal Coorg jewellery.

What is Coorg Jewellery?

Coorg jewellery is different, unique and not like other styles of jewellery. But what makes it different and what is it?

Coorg jewellery is traditional Gold jewellery that is inspired by nature. Flowers, animals and other elements of nature inspire the designs of Coorg jewellery. Coorg jewellery is also made with pure Silver, using the same designs and natural elements. Choker and long chained necklaces, big pendants with coloured stone, traditional Jhumkas, coloured bangles, elaborate Haath Phools and anklets with chains attaching to the toe rings and Saree brooches.

It is made using a special metalworking technique that is shaped by hammering on the reverse. Coorg jewellery is hollow and handcrafted. Most pieces are filled with wax to give it shape and make it solid. The traditional Coorg jewellery is termed as Kadagas or bangles, and necklaces that are characterized as Kokkethathi, Pathak, Joomale and Paunch; depending on the design and style of the necklace.

Let’s take a closer look at different kinds of Coorg Jewellery and their unique elements:

1. Kadagas (Bangles)

Kadagas are hollow Gold bangles that clasp around the wrist. These could be single, double or triple bands of gold and decorated with Rubies. Brides usually wear the traditional Kadags with colourful metal or glass bangles.

2. Necklace

Coorg necklace designs are inspired by nature including flowers, the Sun and the Moon, stars, fruits and animals. The different styles are:

  • Pathak: Pathak necklace has a large Gold coin engraved with Goddess Lakshmi and enhanced with rubies and with a serpent design on top. It also has dangling pearls with a black glass beads strand that has Gold and coral beads.
  • Kokkethati: It is a crescent-shaped pendant, decorated with rubies and pearls. It has a hollow gold beads chain attached to it. The pendant is also engraved with a sitting Goddess Lakshmi, birds and a cobra.
  • Jomale: It is a black string with hollow Gold beads that are grooved. This is a necessary part of a bride’s bridal jewellery.
  • Paunch: It has small gold grains that are artistically strung together in rows of two or three.

3. Jhumkis (Earrings)

Coorg jewellery is inspired by Carnatic artwork and the earrings, called Jhumkis, are single or multiple inverted Gold umbrella motifs that are enhanced with rubies and pearls.

4. Chained Ankle and Hand Coorg jewellery

Usually worn by Brides, the chained wrist jewellery is a bangle with attached chains that join with the rings on each finger. The traditional chained anklet is also similar but usually made in Silver. The chains attach the anklet to toe rings with multiple chains. Here’s how the traditional Coorg jewellery for the feet looks like:

Coorg jewellery is a true work of craftsmanship. Traditional handmade Coorg jewellery is elegant and evergreen and looks graceful with all kinds of Indian ethnic wear. Whether you are from Coorg or someone who appreciates traditional styles of Indian jewellery, this is one style you definitely want to add to your collection. If nothing else, do check out the traditional Coorg Saree brooch that can make a traditional, fusion as well as modern statement.

Would you bring home a traditional Coorg jewellery ornament? Tell us through comments.