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A Desi Bride’s Guide to Wedding Jewelry

May 30, 2010

Photography by Farnaz K Studio

Out of all the things you spend money on during your wedding, your jewelry is the only investment, which will have worth even after your wedding (that and hopefully your spouse). Therefore in both instances, it is of crucial importance that you select something valuable, that you really love and are prepared to live with for a long, long time to come.

It would probably look bad if I started this post saying that I’m quite clueless about jewelry … So ….err I wont.  But I will confess I was never comfortable wearing real gold. Maybe it was the insecurity of living in Karachi or maybe it was because I almost lost my moms gold necklace at 13 and that kind of put the fear of God (and Gold) in me. Either way I ended up not really paying attention to real ‘bling bling’ (yes I enjoy saying that) till about a week ago when I decided that writing on the topic would make for a good blog post.

As it turns out it’s virtually impossible to find any decent information on desi bridal jewelry online. So just for you, my precious readers, I have done a whole lot of due diligence and have come up with the 8 steps that will lead you to buying your ideal wedding jewelry. If you’re anything like me and haven’t been paying attention in life, or wonder how other desi girls seem to know so daymn much about jewelry, follow these steps and trust me, no one will be the wiser.

1. First Things First

It’s important to get your jewelry shopping out of the way before anything else. It’s a pretty straightforward concept that its easier to get your outfit made to complement your jewelry rather than the other way round. (I’d pick a ready-made jewelry design any day, over a ready-made wedding outfit).  In fact most designers prefer to take a look at your jewelry before they start work on your clothes.

2. Do Your Homework

Before buying your jewelry set/s make sure to go through the leading fashion and wedding magazines and websites, as well as your friends’ and relatives’ wedding pictures so that you have an idea of what’s out there and what you’re partial to. Jewelry pieces and styles often look very different in displays than they do worn on people. Pick out your favorite styles by pulling out pages, photocopying or taking print outs from websites so that you’re certain of your likes and dislikes.

3. Decide What You Can Afford

It always helps to fix the budget in advance. The amount you pay for a piece of jewelry will include two factors. The first is the price of the actual gold and gems and the second is the making; design and the craftsmanship. Reputable stores and jewelers will always offer a buy-back guarantee, which you should insist on.

4. Find a Trusted Jeweler

With the central role that jewelry playing in the lives of desi women, chances are that your mother, grandmother or aunt will already have a reliable jeweler that they have been going to for years. In that case, stick with him (your mom probably knows best). If, however, you don’t have such resources at hand, I would suggest going for a known jeweler with an excellent, long-standing reputation. The value of jewelry, especially gold and stones is something that can only be identified by a trusted expert. With all the money you’re going to be spending on your wedding, the last thing you want is to end up buying jewelry that’s not worth what you spent on it.

It may be fashionable to buy your jewelry from hip, new “designers”, however, just because a designer tells you a piece is 18K gold and the diamonds are top quality, doesn’t necessarily mean they are. Less scrupulous sellers may put a high karat mark on a low-karat piece; a practice called under-karating. ALWAYS get your jewelry appraised to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

5. Select the Design

The decision between traditional and modern designs can be a tough one. Many brides get the best of both worlds by going for something traditional on their shaadi and something modern on their valima. Either way choose designs that are elegant and timeless. Contemporary designs can be beautiful, but its no good if ‘contemporary’ means fashionable only till next summer.

All women want to wear unique jewelry, especially on their wedding day. Many jewelry stores guarantee the exclusivity of their designs, which is something you should be aware about before you make the purchase. There is no harm is asking women whose style you admire for their recommendations. Recent brides who have been through the process will be able to refer you to reliable jewelers and stylish designs.

6. Love Your Set

It may be tempting to go all out and buy the biggest, flashiest set because it’s your wedding jewelry after all. But lets be practical here, you don’t want to spend all that money and then have your jewelry sitting pretty in a locker because its way too huge and flamboyant to be appropriate for anything other than your own wedding. That’s not to say that you should only select subtle minute pieces, of course not. Just think of the jewelry beyond the context of just the wedding. You should love, love, LOVEE your wedding jewelry to the extent that you see yourself wearing it at other occasions for years to come; it is your wedding jewelry after all.

7. Mix and Match

South Asian brides get to wear multitude of different pieces of jewelry on their wedding; earrings, bangles, necklaces (yes multiple at times), a teeka, jhoomar, and even a nath. However, its important not to go over board piling on too many pieces all at once; you want to look glamorous, not tacky. And remember not everything you wear has to be matched to perfection. Choose pieces that look extraordinary together but can also be worn separately and look fabulous. It isn’t essential for everything to match, just for all elements should work in harmony with your outfit and complement it. If you can see yourself wearing your wedding jewelry separately and at several different types of occasions then you have done a great job.

8. Vintage vs. Vogue

There’s not much I can say about wearing vintage jewelry. If you’re lucky enough to have your mother or grandmother’s jewelry then what better time to wear it than on your own wedding day. The emotional connection and feeling that comes from wearing pieces that are linked to your history can’t really be put into words, so I’m not even going to try. What I can talk about is your options incase your inherited jewels don’t match up to your tastes. One option is to mix up new and old pieces, to give them a more up-to-date look. Or if you aren’t particularly attached you other option, is to sell the pieces (to a trusted jeweler) in exchange for something more to your liking, that you will love and wear often.


When it comes to buying jewelry for a wedding, the whole ordeal can often turn into a family affair with parents, siblings and extended family taking a keen interest in the selection and putting in their two cents. I’m sure they all have experience, taste and know what they’re talking about, so you should defiantly take their advice on the matter. But here is the bottom line: it’s your wedding, it will be your jewelry, and you’re the one that has to wear it. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask questions. When you find something that instinctively ‘feels right’, go for it!

Hope I haven’t missed out anything…What are some of your all-time recommendations for jewelry shopping?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 9:28 pm

    love, Love LOVEE it!! Fantastic shopping tips for ANYONE buying their wedding jewelry, not just the desi bride. I find it interesting that you suggest buying the jewelry to go with the dress versus the other way around. Coming from a Western bridal perspective, its always been dress, then jewelry. But I love the idea of having your wedding attire customized for you based on the jewelry you love. Another great tip for brides of any decent.
    One more key to point out with Vintage jewelry, or inherited jewelry, is the idea of borrowing from Western Cultural traditions and adapting the “something old” tradition into your wedding, especially for multicultural brides. Another way to incorporate a piece you are exactly excited about is to re-purpose the item. For instance, if its the earring that aren’t quite up to par, have the jeweler reset the earrings into a necklace or a custom bracelet cuff. You could also thing about beautiful broaches to add to your bouquet wrap!

  2. June 9, 2010 8:08 pm

    With the rising prices of gold, I pity the poor parents. But I like the new trends where girls are going for more practical designs and even minimal gold too. They are more wearable as compared to the heavier sets that were in trend some 10-15 years back.

    Luckily, I had my mom’s very beautiful vintage set in reserve for me that I chose to wear on my wedding day. I even had the dress made to go with the set … hehe … and it went so well. Almost everyone praised the jewelry and the dress … but if someone is not that lucky and want to have something new made … I think Rani Haars look fantastic in vintage-typed jewelry. Something like this … and not lots of gold is needed to make it beautiful either … just some nice blend of gems would do :)

    These days, you won’t find many girls who are fond of wearing heavy jewelry … so for such girls the silver jewelry is a good option too. You’ll find awesome designs in it … like this one … you can easily get this kind of set in 10 K rs… so why go for lacs if the things can be worked out in thousands.

    ps: I’ve my eyes set on this emerald piece for so long … had one emerald piece made totally inspired by this .. hehe

  3. October 28, 2010 3:29 pm

    Not all diamond jewelry stores are the same so check reviews first before buying on a jewelry store”;

  4. Syed permalink
    March 17, 2016 9:55 pm

    My wife is in love with this necklace-

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