Indian jewelry art is at times divided into three kinds – temple jewelry, spiritual jewelry and bridal jewelry. Temple jewelry of India initially used to be described as the jewelry used to adorn the idols of Gods and Goddesses. The statues In India were ornamented with chunky necklaces that were either strung with beads or crafted with intricate filigree. Amongst the other ornaments that adorned statues of deities were large chunky bangles, usually studded with gems. In addition, earrings, nose rings and anklets were also used.
The jewelry used to adorn the idols was later worn by temple dancers and slowly, the designs became a part of the Indian woman’s bridal jewelry trousseau. Though the idols continued to be decorated with jewelry, a practice seen even today, the jewelry of Indian women also came be made on the pattern. Today, temple jewellery has become open of the most popular crafts of India. During festivals and occasions of worship of Gods, women wear temple jewelry, believed to be auspicious and offer good luck.
Jewelry items like pendants, bracelets, belts and brooches based on temple jewelry are very popular amongst women, during auspicious times, and wearing these is believed to bring fortuity to the person. The favorite design for pendants is that of Ganesha – the elephant headed god known to bestow good luck and good fortune. The other emblem, which is also, very much in demand, is that of the sacred syllable OM. These days, the temple jewelry of India is finding a flavor amongst foreigners too.
South Indian temples preserve a variety of jewelleries and even the foreign invasion could not make much loss of them. Most of these jewelleries were donated by the people to adorn the deities of the temples.
In South India, the Saivite temple jewelleries are divided into two broad categories-
The jewelleries offered to the main `Sivalinga` and Those offered to the subsidiary gods and goddesses.