Fashion & Beauty

Traditional South Indian Jewelry Series # 1 – Timeless & Classic Kasu Mala

By TGB Desk / On November 20th, 2017

Indian women have always had a penchant for jewelry and a bias for all things sparkly. And why not, in olden days, Indian sub-continent referred to as ‘Ratna-garbha’ (literally meaning ‘belly of jewels and gemstones’) has been a treasure trove of precious stones. In India, The craft of jewelry making has evolved into an art form. There are two styles of jewelry in India, one that sparkles in the homes of North India and the one that glitters in the realms of South India.

The traditional south Indian jewelry has had an interesting journey from sanctum sanctorum of temples to the bridal trousseau trunks. Starting today, we want to regularly share history, facts, legends and stories of the important ornaments with you.

PC – Zero Gravity Photography

Today we are doing a feature on an ornament that’s an all-time favorite of South Indian women – Kasu Mala!

Kasu Mala

PC – Vows By Siddhu Soma

Gold coin necklace (called ‘Kasula peru’ in Telugu and ‘Kasu malai’ in Tamil) is trending for quite some time now and we are just loving it. Over the past year, we found quite a few celebrities and South Indian brides sporting Kasu mala. Are you planning to don this beautiful necklace on your wedding day too? Great! We have pulled together some gorgeous pictures for your inspiration. But before that, how about a little history to put things in perspective?

What is Kasu Mala?

For those of you who aren’t sure, Kasu Mala literally means coin necklace. In South India, ‘Kasu’ (pronounced as Kaasu) means coin and ‘mala’ means necklace. Usually the gold coins are strung together using a gold cord and is worn around the neck as a neckpiece. The coins are so closely strung that they overlap one another.

PC – Neeta Shankar Photography

History

It is said that the origins of coin necklace can be traced back to Vedic period and there has been a mention about it in Rig Veda too. But back then, it was called ‘Nishka’. As per historians, gold coin necklace is popular during the reign of Andhra Ikshvakus as well. The Kasu necklace can be seen in the sculptures of Amaravati.

PC – Minchu Studio

Psst…On a different note, do you know that it is believed that the English word ‘Cash’ could have been derived from the Dravidian word ‘Kasu’? No? Now you know!

Lakshmi Kasu Mala

Lakshmi Kasu mala or a gold coin necklace with Goddess Lakshmi embossed on each coin is considered very auspicious and is believed that Goddess Mahalakshmi blesses the wearer and her household with prosperity and wealth. This necklace is popular with women of all age groups and the length of the necklace varies depending on the age of the wearer. And it was almost mandatory for the brides, who are considered as the manifestation of Lakshmi herself, to wear Lakshmi Kasu mala on her wedding day.

PC – RVR PRO

A few other motifs that are found on Kasu malas are Ram Durbar and Ganesh Lakshmi.

Designer Kasu Mala

Haven’t we all seen our grandmothers wear simple gold Lakshmi Kasu mala? The said Kasu mala has come a long way over the years. Like everything else, Kasu mala has also evolved. We now have different options to cater to different tastes of the brides – Kasu mala with a pendant, encrusted with precious stones, double layered and choker style.

We have rounded up pictures of some brides who chose to wear designer Kasu mala on their wedding day and looked absolutely stunning –

Kasu mala with a pendant | PC – The Click By Teja Sagiraju

 

Multi layered Necklace including Kasu mala | PC – Ankit Satya Photography

 

Kasu mala with a regular pendant and two side pendants | PC – RVR PRO

 

Kasula peru (with huge coins) encrusted with Rubies | PC – Ashwin Kireet Photography

Double layered Kasu mala | PC – UM Pictures India

And there you have it! We have included all the details and inspiration you need in case you want to include Kasu mala in your jewelry box.

We at TGB HQ, are swooning over the traditional Kasula peru with huge coins and encrusted with kemp (ruby) stones. We want to know which one is your favorite style. Do let us know.

Have a great week ahead!!

Stay Happy!!!

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