A celebration of love and commitment, marriage is honored all over the world by many different cultures. When it comes to weddings, jewelry plays a very significant role in the traditions and customs surrounding this special ceremony, with a wedding ring acting as a universal symbol of love and unity.
For many cultures, a wedding isn’t complete without the addition of beautiful jewelry. Wedding rings and bridal jewelry can be found in many different designs and are worn in a variety of different ways throughout the world. Read further to learn about meaningful bridal accessories from around the globe.
"Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" is a traditional American rhyme for what a bride should wear to her wedding for good luck. Wearing an old item symbolizes protection, while the new item represents optimism for the future. An item borrowed from another family member or close friend provides good luck, and "something blue" is worn to ward off evil spirits. The color blue represents love, purity, and fidelity, three important qualities for an everlasting marriage.
In the United States, brides traditionally wear pearl jewelry on their special day. It is believed that wearing pearls on your wedding day will ensure a lifetime of happiness with your future spouse. Traditionally, a strand of pearls is passed from one generation to the next to be worn by the bride on her wedding day. Pearl jewelry is often worn as the bride’s something old, new, or borrowed item. Pearls are considered ideal wedding gifts because they symbolize purity and innocence.
An Add-A-Pearl cultured pearl necklace is a great way to continue the tradition of bestowing pearls upon the bride. Not only is it a meaningful gift for a bride, but it can also make the most perfect bridesmaid gift.
In Algeria, the largest Arab country in the world, society revolves around religion and the religious customs of Islam. Marriage in Algeria is taken very seriously and is considered a sign of maturity. Algerians believe that the more money spent on the wedding, the prouder the family will be. Traditional wedding ceremonies in Algeria are one of the most beautiful ceremonies in the world.
Baroque pearl necklaces, earrings, and all sorts of jewels are essential wedding day jewelry accessories worn on the bride’s head and chest as a symbol of protection. Most of these bridal jewelry pieces are passed down through the family. In Algerian culture, every bride looks like a royal queen on her wedding day, so those who can’t afford luxurious jewelry and accessory pieces borrow them for their special day.
A Greek Orthodox wedding is an exciting ceremony rooted in culture and tradition. The ceremony consists of two parts: the blessing of the rings and the crowning of the bride and groom.
The exchange and blessing of wedding rings is the first part of a Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony. For Greek Orthodox believers, the right hand symbolizes the establishment of truth and the source of strength. Brides and grooms proudly wear their wedding rings on their right hands as a symbol of power and commitment. Simple, gold bands serve as traditional wedding rings for Greek couples.
The second part of the ceremony is the crowning, when the bride and groom are crowned king and queen of their kingdom. The crowns, known as “stefana,” signify the special bond between the couple and symbolize the glory and honor that is bestowed upon them by God. The tradition of having a crowning ceremony began in ancient times, and the crown’s materials have changed significantly throughout history. The first wedding crowns were made from olive branches and lemon blossoms. Today, stefana are made from various materials such as porcelain and crystal, pearls and crystal, and a range of different metals.
On this special day, brides accessorize their wedding gowns with beautiful jewelry. Traditionally, the bride and groom are gifted gold jewelry from each other’s families as a dowry and as symbols of family welcoming. In Chinese culture, gifting gold jewelry to the bride represents genuine wishes for a happy marriage.
Nine is an important number representing longevity and eternity. This number is often incorporated into romantic gestures. A common wedding gift within Chinese culture is the nine treasures wedding box. This special box is usually gifted to the bride by the bride’s family. The nine treasures wedding box consists of nine meaningful items for the bride to begin her new chapter in life.
Dragon and phoenix motifs are a must-have in Chinese weddings. These motifs can be seen embroidered on traditional Chinese wedding gowns or decorated in gold jewelry. The dragon and phoenix together represent harmony and balance. Dragon and phoenix bangles are a common bridal accessory worn as a wish for everlasting love and a happy marriage.
The Gold Pig necklace is a traditional piece of wedding jewelry worn for good luck. In Chinese culture, pigs represent prosperity, abundance and fertility. A gold pig necklace is one of the most popular bridal jewelry pieces in Chinese culture.
Indian weddings are some of the most lavish ceremonies in the world, celebrated with bright colors and heaps of beautiful jewelry. Indian brides are adorned from head to toe with the most beautiful jewelry pieces. On this special day, the jewelry worn by the bride carries spiritual and cultural significance. Traditional Indian jewelry typically consists of gold, as gold was a symbol of wealth and status. Today, brides might incorporate platinum and silver jewelry pieces into their bridal looks. Traditions, trends, and personal taste all play a role in how the bride chooses the pieces she will wear on her wedding day. Essential bridal pieces consist of anklets, bangles, earrings, rings, necklaces, nose rings, waistbands, and maang tikkas. Nose rings, or naths, and maang tikkas are distinctive pieces of Indian bridal jewelry. The maang tikka is a symbol of marriage and is centered on the bride’s forehead at the part of her hair to complement the shape of her face.
Indonesia is made up of a large group of islands and a multitude of different tribes, each with its own distinctive traditional jewelry. Indonesian traditional jewelry is an important part of events and special occasions, especially for weddings. Traditional Indonesian weddings are quite expensive. The bride’s dress and jewelry are made of precious metals and stones and are kept as a family heirloom. In West Sumatra, brides wear a ceremonial headdress on the wedding day. The ceremonial bridal headdress is elaborately decorated and made from pure gold. Both the bride and groom wear luxurious, traditional clothing that's typically embroidered with gold and sequins.
The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish Celtic symbol representing friendship, true love, and loyalty. For centuries, couples exchanged this ring as an engagement or wedding ring. The classic Claddagh design features two hands that hold a heart topped with a crown. The way someone wears the ring reveals their relationship status. When worn on the right hand with the heart facing inward, the ring indicates that the person is in a relationship and that their heart is taken. When its heart faces outward and is worn on the right hand, the ring signifies that their heart is open. When the Claddagh ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer is engaged or in a long-term partnership. When worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward, the ring indicates that the wearer is married.
Kenya is made up of a variety of different tribes, and each tribe has its own traditions and practices for weddings. The Kikuyu tribe is the largest tribe in Kenya. This tribe is recognized for using colorful beads on their accessories and known for their large hoop earrings, or Hangi earrings. Kenyan women heavily accessorize their ears as they are known to have multiple ear piercings. In a traditional Kenyan wedding, brides wear a Dinka, or a bead corset. The Dinka is made up of colorful beads often adorned with shells or silver coins. The beautiful beaded corset was said to lure the attention of the groom.
A tea ceremony typically takes place a few weeks or months before a traditional Vietnamese wedding. During the tea ceremony, it was customary for the groom’s parents to present the bride with wedding jewelry. In the past, the jewelry gifted was made of high-karat yellow gold and consisted of a thick necklace, a bangle bracelet, and diamond or crystal drop earrings. Today, most modern day parents aren’t going to insist on buying those exact traditional jewelry items. The same thick necklace and drop earrings are still common wedding gifts - but in the bride’s choice of metal.
What do you think of these unique wedding jewelry traditions? Do you wish that your culture celebrated any of them? We're partial to pearls for weddings and recommend choosing an Add-A-Pearl necklace for your upcoming nuptials or as a special gift for a bride to be. This story from our customer Jerelyn demonstrates how pearls can add even more meaning to a bride's wedding day. To build your own necklace, visit this page.