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Home > Indian Costume Jewellery > Anklets

AnkletA broad term for jewellery for the ankles. Most anklets are approximately 9.5 inches in length. Anklets may be flexible or solid (bangles) in design. Anklets may be entirely silver or gold or a gemstone, pearl or design can be used to decorate it. Beautiful diamond or sapphire anklets can cost several thousand dollars. However, unique sterling silver anklets with antique or modern designs are available for under one hundred dollars.

Gone are the days when the tinkling of ankle bells indicated the presence of a newly wed bride, as she moved around the house. Fifteen years ago, anklets had become a fashion accessory and today, they are making strong style statements, defining the attitude of the wearer, maintains Anjana Sarin.

ANKLETS come in varying shapes and sizes. From the traditional and rather delicate silver and gold chains, they have developed into beautiful threaded and beaded versions in wood, crystals, semi-precious stones and seashells.

While a starlet like Raima Sen might sport a simple gold chain-and-bell variety on her left foot, veejay Shenaz Treasurywala walks around with half-a-dozen beaded anklets on both feet. The trend, however, according to most designers, is to wear five different anklets on one foot!

"Weve come a long way from the simple silver chain," says Kiran Uttam Ghosh, who designs chunky wooden beaded anklets and is now experimenting with coconut coir. "The more esoteric the anklet is, the more eye-catching it is. Why, even tattooed anklets are a rage these days!"

Payal Singhal remembers that the anklets she had designed for her graduation fashion show had turned out to be a winner. "I recall, for a cigarette pant ensemble, I used this chunky kara-like anklet in silver. It looked absolutely outstanding!"

"I have done fitted anklets, which are bands of gold with stones suspended," informs Mumbais celebrity jewellery designer. "Usually, they are diamonds. These are worn a little low so that they can be visible. Besides, we have worked on anklets of hand-woven gold which look like lace and cover the feet."

Ideally, an anklet needs to be at least two or three inches larger than the ankle size, so that the beads, bells and other embellishments fall right under the anklebone. But then, there are exceptions - depending upon the outfit or footwear it must match with and the comfort of the wearer.

For those with a taste for the traditional, the oldest and most popular design used to be the paizeb. It consisted of rings of silver and was set with a fringe of spherical belts. Research indicates that women of Babylon wore such anklets in the seventh and eighth centuries B.C.In India, the most ornate and elaborate set of anklets, as described in mythological literature, was called the jhanjhaar. Usually reserved for wearing as part of a bridal trousseau, it covered the entire foot and was attached by hooks to toe rings.
According to designer Sanaya Deshmukh, anklets can define the look a wearer wants to project. "For an ethnic look, opt for the heavy oxidised variety with bells," she advises. "If it is something modern, go for beads and diamante. And if you are looking for casual chic, then tattoos look quite neat."

Going by current trends, the hottest numbers are single strings of beads and threads woven together. That apart, strands of iridescent beads, Swarovski crystals and chains studded with coloured gemstones like pink tourmalines, orange onyx and blue turquoise are very popular.Singhal points out that threaded anklets are also catching up in popularity for their tribal look. "Threaded anklets are basically like friendship bands and woven in different patterns.

While coloured threads are common, one can also find these in jute and coir."Then there are options like bead anklets in various colours, woven in different ways with wires or in a bangle form. Silver anklets in a thin chain formed with charms shaped as hearts, bells or stars, as well as the regular leaf and mango motifs are also for a casual look.

On a more ornate level, toe anklets are just the things to wear on formal occasions. These have loops that go around the toes and look quite cool. For something more elaborate, there are the full-foot slave anklets, which are essentially mesh bibs of bells and links that serve as a shoe, minus the sole.What has, however, taken many designers by surprise is the mounting popularity of anklets in gold - a metal Indians have traditionally regarded as auspicious (representative of Goddess Lakshmi) and would not normally allow their feet to touch.

But then, with the rising demand for Swarovski crystals, diamonds and such other precious stones, anklet designers are left with no other metal that can match the dignity of gold. Some like Soni and Singhal had experimented with silver for a while, but have now reverted to gold.In fact, many are using white gold rather than silver!

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