You have a wedding coming up.
There is a lot to do: shopping clothes, selecting jewelry, finalizing the wedding venue, picking a photographer and more.
One of the most overlooked and uncoordinated aspects of an Indian wedding is choosing a mangalsutra.
Because the groom’s side of the family picks a mangalsutra. The bride is generally not consulted.
And now the bride is stuck with an important piece of wedding jewelry for the rest of her life.
I’m here to make your life a little bit easier and help you choose the right mangalsutra so that you can enjoy it and not store it in the bank safe.
I’ll walk you, step by step on how to choose a perfect mangalsutra. This is post is for anyone responsible for choosing a mangalsutra – father-in-laws, mother-in-laws, groom, aunties or the bride herself.
And as a bonus, I’ll share with you a special video that will exactly how you choose a perfect mangalsutra in 8 steps.
Step 1: Understand Your Cultural Requirements
Are you a Gujarati, Maharashtrian, South Indian or another rich Indian culture?
The people in each culture have different requirements based on cultural significance. So talk to your aunts, parents or in-laws to get their thoughts the cultural requirements.
But at the most basic level, mangalsutra is a simple black beaded chain that can go with a pendant of your choice.
Today many parents and in-laws are flexible when it comes to cultural requirements.
Below are the types of mangalsutras in different cultures.
Special mangalsutras styles like Dehjoor, Thali, Kathamani Pathak, Minnu will most probably be not available with all jewelers. You’ll have to find a jeweler who understands cultural jewelry and is able to find a traditional and authentic mangalsutra based on your culture.
It’s important to understand that certain aspects of a traditional mangalsutra are essential. Other aspects are optional. It’s the optional aspects that can be customized based on your style preference and personality.
Let’s look at an example together. For a Maharashtrian bride, two gold vattis are a very important piece of a mangalsutra; an essential requirement. But there are lots of opportunities to customize the chain and add accents to pendants in the form of gemstones or diamonds.
The possibilities are endless. Get the basic requirements right and then you can customize the rest according to your style and personality.
Step 2: Consider a Versatile Mangalsutra Design
Next, you want to choose a design that you can wear on non-traditional clothes such as jeans, dresses, and skirts as well.
If the design is too traditional. It will not go well with your office or casual wear.
With changing times, mangalsutra styles have evolved as well.
For example, go for a simple single chain mangalsutra that has a small diamond pendant with a modern touch to it.
If you are not fond of black beads, you can have a few black beads just in the front or just a few in the back. This will ensure the black beads are not overpowering your look.
Brides these days are a more open to not having beads at all after all this piece should be meaningful to you and should suit your personal style.
But you may ask, “What makes a mangalsutra design versatile?” There are three design principles that you should pay attention to.
- The overall size of the piece is not too big or not too petite. If the size is too large you will definitely not wear it on a daily basis.
- Pay attention to the shape of the pendant. Ensure the pendant is simple and has a solid bold form. Avoid too many patterns as it makes it look traditional.
- Use of diamonds is in itself a versatile choice. To add color you can add gemstones or pearls. Pay attention to the gold selection. A dual tone mangalsutra is perfect as it goes well with yellow gold or white gold accessories.
Step 3: Choose the Perfect Mangalsutra Chain Length
Next, it’s extremely important to choose the right chain length for your mangalsutra.
Some brides prefer the mangalsutra high up near the collarbone. Others prefer a longer chain. You can choose longer chain like 22 inches and even 36 inches in length.
A standard chain length is 16 inches. So if you’re not sure, go with a 16-inch chain. Make sure you have some extra loops in the back of the chain. This will allow you to adjust the chain length to your liking and outfit type.
These days some women love wearing longer chains as it looks trendy and fashionable.
*image not to scale, always measure your neck size before placing a custom order
Step 4: Pick Your Mangalsutra Pendant Style
You can go with a pendant made of solid gold, uncut diamonds that the Maharaja and their Maharani’s were greatly fond of, precious gemstones, delicate pearls or the everlasting diamonds.
A diamond mangalsutra is a versatile choice and my personal favorite. You can also get creative by combining diamonds with gemstones such as rubies or sapphires.
Pick a pendant style that suits your personality and what will make you feel great and confident.
Some women prefer to wear the mangalsutra chain and no pendant at all. In this case, you can have just a mangalsutra chain and can slide in a pendant of your choice based on occasion and the outfit you’ll be wearing.
Step 5: Decide on the Precious Metal
You may be aware of yellow gold and white gold are two common options.
But think again there are some really interesting options like a dual tone that includes the best of both worlds – white gold and yellow gold.
A dual tone is a perfect option since it matches most of your outfits and other accessories go well with it.
Rose gold is another popular metal to consider. I think it’s a perfect metal for a mangalsutra as it symbolizes bliss and romance.
And, if you don’t like a lot of shine for your everyday look you can go for an antique gold look that looks more like a vintage piece.
When you are deciding the precious metal, make sure it doesn’t have a rhodium finish. Rhodium finish is basically a thin plating on gold to give it a dazzling look and shine. But it will wear off eventually if you wear the chain every day. You’ll have to retouch it once it’s lost the sparkle.
Step 6: Determine Your Budget
Now that you have an understanding of your cultural requirements, design preferences, and pendant style and metal, you want to determine your budget.
Mangalsutra is a piece that is going to be a symbol of your love for your life.
But here’s the deal.
Weddings are expensive, and you need to have a budget for every aspect of it. When budgeting for your dream mangalsutra, keep in mind this piece of jewelry is going to stay with you for life.
And a well-made mangalsutra will be passed on to future generations.
Knowing how much you want to spend will be helpful for you and designer as well.
The cost of the mangalsutra will depend on where you are buying your piece from and the actual quality of the diamonds and gems used in the mangalsutra.
For example, if you’re buying from big brands, you get the quality assurance but you may also be paying a premium for the brand name. If you plan to work with local retailers, you may able to get your piece at a reasonable cost.
If you decide to shop online, you may get a high-quality piece as the online stores don’t have the overhead costs needed to maintain a showroom. The profits may be passed back to the consumer. Just make sure the quality specifications mentioned in the product description meet your expectation.
Step 7: Know Where to Buy A Mangalsutra From
Although you may find many Indian jewelers that carry mangalsutras in their stores, do consider other online platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Google to find the latest designs.
Make sure you buy from a trusted store, whether you’re making the purchase at a local brick-and-mortar store or online.
You can look at product reviews or store reviews before finalizing your purchase. This will help you establish trust and reliability with the place you’re planning to make your purchase from.
I would also encourage you to ask about the return policy. It’s best to buy from designers who accept returns so that in case you’re not happy with the piece you can return it.
Step 8: Pay Attention to the Details
You know they say, “The devil is in the details.”
This idiom applies to mangalsutras as well.
When you touch and feel a mangalsutra, you want to experience the beauty, luxury, and emotion.
This is where details come in. Most people ignore the details and rush into buying a piece that fits their budget.
Mangalsutra Chain quality
The first thing you want to pay attention is the chain quality.
A low-quality chain will constantly bend and get entangled. On the other hand, a high-quality chain will sit perfectly on your neck and is more comfortable to wear.
Chains made with 22K gold are more flexible and less likely to snap. 14K gold chains are comparatively less flexible because gold is mixed with other metals, making it more likely to snap.
Mangalsutra Diamond and Gemstone Quality
If you opt for a diamond mangalsutra, make sure the diamonds are real and natural.
Think about diamond quality in a holistic sense.
Without getting too technical here, use this simple rule.
Go with diamonds G color or higher, VS clarity or higher and excellent cut stones.
Gold Hooks in the Back
Make sure the clasp in the back is sturdy and of higher quality.
It is always nice to have some extra loops in the back so that can adjust the length a little bit if you have to.
Keep these steps in mind and I assure you’ll have the most amazing mangalsutra in town.
So girls, flaunt your mangalsutra with style and confidence.
And don’t forget to like, comment and share with every bride to be.