The History of Antique Jewelry in Tamil Literature


Antique jewelry, with its timeless allure, has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu. In this exploration, we embark on a journey through the verses and narratives of Tamil literature, unraveling the intricate history and cultural significance of antique jewelry.

Section 1: காதல் நாயகிகளும் கனா நிலவும் – Love and Adornment in Sangam Literature:

In the poetic realms of Sangam literature, love and adornment dance hand in hand. In the classic poem “அகநானூறு,” the heroine’s kohl-lined eyes are adorned with sparkling ‘பூக்கனி’ (flower-shaped) earrings, symbolizing not just beauty but the profound depth of her love.

Section 2: செல்வத்துக்கு பாசம் – Symbol of Wealth: Jewelry in Chola Literature:

The Chola period saw jewelry elevated to a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Descriptions in ‘பெரிய புராணம்’ paint a vivid picture of royal jewels, not just adorning Chola kings but embodying the opulence and richness of the entire kingdom. Temple jewelry, with its intricate details, further mirrored the cultural grandeur of the Chola era.

Section 3: தனி உறவுக்கு அழகு – Personal Adornments in Medieval Tamil Literature:

As we move through the pages of medieval Tamil literature, personal adornments take center stage during significant life events. The ‘பாணிருதி’ ceremony, beautifully depicted in ‘பரிபாடல்,’ showcases the bride bedecked in elaborate ‘மேகலை’ (necklace) and ‘வங்கியம்’ (bangles), symbolizing the auspicious union and celebration of love.

Section 4: உலகமே எங்கள் மைந்தன் – Tamil Jewelry in the Global Context:

The influence of Tamil jewelry has transcended geographical boundaries, making its mark on the global stage. The ‘கல்யாணசூத்ரம்’ (wedding chain), a cultural icon, has inspired international designers. Its elegant simplicity and cultural significance have made it a sought-after piece in the global fashion arena, showcasing the global appeal of Tamil jewelry.

Section 5: குமுதம் விழி – Legacy of Kumudam: Antique Jewelry in Modern Tamil Literature:

In the tapestry of modern Tamil literature, antique jewelry continues to shine. Recent works like ‘குமுதம் விழி’ celebrate the timeless beauty of antique pieces, weaving their intricate details into narratives that resonate with contemporary readers. This resurgence highlights the enduring charm of traditional jewelry in contemporary storytelling.


As we conclude our journey through the verses of Tamil literature, the intricate details of antique jewelry stand as cultural artifacts, preserving beauty and tradition for generations to come. From Sangam poetry to modern tales, these adornments have not only adorned characters but have become timeless symbols, weaving their stories into the very fabric of Tamil culture. “பரந்த பருத்தி” – a celebration of the profound history and cultural significance of antique jewelry in Tamil literature.

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