Traditional jewelry of the Newars

The Newars are said to be the first settlers in the Kathmandu valley, may be around two thousands years ago or more. Newars speak their own language and have their own deities, rites, customs and festivals. And of course, they have their own traditional costume and jewelry.
Newar jewelry is easily identifiable at a glance. All the important events are marked with precisely prescribed rituals. In these situations special pieces of jewelry enhance the sacred nature of the event.
The ihi ceremony is for girls of 3-10 years old. During this ceremony they marry to the god Suvarna Kumar, a form of Vishnu and representative of the soul of the future husband. This way Newar allow their daughters to avoid the hard destiny of widows in Hinduism: if they are already married to an immortal god, they can never become widows, even if their future “earth” husband dies.
For the ceremony, the girls are dressed as brides, in red and gold brocade or silk dress with elaborate jewelry, including the following most popular.

On the head there is a gold disc called lunya swan. Worn like a hat on the back of the head it may be from 15 to 20 cm in diameter, sometimes even up to 30. Usually, it is decorated with floral design and the centre is often adorned with a carved coral image of god Ganesha or a Buddhist deity.
There is also another head ornament called sir bandi. The name of this jewelry literally means “to bind the head”. Three bands, one following the hair part, and two curving around the temples and above the ears, are connected at the forehead where they support a pendant that falls onto the forehead. The central pendant is the most important element. Its form is usually of a crescent moon with additional pierced floral designs and red and green glass stones or turquoise. The lower edge supports a row of leaf-shaped pendants connected by wires to the moon shape.

The neck of the girls is adorned with the necklace called tikma. A number of almost square thin metal plaques decorated with floral or leaf pattern, are sewn onto a broad cloth collar. The plagues may be made of gold or gold plated copper. An unusual feature of this necklace is a row of teardrop-shaped glass beads on wires sewn to the fabric on the periphery.

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