Sunday, January 17, 2021



Kangan, the Indian bracelet-cum-bangle is an important part of a woman’s life. From being a toddler to an older woman, kangan and bangles are an essential accessory of her being. Glittering, in a multitude of colors and with wonderful designs, the tinkling sound of the bangles, have been an essential part of the romance and heritage in Indian ethnic wear. There are a number of film songs in various Indian languages, which speak about the sound of bangles and their charm. Bangles are a symbol of femininity and grace. They are also known as Churi, Chudi, Bangdi, Kangan and Chura to name a few.

Bangles are spherical in shape and derived from the Hindi word ‘Bungri’ meaning glass. Bangles are made from precious and non-precious materials such as gold, silver, platinum, copper, brass, glass, terracotta, wood, plastic, sea shell, lac and many others. The bangle can be in the form of a solid cylinder or in the case of a kangan  which can be split open and closed with the help of a cylindrical spring or screw. The work or embellishment on the bangle distinguishes one bangle from the other.

Crafting the kangan  is a skilled art. Stone-set Kangan's are often covered with enamel on one side, the method used usually being champlevé (a technique wherein a recess is hollowed out in the surface of gold or silver to take in a mineral), for example, cobalt oxide is used to give a blue color. The goldsmith carves out the design after which the enamel is painted or brushed into the hollows. It is then fixed in place by fire, a very difficult art. Enameling was originally done to protect gold which in its pure state is soft, malleable and wares away easily.

Kangan's are traditionally worn on special occasions such as festivals, weddings, religious ceremonies or soirees. The kangan's available today come in many varieties to suit casual wear as well. Kangan's complement Indowesterns too.

Gold kangan's are maintained easily by cleaning them with a mild soap solution. The ones embellished with precious stones can be wiped carefully with a soft cloth after wearing them to rid them of sweat or dirt. These can be given to a trusted jeweler to be cleaned if necessary. Lac kangan's and bangles can be maintained by avoiding prolonged contact with water. The inner brass ring can be wiped clean with a wet cloth.

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