The Guttapusalu Haram Is an Ode to Its Coromandel Origin

Published: Fri, Dec 02, 2022
Guttapusalu necklace history

South India is known for its opulent jewelry, especially its grand necklace designs, such as the Kasu Malai, Manga Malai, Makara Kanti, and Malligai Arumbu Malai to name a few. These days, South Indian bridal necklaces are sought after by not just brides from the South wanting to celebrate their roots but also by brides belonging to other parts of the country. One such bridal necklace is the Guttapusalu necklace.

Guttapusalu—Indian Necklace from the Coast

A necklace design typical to the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the Guttapusalu Haram, as it is traditionally known, is an intricate gold necklace that originated in areas around the historic pearl fisheries along India's Coromandel coast in the late 18th century A.D.

This South Indian necklace has fringes of clusters of tiny pearls that resemble a swarm of small fish (gutta). These tiny pearls are pierced to act as beads (pusal). This is where the necklace gets its name from.

Guttapusalu necklace

In India, as Usha Balakrishnan points out in her book Dance of the Peacock, no gem has been as frequently utilized in traditional Indian jewelry as the pearl, which she goes on to call The Ethereal Seed. The waters off the coast of South India were the main source of pearls in ancient times and the most valuable and sought-after pearls came from the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Mannar. Thus, pearls became a frequently used material in Indian jewelry designs.

Indian Pearl earrings, early 19th century

Image courtesy: The Met Museum

Indian pearl earrings, ca. 1810

Image courtesy: The Met Museum

Apart from the production of pearls, the Southern part of India is also known for its gold—the historic Kolar Gold Fields are an example, and its splendid diamonds—the globally-renowned Golconda diamonds. Embellished with Emeralds and rubies, and the extravagant Guttapusalu necklace was born.

Guttapusalu necklace design

A sophisticated gold piece with eighty-three open, tubular parts that are each set with a single diamond, ruby, or emerald, as well as a genuine pearl on top, alternates on either side with seven petal-shaped decorations.

A double tube pendant with an oval-shaped element attached on either side that is set with a single diamond, cabochon rubies, and three natural pearls on top, serves as the center pendant.

A petal-shaped pendant suspended from it is set with a ruby cabochon and irregular pearls. The pendants on either side of the oval-shaped components are embellished with three florets. A core diamond is surrounded by four cabochon rubies and four diamonds in the largest pendant, which is additionally topped with three pearls. A single diamond and irregularly shaped pearls were suspended from it. Uneven pearls are strung in groups on the gold wire in each pendant. All of the twin tubular components are connected by a triangular gold screw-post clasp to a gold wire necklace that has been "woven."

Image and content courtesy: Van Gelder Traditional Indian Folk Jewellery via Alain Truong

Who Has Worn the Guttapusalu Necklace?

In ancient times, only the royals of the South used to wear this ostentatious Indian necklace. However, with time, the daughters of affluent men as well as ladies from the Matriarchal lineage of Southern India started wearing the Guttapusalu necklace.

These days, the Guttapusalu necklace is a popular choice among women across the country, especially brides. Even Bollywood has been touched by its popularity. The renowned Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor chose to wear a magnificent Guttapusalu Haram with her North Indian wedding attire.

Sonam Kapoor wearing Guttapusalu necklace

Image courtesy: Nikita Jewels

The evergreen Bollywood actress Rekha also wore a Guttapusalu necklace to one of the events she attended.

Rekha wearing Guttapusalu necklace

Keerthy Suresh, another renowned Indian actress was once seen wearing a simpler version of the Guttapusalu necklace at an event he was attending.

Guttapusalu necklace design

Image courtesy: Twitter

share:

Read more from our journal

5 Min Read
Chasing the Spectrum: A Look at Red, Yellow, and Blue in Nature, Jewelry, and Art
Colors. Like notes in a symphony, colors come together to create a one-of-a-kind harmony of beauty and expression. Th... read more
Kundan Jewelry Care 101: How To Keep Your Pieces in Perfect Condition
Wedding time in India is equivalent to a festival in its own right. Celebrating this festival calls for elaborate pre... read more
How Much Do You Know About East Indian Wedding Jewelry?
The colorful and diverse country India is, it hosts an expansive diversity of cultures. Each has its own distinct sty... read more
Behind the Scenes of Kundan Jewelry Making—Process and Techniques
Ornate designs made with precious gemstones encrusted in 24K gold—said to have been born in the royal region of Rajas... read more
From the Royal Courts: Uncovering the Glittering World of West Indian Wedding Jewelry
Western India, being the land of Rajputs, Marathas, Mauryas, and other such powerful kingdoms, has been endowed with ... read more
Follow This Guide To Take Care of Your Gold Jewelry Like a Pro!
Fine jewelry defies the limitations of age and time and is supposed to be a durable object that can be handed down fr... read more
Tracing the Origins of Kundan Jewelry: From Ancient India to Today
Picture Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s iconic looks as Jodha Bai from the much-loved epic drama Jodhaa Akbar—the first imag... read more
Palace Indian Weddings: The Most Extravagant Royal Couples in History
Before independence, India, as we know it, was not a single entity. The land was one, but on it were several princely... read more
Think Necklaces Are Just a Piece of Jewelry? Think Again!
When it comes to Indian jewelry, there is hardly any piece that does not have some sort of symbolism associated with ... read more
The Sparkling World of South Indian Wedding Jewelry: From Head to Toe
Dakshin Bharat, the Southern part of the Indian nation, is known for a lot of things, cultural jewelry being one of t... read more
Beyond the Vows: Exploring the Phera Ceremonies of Indian Weddings
Indian weddings are nothing less than a grand festival in their own right. They’re colorful; they’re lively; they bri... read more
Why Goldsmiths Still Use Crab’s Eye Seed to Measure Gold Jewelry (And Other Measurements)
In the past, the system of weights and measures for everything, including gold jewelry, varied from region to region.... read more
How Many of These Royal Vintage Necklaces Do You Know About?
The Indian royalty, just like its culture, was varied and colorful. But one thing that all its members shared was the... read more
Marco Polo’s Connection With India: What You Didn’t Know
On his visit to China with his father and uncle, the legendary Venetian explorer and merchant, Marco Polo met Kublai ... read more
The Story of Coin Necklaces You Didn’t Know Of
Using coins as jewelry objects, known as Gemme Numari—coin gems or nummary gems—dates back to Ancient Rome. As people... read more