12/12/2014 04:17 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Symbolic Sparkle: 12 Pieces of South Asian Wedding Jewelry and What they Really Mean

Jewelry and adornments take on a whole new meaning in South Asian celebrations -- did you know there's an auspicious sign behind nearly every piece of jewelry a South Asian bride wears? "Solah Shringar" literally translates to "Sixteen Adornments," and is the ritual system of adorning a bride-to-be in 16 steps. In Hinduism, the ritual pays respect to the Goddess Laxmi, who represents beauty and femininity. But even non-Hindu brides in South Asia have embraced many elements of the Solah Shringar, especially since so many of the pieces are part of a traditional jewelry trousseau.

Image courtesy of Gary Flom Photography via Shaadi Belles.

We're breaking down the symbolism behind 12 of our favorite pieces of wedding day bling. From the tikka at the top of a bride's head to the payals at the bottom of her feet, these pieces of South Asian bridal jewelry do more than just sparkle!

Symbolism in South Asian Wedding Jewelry