If you have a family member from India, you may have heard about the tradition of buying gold bracelets for babies as newborn gift. This can be a great way to acknowledge the birth of child to Indian parents, but can be confusing if you are less familiar with the tradition.
How long are they worn?
Baby bracelets are traditionally worn until they are outgrown, then they are put to one side to be handed down to future babies when that child becomes a mother. Given they need to last (at least) through the toddler years, it's a good idea to choose a robust design rather than a super delicate chain. A handmade bangle can be made and personalised for the child in question, making it a great keepsake and easy to distinguish in years to come as future babies get to wear the same bracelet.
What materials are used for baby bangles?
As with much of Indian jewellery, the tradition is to use high-grade gold. There is a growing trend towards white gold and other precious metals. In some circles less expensive metals are used, however these often don't last as long as precious metals and may not make it into the family heirlooms. Additionally, nonprecious metals can often be more irritating to the young and sensitive skin of a baby and toddler.
Can it have other beads or stones?
Indian children's handmade jewellery can be customised in a number of ways including beads. However with baby bangles, the bangles are often crafted as a solid piece for a few reasons. Firstly, young children are known to go through stages where they chew on everything, particularly when they are getting new teeth, and beads have the potential to become dislodged and can become a choking hazard. Secondly, as bangles tend to be worn all the time a plainer design goes well with a range of outfit. However, if the parents are likely to have a large selection of jewellery for the child to wear at different ages, have modern jewellery tastes or the bangles are only likely to be worn for special occasions then the sky is the limit for unique designs and extra customisation.
A customised, handmade baby bracelet is a great way to recognise the birth of a new baby for Indian parents in your circle. It is a great way to recognise their heritage and background and provide a beautiful and lasting baby gift.