Traditional Indian Jewellery- Oddiyanam
This gold Oddiyanam or waist ornament of South India is encrusted with rose-cut diamonds, emeralds and cabochon rubies. Peacocks, flowers, buds and leaves intermingle in riotous profusion, but in perfect symmetry.
Although the purpose of the Oddiyanam was supposedly to hold up the saree, actually, like the binding of feet in the Far East, it served the additional purpose of keeping the waist slim, as the breath was drawn in before the belt-clasp was fastened. The slim waists of older women even after several childbirths was believed to be the result of the use of this ornament.
The tight belt around the waist further accentuated the hips of the wearer as, in Dravidian culture, large hips were a sign of beauty in a woman. Examples of pinched waists and heavy hips can be seen in sculptures in the temples of the South to this day.