Time was when only married Indian women would wear them. But now bichchiyas or traditional toe-rings have become a fashion accessory for city girls. Available in plastic as well as metal, they are being flaunted on feet clad in sandals and flip-flops.
“Toe-rings were a traditional ornament for married women. But gradually, their visibility started decreasing. Now they are booming back and the demand has doubled in the past five years,” said Mayank Goyal, owner of a silver shop at Janpath in central Delhi.
As the social sentiment attached with toe-rings seems to be fading in cities, the designs too are undergoing a sea change. The market is flooded with imprinted designs and multi-colored stonework toe-rings. Single colored and thin bands in plastic and metal are also available. Even the traditional silver toe-rings are a major craze among young girls. Foreigners too are lapping them up.
“Toe-rings are a big hit among youngsters as the maximum number of customers that we receive is the young college-going girls. But even the foreigners are crazy about them,” said Goyal.
It is said that toe-rings were introduced in the US by Marjorie Borell, who, after returning from India, began manufacturing and selling them in New York in 1973. She sold toe-rings in silver, gold and diamond through retail chains like Bloomingdale’s, but moved on to a different profession thereafter.
However, the craze for the accessory has continued.