I don’t have a brother. Not in the biological sense of the word. I am fortunate, however, to have many cousins who fill the role for me. And so, each year on Raksha Bandhan, I would carefully select bands and bracelets to tie on them – from the garish, over-the-top pom-pom and diamante ones to power beads in the early 2000’s, and even slap bands in the nineties.
This popular Hindu festival is celebrated globally to celebrate the love between a brother and a sister. Traditionally, a sister ties a threaded amulet, known as a rakhi, around her brother’s wrist to honour their relationship, and to symbolise an oath to protect her, in exchange he gives a gift to signify his acceptance of this duty.
But, as I grew older, I began to question why it was that I couldn’t tie a Rakhi on my sister. She is, after all, my staunchest protector and ally, and I know she would be there for me in an instant should I ever need her. Amongst many of my friends, this has become a topic of discussion, why do we still adhere to the age-old tenant that a brother (read, “man”), must be the only one doing the protecting? Today, as a mother of a daughter and son, it is important that I raise both my children with equality, and the belief and understanding that they must be there for each other. And so, this year for Rakhi my children will each tie one to symbolize the bond and mutual respect between them.
“Today, as a mother of a daughter and son, it is important that I raise both my children with equality, and the belief and understanding that they must be there for each other. And so, this year for Rakhi my children will each tie one to symbolize the bond and mutual respect between them.”
With this new approach to Raksha Bandhan in mind, here is our round-up of the best gender-neutral natural diamond rakhis from across the globe to suit your brother and/or sister:
Sparkle and Shine Anmol Jeweller’s range of rakhis in a range of playful shapes are delicate yet practical. Set with glistening natural diamonds, these emblems detach from the gold chain bracelet to become brooches which can be worn long after the festival. Joyalukkas’s diamond bracelet from their Pride Collection features a paisley design atop an 18 karat rose gold chain, set with nearly 0.5 carats of natural diamonds. For simpler designs try Malabar Gold and Diamonds’s rhombus-shaped rakhi in gold and diamonds, elegant and wearable or RK Jeweller South Ex-2’s Simpatico range, featuring delicate real diamond inlaid motifs.
Extra Protection Oms, Evil Eyes and Hamsa hands have long been gifted as talismans, nowadays, they come studded with dazzling natural diamonds and gems. Dubai-based Pick and Jewel offer a personalized approach to rakhi making – they work with you to design the centrepiece, here a diamond-encrusted Om, and then you can pick the thread colour of choice – personal and meaningful. A sign of protection, the Hamsa hand is often used in jewellery across the Middle East. Carat Craft and Netali Nissim both feature natural-diamond set Hamsa hands on their delicate chain bracelets whereas Sydney Evan at Net-a-Porter features the iconic symbol embedded with diamonds on an elasticated bead bangle.
Jewellery designers are often inspired by the Evil Eye, the multi-cultural symbol to ward off evil. Gilan’s The ‘Nazar’ bracelet is cast in 18 karat rose gold, featuring white natural diamond accents on the multi-coloured amulet, set on a delicate chain. STAC Fine Jewellery combined both protective symbols with their Hamsa Hand Evil Eye with Dangling Natural Diamonds Bracelet – an easy piece to layer or wear alone.
Arm Candy Another option is to avoid the more traditional designs altogether, instead opting for striking pieces that can be worn every day. A sparkling tennis bracelet is always safe: Both Moi’s Jennifer bracelet and Harit Zaveri Jewellers’s tennis bracelets are versatile and wearable with it’s 0.5 carats of prong-set brilliant-cut natural diamonds. For a more bold option try Innocence’s tennis bracelet which features an invisible set diamond centrepiece, surrounded by natural diamonds.
With layering in full force this summer, Rose’s spring diamond bracelets, available in a range of shapes, are a stunning addition to any wrist. Designed with alternating 18 karat rose and white gold discs set with natural diamonds, they can be worn stacked together, or on their own. And of course, there’s always Cartier’s infamous Love bangle – classic and everlasting.
Whether dazzling in natural diamonds, beset with powerful talismans or non-traditional, whichever route you choose to go this Raksha Bandhan, the sentiment remains the same: To protect against evil influences and pray for your siblings’ long life and happiness.