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An anklet, also called ankle chain or ankle bracelet, is an ornament worn around the ankle. Barefoot anklets and toe rings historically have been worn for centuries by girls and women in India, where it is commonly known as payal. They have also been worn by Egyptian women since predynastic times. In the United States both casual and more formal anklets became fashionable in the late twentieth century. While in western popular culture both younger men and women may wear casual leather anklets, they are popular among barefoot women. Formal anklets (of silver, gold, or beads) are used by some women as fashion jewellery. Anklets are an important piece of jewellery in Indian marriages worn along with saris.
Occasionally, anklets on both ankles are joined by a chain to limit the step. This practice was once prevalent in South East Asia, where the effect was to give a 'feminine' short tripping step. Today, a few western women follow this practice, but rarely in public. More rarely still, some people wear 'permanent' (e.g. soldered-on) ankle chains and even connecting chains.
In the early twentieth century, anklets were commonly worn by Egyptian women of inner cities. They were called kholkhal (pl. khalakheel) and were most classically worn by women of Alexandria, along with a classic traditional dress covered by a one-piece black cloth called melaya leff.
Today, anklets are not commonly worn by Egyptian women in public due to increased Islamic conservatism that has spread in Egypt where wearing anklets in public is generally perceived as being immodest. Anklets are still commonly worn by dancers in public events.
Rajasthani women wear the heaviest type of anklets, which are silver and signify tribal adherence. The women wear this for costume jewellery, but also to show their bravery as a tribe against other rival tribes. The fashion for heavy anklets is declining in India now, but is still common in the rural areas.
The word Payal is a word for the anklet in Hindi and Punjabi.
AS AN ORNAMENT
Anklets can be made of silver, gold, and other less precious metals as well as leather, plastic, nylon and other such materials. In the western world anklets or ankle chains are mainly worn by younger females, but some older women also wear them.
Metal anklets are of two types - flexible and inflexible. The flexible ones, often called paayal, pajeb or jhanjhar in India, are made by tying links in a chain. Subsequently, sonorous bells can be attached to the chain, so that the wearer can make pleasing sounds while walking. Inflexible ones are usually created by giving shape to a flat metal sheet.
The sound was also a reminder for people that there was a woman around, during the times of Purdah.
SALANGAI OR GHUNGHRU
Salangai or Ghunghru are small bells that bharatnatyam, kathak, kuchipudi, and odissi dancers tie around their ankles.
LEFT OR RIGHT?
In eastern cultures, particularly India, anklets are worn on both ankles. In the west they are normally seen worn on one ankle.
IN SCUBA DIVING
Scuba divers sometimes wear lead anklets to stop a tendency for their legs to float up when diving in a drysuit.
To read more about anklets, please click on the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anklet