A relatively new fashion item in the western world is the idea of toe rings. In western cultures they are used exclusively for looks. By tradition they are worn on the second toe and are in matched sets. However women of the west don’t necessarily follow this and will wear only one or unmatched sets. The material used to make these rings can be both metal and non-metal.
Toe rings are from the Hindu religion of India. It is customary to wear matching rings on both feet. In the Hindu religion this is used to denote a woman’s married status. The term for this practice is called bichiya (pronounced: bee-chee-ya) in Hindi or Metti in Tamil.
The rings worn by the women of India are, by tradition, made of silver. Often a person’s social status can be revealed by the ornateness of these rings. A long held belief is that these rings will make noise when a woman walks barefoot on hard floors, thus allowing others to be able to track her.
The traditional toe ring was made from silver but with the influence of the west, more contemporary designs are taking hold. Until recent times, gold was not permitted because gold holds a special respected status and thus cannot be worn below the waist. This belief is quickly falling away and more and more toe rings are sporting not only gold but diamonds as well.
It is a common practice for Hindu men to place the ring upon the toe of the bride during the ceremony in much the same way the western groom places a ring on the finger of his bride. The idea of a silver toe ring is to ensure fertility and contribute to a healthy preganancy. Only married Hindu women may wear toe rings.