The term ‘jewellery’ can be traced back to the Latin word ‘jocale’ meaning ‘plaything’ but jewellery has been a part of our history long before the Romans.
Jewelry is arguably one of the oldest inventions of man. From the moment humans advanced into creative beings with a have to express themselves, all kinds of natural materials for example animal bone, stone and wood were gathered and formed into adornments. Some of the first known jewellery items include bangles made out of Woolly Mammoth tusks dating from the Stone Age and bead necklaces, manufactured from shells, some 100, 000 years old. As a result of jewellery’s long history as well as the nature of the materials used, archaeologists have been able to use items of jewelry to build up a good knowledge of our forbears.
In its many guises, jewellery grew to become an important part of all societies. Even before the use of precious metals and gems, the advantage of a piece or the skill with which it had been created gave it value plus gave the owner status. Tribesmen can show their affiliation by wearing exactly the same style of jewellery and a person’s function within the group could be identified by the type of necklace, bangle or brooch they wore.
Some pieces were created to ward off evil spirits or even work as a good luck charm plus, as well as the obvious use as creative display, could have a functional purpose within holding clothing in place.
Examples of copper mineral jewellery dating from 7, 500 years ago show the introduction of metal as a jewellery component whilst the Egyptians were using gold in their accents as long ago as 5, 000 years ago when it was very rare along with a symbol of ultimate luxury. The malleability of gold married with all the fact that it did not tarnish made it a preferred material and its recognition grew.
The Greeks widely used precious gems to embellish all jewelry from rings and bracelets in order to diadems and necklaces and by the particular 13th Century, the abundance of jewellery made from precious materials was so widespread across the social lessons, that laws were introduced throughout Europe to curb the possession of it and reserve it again as a symbol of wealth and power. These were known as the Sumptuary Laws.
These laws led directly to the development of many processes used in the development of fake gems such as pearls, the emergence of paste plus an increased popularity in semi-precious stones. It also saw the rise in reputation of marcasite as a diamond substitute.
The opulent Napoleonic times noticed the resurgence in precious components being used. During this period, the ‘parure’ shot to popularity.
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This was an entire suite of jewellery which could include coordinating necklace, comb, tiara, diadem, pairs of necklaces, brooches, rings, earrings and even belt clasp. All the pieces were cleverly designed so that they could be taken apart and worn in different ways for different outfits and looks. The individual components of a necklace may later become worn as a brooch, hair decoration or pendant.
Today, jewellery style embraces all materials, methods plus traditions. Everything from reclaimed materials — glass and tin cans, by means of stone and wood to the more aspirational platinum and diamond are usually regularly seen in jewellery pieces and are seen as an important finishing touch to an outfit and an expression of one’s individuality.