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History of jewelry

Today, jewelry is an essential form of accessory. Everyone, from kids to adults have in possession at least one jewelry piece in their collection. This type of accessory is generally categorized into rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Each one having different history and evolution.

From the beginning of human kind, ancient jewelry was a form of expression of different forms according to the era, culture and time period, having from practical to more artistic functions.

We can see signs of jewelry history from the Prehistory. ‘’The earliest known jewelry was actually created not by humans (Homo Sapiens) but by Neanderthals living in Europe. Specifically, perforated beads made from small sea shells have been found dating to 115,000 years ago’’ (Wikipedia, 2019, Jewelry).  It was stated that the earliest civilizations used materials taken from nature, organic materials like bones, teeth, stones or berries. It is believed that at this time, it was used for protection from the danger of the era, as well as a proof of status or rank.

With the evolution, the characteristics of the jewelry pieces became more and more complex and sophisticated. It was started the practice of using materials like gemstones, gold, or silver.

In the middle ages the jewelry pieces took different styles and it was giving various meanings to them. In this era, the most influence was taken from the religious beliefs and society’s conditions. This accessory was worn according to the social status, being created regulations of what type could one wear according to their personal social standing.

Generally, for the most cultures, jewelry was seen as a form of wealth and adornment.  However, people have also used it for different other goals: one functional use was generally to fix clothing or hair in place.  Another would be as a meaning of some form of affiliation, whether ethnic, religious or social. Also, to provide talisman protection (in the form of amulets). Finally, as an artistic display as well as a carrier or symbol of personal meaning – such as love, mourning, or even luck.

These purposes are still relevant today. Jewelry is a form of individuality and everyone is wearing different types of jewelry according to the occasion, outfit, hair or makeup.

The materials and methods became more and more complex. Antique jewelry designs are still treasuring, but new designs are still making appearance. There is something for everyone, for every gender, age and style.

From the beginning, jewelry had a massive impact on the society in each period. It was always a huge reflection to the events and traditions, culture and opinion through each decade.

In conclusion, art and handcraft was always used as the reflection of opinions and visions. We can relive history and see things through the eyes of different people just through creations and art forms. Jewelry is one element of the art world, we have always used it to express individual but also collective opinions. The decorative aspect of it was always seen as something meaningful, depending on the factors around it, time and culture being the essential part in creating a piece of jewelry with meaning.



Wikipedia, 2019, Jewelry, viewed 06.02.2019 (

B. Bernstein, 2018, Jewelry through the ages, viewed 10.04.2018 ( )

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