HOW DID WE COME TO LOVE JEWELRY?
No kidding. You’re not alone in this. To answer this question, i’ll have to share with you, the history of jewelery. Jewelery, (any decorative piece worn for personal adornment) has been in use as far as recorded human history.
It all began when the early humans began settling into communities. In this early period, minerals and metals were not in existence and jewelry items, such as preliminary form of necklaces and bracelets, were made by using bone, animal teeth, shell, wood, and carved stone.
But after the discovery and extraction of minerals and metals, people started using gems and metals in jewelry items. These have greatly evolved to the sophisticated gemstones, socketed with utmost precision and worn to weddings and special occasions by you and me (so you see you are making history).
Jewelry had always been used as a means of communication- either to accentuate beauty, achievement, class(example being the ancient priests), power, status or symbol.
Three ancient civilisations have contributed to the evolution of jewelery to the expression of art and craft that it is now; India, Egypt and the Chinese.
The first sign of crafted gold jewelry in ancient Egypt was around 3,000-4,000 years ago. In combination with gold jewelry, Egyptians mainly used colored glass instead of precious gems, as they preferred glass colors more to the natural colors of gems. For nearly each gemstone available that time, there was a glass formulation used by the Egyptians to imitate it.
In Egypt, jewelry was a symbol of power and wealth and worn by wealthy Egyptians throughout their life and after their death these jewelry items were placed among grave goods. Egypt and Mesopotamia set standards in metallurgy (study of the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements), gem collecting, and glass manufacture. Their several thousand year long tradition of jewelry production laid a solid foundation for all European civilizations that came after them, and their unique style affected fashion trends even four thousand years later.
India is considered the first country to mine diamonds dated back 300 BC and involved in a continuous development process of jewelry making. Before 2100 BC, the natives of the Indus Valley Civilization used to trade jewelry beads as that time, metals were not widely used in jewelry items. In the Indus Valley, jewelry beads were made by using some simple techniques which also involved heating and polishing of a stone for color improvement. By 1500 BC, the natives of the Indus Valley were using metals such as gold to create earrings, necklaces, rings, bead necklaces and metallic bangles. In the Indus Valley, women wore jewelry items like gold rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, brooches, chokers, forehead bands etc. Unlike many other ancient cultures, Indus Valley jewelry was never buried with the dead and natives of Indus Valley used to pass these to their children or family members.
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China started producing jewelry around 5000 year ago during the rise of Yang-Shao and Lungshanoid cultures in the delta of river Yangtze. As the time went on their civilization grew, and new jewelry designs rose to such popularity that all the Asian surrounding countries soon found themselves under heavy influence of Chinese culture which preferred silver over gold, and jade over any other precious gemstone.
Chinese jewelry designs focused greatly on the use of Jade, which was viewed as a stone who has best human qualities of hardiness, durability and beauty. It was thought that jade protects the bearer as a talisman, and it provided status symbol that indicated grace, dignity and morality of the owner. Jade was held in such high regard that it was more precious than gold and new techniques of jewel making were introduced because of it and not gold or other precious metal (such as 7th to 4th century BC ring making technique of compound milling machine, which appeared in the rest of the world many centuries later).
By the 17th century, the Renaissance and exploration had vital impacts on the growth of jewelry. At these times, it began to feature as a very important part of fashionable clothing. By this time, wide ranges of gemstones were available due to increase in exploration and trade. In 17th century, craftsmen studied as well as explored many ancient cultures and made some important technical improvements in gemstone cutting, which helped in enhancing the popularity of gemstone jewelry. Beautiful floral art was on peak at that time and flower designing became a dominant theme for fine jewelry.
By the 18th century, diamond jewelry became very popular and began to express changing trends in fashion. In this period, some new stone setting styles including prong setting was invented which multiplied the brilliancy of a diamond.
In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution brought enormous change to the whole world including jewelry industry. Mass production of jewelry and concept of imitation stones made jewelry available to everyone. In this period, jewelry and jewelry accessories became very popular even in middle and lower classes.
In the 20th century and afterwards, jewelry reached onto new highs and now is available in more stylish and trendy forms. This century was characterized by the beginning of a new era in jewelry making. New technological improvements in stone cutting, polishing and setting were developed as well as new metals such as platinum and palladium were used in jewelry. In addition, new casting technologies along with new sophisticated machinery allowed for the production of more versatile jewelry by using different patterns, shapes and styles.
In today’s world, jewelry has become part of our day-to-day life and our culture. Now jewelry making has improved exceptionally well due to involvement of computers and technology but still maximum cutting, polishing and finishing work of a gemstone is done manually by experts.
You are not alone
So you see, jewelery is almost a primal instinct, our identification with the beauty of nature and the undeniable expression of beauty, elegance and a pristine personality. Don’t just wear jewelery to follow trends, express your uniqueness through them. You can find statement jeweleries here.
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