By Cameron Harris
Jewelry has long been a favored way of enhancing one’s appearance. For thousands of years, people throughout the world have transformed precious stones and metals into beautiful jewelry used not only for decoration, but also to show religious beliefs and commemorate important occasions. Traditionally, a bride and groom exchange wedding rings to symbolize their union. Many espoused Christians wear the crucifix to illustrate their spiritual conviction. Millions of men and women wear jewelry simply because they enjoy accessorizing themselves. From the past to the present, there are myriad reasons for wearing jewelry, be it simple or elaborate.
The ancient Egyptians’ love of jewelry is widely known. They are identified by the various styles they wore, such as collars, amulets and bracelets. Ancient Egyptians favored gold above all and adorned themselves with that metal in numerous ways. The Egyptians also had beliefs surrounding various colors used in jewelry. For instance, green was the color of new vegetation and symbolized resurrection. Wealthy Egyptians who died had elaborate jewelry placed on them and with them in their funerary chamber so that they would have wealth in the afterlife. Jewelry played a significant role in many ancient Egyptians’ feelings of spirituality and importance. Many jewelry styles we wear today were worn millennia ago including necklaces, rings, bracelets and bangles and earrings. The reasons people today wear jewelry is not always so different from the reasons ancient people wore jewelry.
There have been numerous historical periods during which jewelry styles changed. The Roman and Greek cultures were responsible for the creation of the cameo, a piece of jewelry which is still available today. It was during the Renaissance period that the use of jewelry for symbolic purposes moved into uses purely for adorning one’s body. Another interesting time period for changes in jewelry came about with the onset of Romanticism in the late 18th century. No longer was jewelry available only to the upper classes. A burgeoning middle class was able to afford jewelry as well. Although their pocketbooks were still not as full as the elite upper class, the nouveau-riche’s desire for jewelry opened up a new market for costume or paste jewelry. The upper classes then turned to employing designers who could cater to their wishes for custom pieces not available to their less elite neighbors. They still demanded the more precious metals and stones such as gold, silver and diamonds, and left the less expensive materials to be used by others. Additionally, Queen Victoria brought mourning jewelry into fashion in England, allowing women to adorn themselves even when someone had died, a practice that was previously taboo.
In addition to well-known gold and diamonds, pearls have been sought after for centuries. Pearls are considered jewels in every sense of the word and are highly desirable for use in rings and necklaces in particular. People have also used pearls to embellish their hair and clothing. Some cultures have even believed that pearls have mystical qualities. A special characteristic of pearls is uniqueness. No two pearls are alike, making them prized possessions, as no one will have an identical pearl no matter what type of jewelry or setting the pearl is used in. Pearls are considered by some to be the oldest gem known to humanity and were used in ancient Persia and early Native America to present day.
Today, jewelry around the world shows the influence of many cultures. Indians, Asians, Africans and Native Americans are a few examples of peoples that have had great impact on the way we wear jewelry, the reason we wear jewelry and the jewels and metals we choose. Manufacturing techniques over the centuries have also changed who has access to jewelry. Although the extraordinarily wealthy are able to purchase million dollars jewels, the average person can also have beautiful jewelry. It is very possible to purchase gorgeous jewelry and have custom pieces created by master craftsmen within a reasonable budget. Today’s styles still add beauty to the wearer and their clothing, but also allow individuals to show their unique, creative side. There are many choices available for the discerning consumer in all areas of jewelry, whether one prefers necklaces or bracelets or can’t get enough of any form. Jewelry wearing has come a long way from the days of being buried in your favorite pieces. Now, one can look forward to passing down his or her exquisite pieces to children and grandchildren, knowing that well-cared for and excellent-made jewelry will withstand the tests and trends of time.
About the Author: Cameron Harris is a freelance writer for Since1910.com. Since1910.com is a family owned, fifth generation couture retail Jewelry business, established in downtown Brooklyn, New York in the year 1910.
The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of sunnyray.org. The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.
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