Fashion accessories and jewelry are present in human culture for a very long time. Although trends may cause you to think that jewelry started developing in the modern era, this is not the actual case. If you want to read about the history of jewelry and its entire evolution, check out the following text.
The Old Days
It seems that jewelry has been present from the start, meaning it developed gradually with humans dating back to the ancient age. However, those pieces didn't look as modern as today's accessories, indicating they were mostly made out of feathers, pebbles, shells, stones, and anything they could find while appealing for that era.
The pebbles were colored and mostly used to cause admiration.
Reasons for Wearing Jewelry
When talking about the early times, two main reasons explain why the ancient people who didn't comprehend fashion at the time wore accessories.
First and foremost, first worn necklaces were made out of teeth, feathers, bones, etc., by hunters who perceived these accessories as trophies. Also, it was believed that wearing them would bring them luck in the next hunt. Since their lifestyle primarily derived on a day-to-day basis, hunting was one of the most important spheres. Therefore, the best hunters gladly showed courage, success and wanted to cause admiration by wearing the aforementioned jewelry pieces.
Next, belonging was always crucial to the human psyche, even at that time. Therefore, wearing colorful accessories meant a lot to the ancient people to boost self-esteem, importance in that time's society, and a sense of belonging.
The First Findings
The most interesting fact that shows the importance of jewelry is that the pieces were found worldwide in the Sumerian culture, Egypt, the Minoan Civilization, Etruria, Greece, Romans, Byzantine, Islamic culture, Africa, etc.
We must state that the first known jewelry findings are 25000 years old and located in a cave in Monaco. It was a simple piece made out of fish bones. Unfortunately, the back story of this piece is unknown, meaning we can only guess why it was made and who made it. Some theories suggest that it was created as a gift, although no relevant evidence could prove it.
Sumerian culture and Egypt
Another great ancient jewelry artifact was found at Ur dating back to BCE in Queen Abis's tomb. The pieces were made out of silver, gold, agathe, etc. As for the actual jewelry, a wide range of jewelry was present in the tomb and on the queen's mummified body, including amulets, gold pins, diadems on the queen's head, rings, golden combs, etc.
A similar setting represents king Tutankhamon's tomb in Egypt, which gained a lot of publicity globally. This crypt was designed fabulously, now present in the Cairo museum in Egypt as the biggest selection of gold and silver in the entire world. The Tutankhamon's coffin was made out of gold, while the mummy was completely covered in a wide range of jewels. As for the actual jewelry pieces, Tutankhamon's tomb includes necklaces, rings, diadems, earrings rings, amulets, etc., of outstanding quality.
Archaic and Classic age was specific when it comes to jewelry since gold wasn't available. Pieces that originated from Peloponnese (Greece) and Attica were strongly influenced by Asian culture. This trend can be seen in the ancient pieces because the human being started to be the central motive instead of plants, leaves, etc. Soon the Hellenistic era started under the influence of Alexandar the Great, which is very renowned for its brilliant jewelry, aesthetics, and modern accessories. One of the primary artifacts that show how developed the Hellenistic culture at the time are the earrings with a figure of the woman driving a two-horse vehicle located at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. These earrings are primarily popular because of the craft of peculiar details and their astonishing design, making it a miniature sculpture of Greek Art at the time.
Medieval jewelry culture was quite different from the ancient pieces. Hierarchy started having a great impact on society, and status was included as the main motive of everyday life. There were certain rules regarding the subject which resulted in certain practices:
Gold alongside silver and gems was majorly worn by royals and the nobles, while lower-status social groups wore primal metals like copper.
Until 14th-century, gems were always polished and never cut while size and color represented their value.
Renaissance is undoubtedly a glamorous period of human history- no wonder that jewels were trendy at the time. Power and religion were prime motives of the renaissance, so this has impacted the structure and design of jewelry. Also, certain types of stones were thought to protect people from witchcraft, aches, and diseases. According to legitimate history sources, one of the most renowned pieces is the scorpion, which guards the one wearing it from multiple diseases alongside poisoning.
By the beginning of the 17th century, trends regarding jewelry started changing. For example, dark fabrics were suitable for golden pieces, while pastel and soft colors were combined with stones, gems, and pearls. Also, ornamented breast jewelry became a growing trend.
As for recent history, the 19th century represents a time where industry underwent quite a peak alongside modern society. However, the motives used in crafting jewelry were focused on the old era, including the Greek and Roman culture, because of the archeologist's findings.
Modern history styles include Art Noveau, Edwardian, Belle Epoque, Art Deco, Retro, etc. Therefore, jewelry trends changed according to popular culture. Today, jewelry trends involve both old and innovative designs. There is a wide range of styles available, whether you are looking for pieces crafted according to greek or roman motives or some futuristic earrings.
Keep in mind that not everything you see online is worth it, so buy your jewelry only from trusted and certified brands that accentuate quality. Luckily, today's market allows different quality, aesthetic, and price ranges as long as you do your research correctly.
All in all, jewelry wasn't invented for mere aesthetics, meaning it represents a bold attitude statement, status, and a piece of your personality, so make sure to choose your piece accordingly.