It seems that every person between the ages of 8 and 18 knows the story of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Frodo the hobbit and his journey through the Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings. Gemstones and jewelry have been a part of mankind since before history was written.
It began when time began and man first walked on Earth. Of course, the jewelry they wore in the old days was not made like we make it today. The ancient people wore jewelry made of feathers, bones, shells, and colored pebbles. These colored pebbles were gems and gems have been admired for their beauty and durability and made into adornments. Diamonds were not popular until people learned how to cut them to show their brilliance, which began in Europe sometime around the 1300. Many types of jewelry items still made today began as functional objects. Pins and brooches originated from the clasps that held clothing together. Rings and pendants were used for early seals and signs of identification, rank, and authority.
The earliest finding of jewelry was dated around 25,000 years ago. This simple necklace made of fish bones was found in a cave in Monaco. What did this necklace signify? Was it for the chief of the village or a witch doctor? Maybe a princess wore it as a trophy her husband gave her for having a boy child. We might never know the real reason for the making of the gift but we can use our imagination and try to understand the way people thought in those days.
The need to feel accepted, to belong, can be as important as the needs we fulfill in caring for our bodies. A sense of identity and self-esteem is not a frill, so belonging reflects a need, too. The first adornments were derived from the hunt; teeth, claws, horns, and bones. Hunters believed that wearing trophies would bring them good luck for the next hunt. Remember, the village lived day to day by the virtue of a good hunter and this person deserved respect and privileges. Of course, the best hunter wanted to show they had courage and prowess.
In early societies, jewelry was worn as amulets to protect against bad luck and illness. The silver vest of the elfin princess protected Frodo from harm in the stories of his adventure through Middle Earth. Even today, we hear the tales and adventures of people long ago who somehow found luck and fortune because of gemstones and jewelry. From these myths evolves jewelry made into symbols thought to give the wearer control over fertility, wealth and love. Jewelry was worn for its magical properties.
Jewelry later came to denote human connection and commitment. Slaves were made to wear bracelets to show who they belonged to. Wedding rings symbolized the commitment two people had for each other. At one time in Europe only the wealthy and high-ranking church officials were allowed to wear gemstones. This was a sign of wealth and power. The commoners wishing to mimic them would wear less expensive jewelry to add color and flash to their festive costumes. Some African tribes today still wear enormous lip plugs and distort the mouth of its wearer. This is to make the men look more fearsome in battle and women so ugly that the other tribes wouldn?t want to steal them. Have you seen the women in Africa with the long necks? This is done by adding a new ring every year from childhood. This deforms the upper body and makes the neck appear longer.
In following the trail or evolution of jewelry from the ancient worlds of Africa to the Mediterranean then Europe and finally the United States, we can see how jewelry evolved over time, becoming many different kinds like and is found in Fashion Jewelry stores today. And with the development of the society, more and more decoration have been widely used in the daily life and the materials used are more diverse, for example all commonly used in modern fashion decoration.