How beauty is born: the history of jewelry
The history of jewelry is a fascinating and exciting process that interests not only professionals, but also amateurs. In fact, since ancient times, the creation of jewelry was considered a real art. The first person to put a flexible twig ring on his finger or to decorate himself with a shell necklace is the first nameless jeweler that arouses our admiration. After all, it was not enough for him to live an ordinary life: the creation of jewelry helped him to express himself, his need for a sense of beauty. Many centuries have passed since then, but even now mankind continues to create fantastic beauty, enclosed in jewelry. There is obviously no end to this process – just as there is no end to our whole life.
The history of jewelry is far from simply listing the “trinkets”. This “frivolous” science at first glance can be considered a worthy assistant to history, archeology, sociology and other quite serious disciplines. In fact, the development of world fashion is also the development of world culture. Materials and forms of jewelry, processing methods and design of accessories, change of “precious” trends and tendencies – data on all this help to trace the stages of development of the culture of individual peoples and the whole world throughout our many thousands of years of evolution. That is why the history of jewelry is so interesting to us: in the ancient traditions of jewelry we see our own reflection, and we understand how much we have changed. Let’s look through the book of jewelry culture of mankind – step by step, page by page. We are sure that you will find many new and interesting things for yourself.
Ancient jewelry: first evidence
As often happens in science, no one will tell you the exact day or even the year when the first jewelry appeared in the world. But numerous excavations allow us to state with confidence: the history of jewelry originates from the earliest possible eras of human development.
So, for example, two finds are considered the earliest.
Asia Minor. It was there that the remains of an ancient fashionista were found, who lived during the Paleolithic era and adorned herself with all kinds of bracelets and beads.
Morocco. In this African country, a shell necklace was found whose age has exceeded one hundred thousand years.
However, it cannot be ruled out that jewelry as such appeared even earlier. We just do not have reliable evidence of this.
Materials for ancient jewelry
Our ancestors gladly decorated themselves with all kinds of objects that had a “natural” origin. That is, all kinds of shells, flowers and plants, fruit bones, stones and wood, feathers and bones, teeth and horns of animals and birds – all this was considered an ideal material for primitive jewelry. Moreover, the main task of the “jewelers” of antiquity (this concept, of course, is conditional: in those ancient times, everyone was his own jeweler) was not to spoil the beauty given by nature. That is why the maximum, which they often allowed themselves, is to make a hole in a pebble or shell, thread a thread or cord into it and hang it on the neck. These necklaces were incredibly fashionable and prestigious. Among the natural minerals were favorites. Most often, ancient people wore:
Gold as a material for jewelry making appeared much later. To begin with, our ancestors were quite satisfied with the “elements” of dead animals and all kinds of flowers. Can you imagine what a naughty they were?
Primitive accessories: features of creating a fashionable bow
Since ancient times, the two most important functions of precious accessories have been identified:
They protected the owner from evil spirits, the envy of others and their own vices.
They served as an indicator of the social status of the owner.
Moreover, as you probably know, the first “carriers” of jewelry were men. Yes, feminists are asked to close their eyes and skip this part of the text, but what to do: the power during the patriarchy belonged exclusively to the stronger sex, and it was they who brought fashion to decorate their own bodies.
True, no one wore individually chains, rings or bracelets. Then maximalism meant maximalism, and not what it is now: sometimes so many accessories were hung on a man that no body was visible behind them. The hot climate allowed handsome men to flaunt almost without clothes, so jewelry was the best way to “dress” themselves. True, such bows almost never were created solely and exclusively for beauty. Remember the features we talked about above? Everything was just that: it was necessary to show their role in society and at the same time protect themselves from the evil influence of others. Charms, thus, clung literally to any “surface” – arms, legs, neck or belt. They also decorated the house. And, of course, each product was worn with a specific, very specific meaning. So, for example, the teeth or feathers of animals and birds were supposed to bring good luck to the hunter. And if a man decorated himself with fruits or fruit seeds, it meant.