When were the first necklaces made?

1. The jewelry in the stone age

The history of jewelry


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1. The jewelry in the stone age
2. Jewelry in antiquity
3. Jewelry in the Middle Ages
4. The baroque jewelry
5. The jewelry in the Victorian era
6. Modern jewelry


Not only today do we like to adorn ourselves with jewelry, use lavish necklaces or delicate small and sparkling rings. For millennia, people have found great pleasure in decorating and embellishing themselves with materials from nature. Motives for owning jewelry can include an increase in physical stimuli, a personal need for recognition, an increase in social status or a mark of personal individuality. More than 100,000 years ago, humans began to paint their bodies with the help of grated plants or to use other different substances from nature.

Various cave drawings show that some people, for example, adorned themselves with the teeth of their defeated opponents by wearing them as a battle trophy around their necks on a long string. A grave was discovered in Russia that is believed to be around 28,000 years old. The people who were found in it were covered in fur hats and cloaks on which over 4,000 pearls could be admired. Furthermore, the people wore belts that were decorated with 450 arctic fox teeth. Pearls from ostrich egg shells as well as jewelry made from mussels and sea snails also date from the Stone Age. Even today, communities from Kenya and Botswana use the pearls from ostrich egg shells, so this tradition will probably be preserved for a long time.

However, not all researchers agree on the findings of the Stone Age. For example, snail shells from Africa that are 75,000 years old have been found with holes in them. These "perforations" could be an indication that the snail shells were once attached to a chain, says the research team around Christopher Henshilwood. However, these traces can also be traced back to natural circumstances.

It is interesting to look at the fact that the jewelry has spread to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe at the same time. The reason for this is supposed to be the increasing population density of the earth, so that unknown people met each other more often. Whatever the reason for the simultaneous popularity of the jewelry - it is clear that with the help of the jewelry it was quickly made clear which class you belonged to. So even strangers knew within a very short time who they were dealing with.

However, the actual conscious jewelry production only began about 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Gold in particular was one of the most expensive and valuable materials that could be processed into jewelry.

The aesthetic value of jewelry in antiquity began with the processing of metals; these were primarily bronze, gold and silver. The finished pieces of jewelry were mainly clothing clips and bangles with typical shapes such as ornaments or spirals.

But even back then, gemstones were highly valued as an ornament for one's own body. For example, a pharaoh was buried with his servants and other property; this of course also included jewelry decorated with valuable stones.

Of the ancient civilized peoples, the Egyptians were the most advanced in processing precious metals. They preferred the linearity of the architecture in the pieces of jewelry they produced. Since the jewelry should adapt perfectly to the body, they designed their jewelry to be delicate and avoided overloading precious stones or pearls.

In the Middle Ages, too, people decorated themselves with a wide variety of pieces of jewelry; But at that time the jewelry not only had the function of "prettification", but was also a popular medium of exchange. Precious pieces of jewelry were often melted down and made into new rings or chains.

In addition, jewelry was primarily not made according to whether it looked splendid - especially the symbolism of jewelry was a high priority in the Middle Ages. A brooch was a common gift for an engagement.

Due to the European influences, the jewelry was mainly characterized by intricate Arabic shapes or patterns.

The jewelry in the Baroque era is strongly influenced by France; especially during the reign of the "Sun King" the jewelry was ostentatious and expensive. The majority of aristocratic women developed a particular fondness for valuable diamonds, but silver also became established as a material for jewelry during this period.

We hardly know any jewelry that was more opulent and sumptuous than at that time. Floral patterns and compositions were very popular.

Even then, the diamond was very popular. For this reason, Cardinal Mazarin allowed the stone cutters to carry out experiments on gemstones, so that further gemstones were also faceted from 1650 onwards. Types of cut such as the Mazarin cut with 32 facets and the rose cut emerged, whereby the cabochon cut was increasingly displaced.

Up to this point in time, people from high social classes could afford the coveted jewelry made from precious stones and other materials; With the new techniques for jewelry processing and production, however, it was now also possible to produce gemstones synthetically, so that the popular jewelry could be afforded even with a small budget. The result was an enormous increase in jewelry production.

In addition to precious stones, there was also great interest in gold jewelry; popular motifs for a pendant came mainly from the animal and plant world. In addition to the usual brooches and chains, people also adorned themselves with splendid hair ornaments; especially tiaras in the most sparkling colors were very popular with women.

The beginning of the so-called modern age was shaped by political currents, world wars and also artistic influences; these events have also had a major impact on jewelry. Abstract shapes and unusual materials come to the fore in jewelry production.

Today one can adorn oneself with all sorts; no part of the body is left out - not even with the latest jewelry creations in 3D or neon colors.

Jewelry has become a matter of course in many people's lives, and it is hard to imagine life without it. No matter where you look: it shines and sparkles on every ear and wrist. The ladies hardly do without the sparkling elements and thus follow a tradition that is thousands of years old and has undergone many changes over time.

Today the variety of jewelry reaches immeasurably and serves all tastes. Even today, many types of jewelry are still considered luxury items, but they are now a must-have for almost everyone.