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The Ancient History Of Jewelry

Jun 17, 2008
Like many customs in our civilization, jewelry has a long and varied history that in some ways has changed little, and in other ways, changed significantly.

The notion of jewelry has existed for thousands of years, dating back to humanity's ancestors, the Cro-Magnons. The Cro-Magnons, over 40,000 years ago, used to make crude necklaces out of bone, teeth or stone. One archaeological dig in Russia found some necklaces made from the tusks of Woolly Mammoths.

Often, jewelry was made to show a sense of power, usually by a tribal chief or shaman. This concept of jewelry related to power would be a constant throughout human history and the defining characteristic of the ornaments.

With the dawn of civilization, the jewelry worn by those in power became more beautiful and difficult to obtain.

The ancient Egyptians preferred to wear gold jewelry, which they felt symbolized the pharaoh's power, as well as the religious power of the priests.

The Egyptians did not prefer to wear gemstones, and instead wore variations of colored glass because they liked the colors that could be created on the glass.

Even after death, the Egyptians would leave jewelry with the pharaohs and nobility to take with them to the afterlife. Unfortunately, grave robbers have robbed historians of many of the examples of Ancient Egyptian jewelry artifacts.

In Assyria, 4,000 years ago, men and women both wore large amounts of jewelry, including ankle bracelets, amulets, necklaces and various seals.

The Greeks, unlike their predecessors, hardly ever wore jewelry, choosing instead to wear it only on special occasions.

The Romans were similar in their practice, and like the Greeks, only wore jewelry on special occasions. If they wore it in public, it was usually to ward of the Evil Eye. In Roman-ruled Britain, fossilized wood would often be carved into jewelry for the nobility on the island.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the crafting of jewelry continued to grow and become more complex. The Celts enjoyed creating heavily artistic jewelry that often featured religious symbols.

As well, during the Middle Ages, jeweled weapons became more and more popular among high-ranking soldiers. These weapons displayed a class distinction and prestige on the battlefield.

High-ranking religious officials in the church would also wear gold and jewel encrusted rings to denote their status in the church. Jewelry would continue to evolve through the Middle Ages until the Renaissance, when the jewelry industry changed forever. That is a topic for another time.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for flowers and gifts. When shopping for flowers and gifts, we recommend you shop only at the best online stores that specialize in Gifts of ancient jewelry, Ancient Jewelry and flowers for a gift, and
Antique Jewelry.
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