Jewellery significant role in all societies of people, which

Jewellery is a universal form of adornment which dates back
to very early dates. Jewellery began when time began and when humankind first
existed. Jewellery has served for many different reasons and in many ways,
which of course has changed over time and was not made like it is today and for
the same purpose. Some jewellery was made as a functional object, and still is
today. Examples of some of the different uses for jewellery include; jewellery used
for protection, some to show off a person’s wealth and others as a mark of
status and power within society. Jewellery has evolved in many ways over time,
and different groups of people from the Egyptians to the Romans have all worn
it for different reasons. Jewellery has played a significant role in all societies
of people, which I shall explore in this development of work.


The earliest findings of jewellery were around 25,000 years
ago. The first piece discovered was a very simple necklace, which was found in
a cave in Monaco. Nobody knew what this necklace signified, whether it was just
an accessory or if it had any meaning, and we still cannot be sure. All we can
do is imagine, try to understand the ways in which people thought and the ways
they lived in those days as a way of trying to establish what they may have
needed jewellery for. Some of the other earliest traces of jewellery that have
been found can be traced back to civilisations from the Mediterranean which is
now known as Iran around 3,000 to 400 BC. The jewellery that can be traced back
to this era is every type of jewellery worn from necklaces, rings, earrings,
crowns, brooches and headdresses.

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In early societies, jewellery was worn as a lucky charm to
protect people against illness and bad luck. It is believed that people wore
jewellery due to their belief that jewellery had magical properties and could
help to protect them. When researching, there are many stories throughout time
of people finding fortune and luck from jewellery and gemstones, for example
symbolic jewellery which was believed to give the wearer control over different
aspects of life such as wealth, love and fertility. Another purpose, which came
later, for the wearing of jewellery was to show commitment, which is where the
idea of wearing a ring on your fourth finger on your left hand came from to
show your commitment to your significant other half. This finger on your left
hand is now commonly known as your ‘ring finger’. Similarly, slaves were made
to wear bracelets to show who they belonged to, like the commitment but without
choice, making them seem more like property to a person of suggested higher


The Egyptians were big on wearing jewellery and through
research you can find a great deal of information about their jewellery wearing
and why they wore it. The Egyptians were big believers in types of jewellery,
such as stones and gemstones, bringing about good luck and having magical
powers. Many museums in the UK now exhibit the Egyptians, and many have large
collections of Egyptian jewellery. For example, the World Museum in Liverpool
has a large collection dedicated to ancient Egypt with 16,000 objects, of which
many are pieces of jewellery, making it one of the largest collections in Great
Britain. Egyptian jewellery was beautiful and full of colour. The materials
commonly used were copper and gold wire, coloured glass beads, gemstones and
colourfully painted clay beads. The Egyptians made the most of the resources that
were available to them and experimented with many different mediums. Wide collared
necklaces were very popular, often with large gemstones or beads for decoration.
Along with these rings, earrings and bracelets were also very popular. The
bracelets were worn not just at the wrist as they are today but also on the upper
arm and around the ankles which was different. Some of the jewellery was made
of faience, which is a ceramic material made out of natural materials, such as
crushes quartz, and then after covered with a coloured glaze, usually green or
blue. The Egyptians used jewellery for adornment, social status and protection.
Gold was the most popular metal to be used to make jewellery and the most
popular metal to wear for both the living and the deceased. This was because it
was suggested that the gold was blessed by God and therefore became symbolic
within religion in the ancient Egyptian era. Gold was used for all religious
objects from statues to temples. It was believed that gold was the flesh of the
gods because it was not tarnished as a result of air or moisture, unlike
silver. Silver was the most popular in the beginning when the Egyptians first
began experimenting with jewellery making and wearing, but gold soon took over.
Much of the Egyptians jewellery often included the ankh, which represented the
symbol of life for the Egyptians. This symbol was not just use in jewellery but
also in hieroglyphics and in designs. Historians and researchers are not quite
sure exactly what the ankh meant to the Egyptians or what it symbolised but
what they do know is that they were often put in the tombs with the deceased,
which may suggest that it was the symbol for the key that opened the door to
the afterlife. What researchers do know is that the Egyptians were very fond of
using certain objects to represent and symbolise important things. Another
commonly found symbolic feature was the scarab, which is a carving of a small
beetle. This holy beetle was regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt and have
become an important source of information for historians and archaeologists of
the ancient world. Along with these, another well-known feature of Egyptian
jewellery was the vulture which represented the goddess of Egypt, Nekhbet.


Jewellery also played a significant role in Greek society as
far back as 1200 BC. Greek jewellery was rich and reflected the success of Greek
society. The Greek jewellery style followed their beliefs in the gods and
symbols. The Greeks used materials such as simple stone clay and bones in the
designs of their jewellery. At the beginning, their designs were very basic
with the purpose of just being a form of self-expression and decoration but
later these designs became more and more complicated and jewellery then began
to reflect the wealth and power of those with higher status such as rulers. In ancient
Greece jewellery was viewed as a symbol of nit just power and social status but
also as a way of warding off evil and as a celebration of the gods. Unlike the
Egyptians, it was mainly the women that wore the jewellery in Greek times,
whereas in ancient Egypt it was the Egyptian pharaohs that showed off their
power and status by wearing heavy gold and bright jewellery. Although the Greeks
got many of their techniques for making jewellery from the likes of Egypt, they
managed to keep their designs very different and unique of style, which
remained unchanged and similar for many centuries that followed. The primary
material used in Greek jewellery making was different metals, mostly gold, but
also silver, bronze and lead, as well as various alloys. Carefully crafted
rings, necklaces and pendants were the main types of jewellery worn throughout
the Greek period. The coming of the Golden Age of Greece was a huge milestone
in the making and design of Greek jewellery.1 At
this time, the culture blossomed and enabled the advancement of jewel making
technology. The Greeks could now use moulds and thin gold leafs which enabled
them to manufacture some antique pieces of jewellery that have been kept and
are preserved today. These pieces of Greek jewellery have been regarded as
masterpieces. Their designs combined both gemstones with the use of gold. The most
common and popular gemstones used were emeralds, amethysts and pearls. 2 Jewellery
was often a very sentimental thing to the Greeks and was the type of item they
would often pass down through generations. Jewellery was also occasionally used
as an offering to the gods as it was seen as being valuable.


The Romans jewellery was very advanced in comparison to the
other civilizations I have researched. This was due to the fact they had
extensive access to many resources and raw materials due to their knowledge of
all the different civilizations that lived around and near them such as
Egyptians, Greeks, Celts and other European territories. Rome became the centre
for goldsmiths’ workshops because of how advanced the jewellery making and
designs were. The jewellery that was made during the Roman Empire is today
considered to be of a very high grade, both in terms of their designs and manufacturing
processes, and has a lot of worth. In comparison to the likes of Greek
jewellery and Egyptian jewellery, Roman jewellery was much simpler. One of the
most commonly worn piece of jewellery in Roman times was the brooch which was
worn and used to secure clothing together. Rather than being just about
decoration, the Romans jewellery was worn more for a purpose, such as why the
brooch was worn. The only piece of jewellery that was considered as acceptable
for men to wear were rings. These rings worn by the men were to suggest their
rank or status. The Romans also adopted the idea from the Egyptians that other
pieces of jewellery, such as earrings, bracelets and amulets, could act as a
form of protection from evil spirits and curses. Designs were often imprinted
into their jewellery, usually animals, commonly coiling snakes which symbolized
immortality which became very important to the Romans.


The development of jewellery in Mesopotamia was interesting
in that it was based on humans need to express themselves. Many aspects came
into play with the designing and jewellery making process such as technology,
religion and science. During this time, there was a rise in royalty and
nobility so showcasing a person’s power, wealth and religious beliefs was
important in jewellery making as wearing something fancy was a good way to do
so and boasted this. Mesopotamian culture first started to take an interest in jewellery
making around 4000 years ago. The craft of jewellery making became very popular
and received a lot of attention. The most popular decorative items worn in
Mesopotamia were bracelets, hair rings, earrings and hair accessories. All of these
were worn by both men and women. The people of this time were a combination of
both silver and gold metals and, unlike the Egyptians, neither of these two metals
marked anymore wealth and value than the other. Because many of the precious
materials such as metal and gemstones could not be found in Mesopotamia,
jewellery makers had them imported from surrounding countries, such as Egypt
and Persia. They also had ivory and beads which they would have imported from
as far as India, which was approximately 1500 miles away, which didn’t matter
because these materials were very important to jewellery makers.


Jewellery is still a very popular piece of adornment today,
and although it does still vary between different countries and parts of the
world, the variation today tends to be just of the way it is made and materials
used. Some of the most popular types of jewellery making include Perspex, which
is a solid plastic in which you can cut shapes and join elements together to
create designs. Another is stone setting which is a process when you set stones
into silver using the soldering process. One other popular process of jewellery
making is fashion jewellery, also known as costume jewellery, which is the most
commonly worn type of jewellery, which combines fabrics with beads and metals.
This style of jewellery making has proven very popular and is found in many
stores from leading jewellers such as H. Samuel and Swarovski, which are
slightly higher priced than other retailers such as Debenhams and Topshop which
also stock this style of jewellery. It is known for being made with inexpensive
materials and imitation gems but is popular in the fashion industry due to its
affordability. Different types of popular jewellery materials include wax carving,
fused glass, resin and polymer clay.


Costume jewellery is the style of jewellery making I’ve
chosen for my craft. Costume jewellery manufacturers offer consumers the same
benefit of fashionable jewellery while maintaining a budget due to its affordable
prices. It is said that this type of jewellery mimics the appearance of finer
pieces by using less expensive materials. Fine jewellery can be expensive
because it uses precious gemstones and metals that are quite valuable. Costume jewellery
substitute these materials with plated metals and fake gems to make the
jewellery look expensive without paying the prices of fine jewellery.