The World History of Jewellery

Egyptian Jewellery

3000-5000 BC
 

They prefered luxury, rarity and workability of gold over other metals. Jewelry in Egypt began to symbolise power and Religious power in the comunity. Innovations that Ancient Egypt introduced to the art of jewel making managed to influence almost entire history of modern fashion.

Mesopotamian Jewellery

2000 BC
 

Jewlery making had become a significant craft in the cities of Sumer and Akkad. They put their jewelry in burials and contained gold, silver and semi-precious stones.

Development of Jewellery in Mesopotamia and Assyria played one of the key roles in the history of this ancient form of expression. Their civilization, fashionable trends and the way the used various raw materials to create timeless works of art.

Greek Jewellery

1600BC

Greeks started using gold and gems in their jewelry as well as shaped beads. They mastered coloured jewelry aswell as using amethist, pearls and emeralds.

The art of jewel making received much attention from Greek artisan over the several thousand years of their civilization. Their Jewellery and the way they managed to retain their unique styles even though the ages.

Indian Jewellery

With its 5000 year old uninterrupted and continuous development of arts, India represents one of the rare civilizations that managed to build very strong connection between daily life and Jewellery. 

The Indian subcontinent (encompassing India, Pakistan and other countries of South Asia) has a long jewellery history, which went through various changes through cultural influence and politics for more than 5,000–8,000 years. Because India had an abundant supply of precious metals and gems, it prospered financially through export and exchange with other countries. While European traditions were heavily influenced by waxing and waning empires, India enjoyed a continuous development of art forms for some 5,000 years.

Chinese Jewellery

 

Influence of Ancient Chinese art and Jewellery had very profound effect on the development of many civilizations in Asia.

The Chinese used silver in their jewellery more than gold. Blue kingfisher feathers were tied onto early Chinese jewellery and later, blue gems and glass were incorporated into designs. However, jade was preferred over any other stone. The Chinese revered jade because of the human-like qualities they assigned to it, such as its hardness, durability, and beauty.

The Chinese often placed their jewellery in their graves. Most Chinese graves found by archaeologistscontain decorative jewellery.

Roman Jewellery

100AD

The long reach of Roman Republic and later on Empire meant that their Jewellery style had numerous influences from many neighboring and conquered civilizations, but in spite of that Roman managed to forge their own unique style which remnants are still present in modern society.

The Romans used a diverse range of materials for their jewellery from their extensive resources across the continent. Although they used gold, they sometimes used bronze or bone, and in earlier times, glass beads & pearl. As early as 2,000 years ago, they imported Sri Lankansapphires and Indian diamonds and used emeralds and amber in their jewellery. In Roman-ruled England, fossilised wood called jet from Northern England was often carved into pieces of jewellery. The early Italians worked in crude gold and created clasps, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

Middle Ages Jewellery

700AD

Post-Roman Europe continued to develop jewellery making skills. The Celts and Merovingians in particular are noted for their jewellery, which in terms of quality matched or exceeded that of Byzantium. Clothing fasteners, amulets, and, to a lesser extent,signet rings, are the most common artefacts known to us. A particularly striking Celtic example is the Tara Brooch. The Torcwas common throughout Europe as a symbol of status and power. By the 8th century, jewelled weaponry was common for men, while other jewellery (with the exception of signet rings) seemed to become the domain of women. 

Renaissance Jewellery

1600AD

The Renaissance and exploration both had significant impacts on the development of jewellery in Europe. By the 17th century, increasing exploration and trade led to increased availability of a wide variety of gemstones as well as exposure to the art of other cultures. Whereas prior to this the working of gold and precious metal had been at the forefront of jewellery, this period saw increasing dominance of gemstones and their settings. 

Romanticism Jewellery

1700AD

Starting in the late 18th century, Romanticism had a profound impact on the development of western jewellery. Perhaps the most significant influences were the public’s fascination with the treasures being discovered through the birth of modern archaeology and a fascination with Medieval and Renaissance art. Changing social conditions and the onset of the Industrial Revolution also led to growth of a middle class that wanted and could afford jewellery. As a result, the use of industrial processes, cheaper alloys, and stone substitutes led to the development of paste or costume jewellery. Distinguished goldsmiths continued to flourish, however, as wealthier patrons sought to ensure that what they wore still stood apart from the jewellery of the masses, not only through use of precious metals and stones but also though superior artistic and technical work.

Art Nouveau Jewellery

1890AD

Art Nouveau jewellery encompassed many distinct features including a focus on the female form and an emphasis on colour, most commonly rendered through the use of enamelling techniques including basse-taille, champleve, cloisonné, and plique-à-jour. Motifs included orchids, irises, pansies, vines, swans, peacocks, snakes, dragonflies, mythological creatures, and the female silhouette.

Art Deco Jewellery

Growing political tensions, the after-effects of the war, and a reaction against the perceived decadence of the turn of the 20th century led to simpler forms, combined with more effective manufacturing for mass production of high-quality jewellery. Covering the period of the 1920s and 1930s, the style has become popularly known as Art Deco. 

Native American JEwellery

1800AD

Native American jewellery is the personal adornment, often in the forms of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, pins, brooches, labrets, and more, made by the Indigenous peoples of the United States. Native American jewellery reflects the cultural diversity and history of its makers. Native American tribes continue to develop distinct aesthetics rooted in their personal artistic visions and cultural traditions. Artists create jewellery for adornment, ceremonies, and trade. 

Pacific Jewellery

Jewellery making in the Pacific started later than in other areas because of recent human settlement. Early Pacific jewellery was made of bone, wood, and other natural materials, and thus has not survived. Most Pacific jewellery is worn above the waist, with headdresses, necklaces, hair pins, and arm and waist belts being the most common pieces.

Jewellery in the Pacific, with the exception of Australia, is worn to be a symbol of either fertility or power. Elaborate headdresses are worn by many Pacific cultures and some, such as the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea, wear certain headdresses once they have killed an enemy. Tribesman may wear boar bones through their noses.

Island jewellery is still very much primal because of the lack of communication with outside cultures. Some areas of Borneo and Papua New Guinea are yet to be explored by Western nations. However, the island nations that were flooded with Western missionaries have had drastic changes made to their jewellery designs. Missionaries saw any type of tribal jewellery as a sign of the wearer's devotion to paganism. Thus many tribal designs were lost forever in the mass conversion to Christianity.

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