All that glitters…
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, or so goes the quote that describes woman’s love for jewelry. Be it necklace, ring or earring, as long as its stylish, make it rain! But the kind the jewelry we see today is not what it used to be when the concept first came to light.
The word ‘jewelry’ was derived from the word jewel, which was anglicized from the old French word ‘jouel’ and beyond that to the Nation word ‘jocale’ meaning plaything. It’s a broad term that comprises decorative items like rings, necklace, earrings, pendants, and bracelets among others. For centuries metals and gemstones were used to make jewelry, but flowers and beads were also used.
The first signs of jewelry came from Africa. Perforated shell jewelry made from sea shells were found dating back to 75,000 years ago at Blombos Cave
. The oldest jewelry known to man is a 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells. In Kenya, beads made of perforated ostrich egg shells have been found dating back to more than 40,000 years ago. Later on, early humans in Europe used jewelry of bone, teeth and stone hung on pieces of string.
Jewelry then evolved to much finer designs. Designs differed from region to region and materials used too were widely different. During the Renaissance period, jewelry became opulent, bright and enamel based. Later, pearl based jewelry, pieces with floral designs, and intricate baroque work, among others, became popular. Soon enough, jewelry was also being sewn into dresses and shoes of the aristocrats.
Precious stones such as diamonds are one of the major stones that are used for making jewelry. In 2005, Australia, certain African states, Russia and Canada were among the major exporters of diamonds to the world. Other gems like emerald, ruby, sapphire, and amethyst are also used. Base metals like gold, silver and platinum are used to put those stones on to make the perfect jewelry.
Of course, jewelry has evolved through the ages and modern-day jewelry designs are sleeker and made with sophisticated machinery as compared with its older cousins. Diamonds, gold and platinum hold the highest value of popularity among wearers for both men and women.
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