History of Jewellery

Few days back I was admiring my newly crafted handmade necklaces. While admiring them I realised that jewelleries have travelled a lot of distance with humans. Jewelleries are as old as the recorded history in fact they were present even before the recorded history. Historians and researchers of human evolution have even proposed that even the cavemen used stones as jewellery. All this made me research a little bit on the history of jewellery and pen down my thoughts.

According to historians the origin of jewellery lies in a basic necessity of humans- protection from wildlife. The earliest cavemen used to wear sharpened stones so that in face of danger they had protection equipment at their disposal. Over the years, the protection equipment became a thing of pride. The one who had the most beautiful equipment became most influential. Probably this was the beginning of a habit which has not ceased to exist even today. That protection equipment were the first jewellery of mankind. The art of jewellery making evolved very rapidly. Very soon stones gave way to precious metals such as gold and silver for making jewellery. Gold, which was and is a rare metal, became the fascination of all jewellery makers.

Jewelleries became extremely complex and highly sophisticate din the medieval Europe. Copper joined the elite group of precious metals that were used for making jewelleries. It was in the medieval Europe where jewellery became thing of common man. Until then only kings and high order court dignitaries used to wear jewellery. The medieval Europe lasted till 1700 and was a great period for evolution of jewellery. 1700 to 1900 was the renaissance period of Europe. This period saw a revival of European art and culture. This period saw an even greater evolution of jewelleries. This was the period in which the design of the jewellery to the front seat and the material too k a back seat. Even kings and queens were wearing jewellery made up of nonprecious metals.

The modern era of jewellery is all about the design. All the great designers of this era have made the material of jewellery totally irrelevant. What is more important about this era is that many designers have tested un-conventional designs. We have had period of thin designs and then there were periods of heavy design. Modern era is still a work in progress and we are yet to see many great works.