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The Evolution Of Jewelry In Human Culture

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					        The Evolution Of Jewelry In Human Culture
Jewelry in one form or another has been part of the human culture almost since man has been in
existence. The very first jewelry known to man was made of shells, or animal claws or teeth and strung
with braided grass or twine and served either as prowess of a kill or as charms. Later jewelry made of
gold and gemstones was used as a form of currency and trade and as an outward display of wealth. In
some parts of the world, jewelry is still used as currency today.




It was the Egyptians who are credited with introducing jewelry in the form we think of jewelry today, as
this culture had skilled artisans whose job was to be the “jewelers” of their era. During this time, jewelry
makers refined their skills and talents and began perfecting a wide variety of styles and types of jewelry
and their influence is still seen in many of today's jewelry styles. Certain designs and gemstones were
believed to carry certain mystical powers so those who ruled or were of some powerful influence wore
much of the jewelry.

Greek and Roman jewelry was extremely varied in materials and style due to the fact that these
countries relied heavily on trade from other neighboring cultures. It is the Greek and Romans that are
attributed with the first cameos that remain popular today.
One of the most worn types of jewelry today in Western culture is the engagement ring. Engagement
rings as we know them today first came about around 1215, during the Medieval era, When Pope
Innocent III instituted a mandatory waiting period prior to marriage. During this time, the intention to
marry was signified by a ring, which except for the wealthiest was commonly a simple gold band.
However, the very rich and wealthy gave rings to their intended that consisted of metal bands bearing
gemstones.

Eventually, when more of the common people could afford to purchase rings with precious stones this
became the norm in many cultures. However, the most sought after stones for engagement rings were
diamonds, and due to the fact that these stones were extremely rare only the very wealthy could afford
these sought after gems.

With the discovery of diamond mines in Africa, diamonds became more readily available, and even
those people with modest means wanted their intended to wear these gemstones. Today, these stones
are the most common stones in engagement and anniversary rings as well as many wedding bands.

Ironically, while the variety and styles of jewelry has grown over the centuries, many of those first styles
of jewelry remain. Shell jewelry and beads made of shells are still popular around the world. The
bracelets one associates with the Egyptian culture are still worn by both modern women and some men
and cameos remain popular in necklaces as well as earrings and pins. Almost everyone owns two or
more rings these days and these rings are made from everything from wood, bone, and shells to gold,
platinum, and silver with assorted colors and types of gemstones gathered from around the world.

Engagement rings both plain, and those with diamonds and other precious gemstones are worn by
engaged women and even men throughout the world. While jewelry has evolved in human culture it
stills retains much of the form of those first pieces worn by ancient man.

				
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Description: Greek and Roman jewelry was extremely varied in materials and style due to the fact that these countries relied heavily on trade from other neighboring cultures.