History Of Fine Jewelry

Jewellery is one of the oldest types of archaeological artifacts – with 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells thought to be the oldest known jewelry. The basic forms of jewellery vary between cultures but are often extremely long-lived. Modern jewelry and jewelry-making methods are the result of thousands of years of cultural exchange and technological development. The word jewellery itself is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French “jouel“, and beyond that, to the Latin word “jocale“, meaning plaything. In British English, Indian English, New Zealand English, Hiberno-English, Australian English, and South African English it is spelled jewellery, while the spelling is jewelry in American English. Both are used in Canadian English, though jewelry prevails by a two to one margin. In French and a few other European languages, the equivalent term, joaillerie, may also cover decorated metalwork of precious metals such as objets d’art and church items, not just objects worn on the person.

The first known examples of jewelry originated in Africa in the form of shell jewelry, like the use of snail shells and Ostrich eggshells, which date back nearly 75,000 years. Later, early jewelry was made from bone, teeth, stones, and similar materials. Though evidence of jewelry existed, it wasn’t until 3,000-5,000 BC in Ancient Egypt that fine jewelry-making was truly established. Gold was used in metalworking as early as 3,000 BC in Egypt. Ancient Egypt, famous for the extravagant life of the Pharaoh, is known for its rich design, artwork, and opulence. The use of bracelets, necklaces, collars and more all in gold aligns with the extravagance of the time. These elegant pieces we adorn ourselves with has been very significant in the culture of the different societies in the world. Different cultures and nations created a significant mark in the history of jewelry design, which includes the Greeks, Asians, and the Egyptians.

Gold and Platinum has always been the most highly prized metal in the fine jewelry world and remains so today. It is said to symbolize a special connection to the sun and the moon and help promote health in mind, body, and spirit. In creating fine jewellery, diamonds, gemstones, coins, or other precious items are often used, and they are typically set into precious metals. Gold ranges from 12 carats to 24 carats and platinum alloys range from 900 (90% pure) to 950 (95.0% pure). The silver used in jewelry is usually sterling silver, or 92.5% fine silver.

Diamonds have been the most used form of fine jewelry – more than any other stone – and, of course, the most sought-after precious stone since the beginning of the stone age. Diamonds were first mined in India. Pliny may have mentioned them, although there is some debate as to the exact nature of the stone he referred to as Adamas. In 2005, Australia, Botswana, Russia, and Canada ranked among the primary sources of gemstone diamond production. There are negative consequences of the diamond trade in certain areas. Diamonds mined during the recent civil wars in Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and other nations have been labelled as blood diamonds when they are mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency.

The British crown jewels contain the Cullinan Diamond, part of the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found (1905) at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g). Now popular in engagement rings, this usage dates back to the marriage of Maximilian I to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. A popular style is the diamond solitaire, which features a single large diamond mounted prominently. Within solitaire, there are 3 categories in which a ring can be classified into: prong, bezel, and tension setting.Many precious and semiprecious stones are used for fine jewelry as well.  Among them are emerald, ruby, amber, jade, sapphire, and pearls.

The history of fine jewelry is long and goes back many years, with many different uses among different cultures. It has endured for thousands of years and has provided various insights into how ancient cultures worked and will provide information to coming future generations about the present.

In summary, jewelry has been and will continue to be a consistent feature of human civilization. Whether simple or elaborate in design, the only limit in creativity is our own imagination. Have a design in your mind you’d like to see brought to life? Contact Lao Pride Inc today; we can do everything from a hand sketch and computer rendering to a final product, making your dream jewelry design a reality!


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