History of Jewelry
The word "jewelry" is derived from 1) the Latin word ‘jocale,’ meaning "plaything," and; 2) the word jewel, derived from the Old French word "jouel." The word "jewelry" (spelled jewellery in European English) describes any piece of precious material used to adorn one's self. Jewelry is a universal form of adornment. Jewelry made from shells, stone and bones survives from prehistoric times. It may have been worn as a protection from the dangers of life or as a mark of status or rank.
Nowadays ‘Jewelry as a form of personal adornment’ holds true but it being a precious material is not essential. Jewelry in earlier times was made from any material, usually gemstones, precious metals like gold, silver, copper, beads or shells. Some of these materials are even used today and some of the materials that have been added in jewelry like platinum, sterling silver has increased its brilliance. In this world of technology and rapidly changing fashion these are not the only materials from which jewelry is being made. Jewelry today is even made from cheap materials like plastic, acrylic, wood, stainless steel, etc. - the purpose is to look appealing. Factors affecting the choice of materials include cultural differences and its availability. Jewelry is appreciated for its material properties, patterns, or designer look.
Uses of Jewelry
Humans have used jewelry for many reasons:
· functional, generally to fix clothing or hair in place
· as a marker of social status and personal status, as with a wedding ring
· as a signifier of some form of affiliation, whether ethnic, religious or social
· to provide talismanic protection (in the form of amulets)
· as an artistic display
· as a carrier or symbol of personal meaning – such as love, mourning, or even luck.
Most cultures at some point have kept large amounts of wealth stored in the form of jewelry. Many cultures store wedding dowries in the form of jewelry. Jewelry has been used as currency or barter for goods; an example being the use of slave beads.
Many items of jewelry, such as brooches and buckles, originated as purely functional items; later evolving into decorative items as their functionality diminished.
Jewelry can also symbolize group membership, for example the Christian crucifix, the Jewish Star of David, or wedding bands worn by married couples.
Wearing of amulets and devotional medals to provide protection or ward off evil is common in some cultures. These may take the form of symbols (such as the ankh), stones, plants, animals, and body parts.
Jewelry used in body modification is usually plain. For example, Padaung women in Myanmar place large golden rings around their necks. A woman will also wear many rings on her calves too. Some necks modified like this can reach 10-15 inches long. Lip plates are worn by the African Mursi and Sara people, as well as some South American peoples.
Jamaican duty-free shops sell fine jewelry, from world renowned designers such as Carrera y Carrera, Gucci, Swiss Army and Bulgari. These include gold, ruby, diamonds, emeralds and a host of other precious gems.
Indigenous Jamaican jewelry is popular with visitors as they are creative, showcasing the spirit of Jamaicans. Jamaica has talented jewelers who use the island's natural resources to make beautiful jewelry that is known world-wide.
Jamaican jewelry is not only creative and beautiful, it is also environmentally friendly. The jewelry is mainly made from natural resources obtained on the island, such as beads, coconut shells, coral reefs, straws, feathers, buttons, hemps and seashells. These materials are used to make jewelry items such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, bangles and rings. This jewelry is popular with tourists as well as Jamaicans.
Metal jewelry is also prevalent in the form of necklaces, pendants and bracelets usually with a cotton cloth base for adornment. These jewelries are hand crafted by talented Jamaicans with a keen eye for detail and beauty. Your initials can also be engraved on metal jewelry as a keepsake - memories of a Jamaican trip.
In addition to these popular jewelries, the latest fad has been beads in different styles, sizes and colors. These have become so popular that they are worn by in both casual and professional settings and are readily available on the international market.
Today, Jamaican jewelry can be had from anywhere in the world - thanks to the power of the internet!