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JEWELRY

Jewellery or jewelry[1] is a form of personal adornment, manifesting itself as necklaces, rings, brooches, earrings, and bracelets. Jewellery may be made from any material, usually gemstones, precious metals, or shells. Factors affecting the choice of materials include cultural differences and the availability of the materials. Jewellery may be appreciated because of its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols. Jewellery differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to look appealing. Items such as belts and handbags are considered to be accessories rather than jewellery.

The word jewellery is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicized from the Old French "jouel" circa the 13th century.[2] Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewellery is one of the oldest forms of body adornment; recently-found 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells are thought to be the oldest known jewellery.[3]

Jewellery is sometimes regarded as a way of showing wealth and might also possess some minimal functionality, such as holding a garment together or keeping hair in place. It has from very early times been regarded as a form of personal adornment. The first pieces of jewellery were made from natural materials, such as bone, animal teeth, shell, wood and carved stone. Some jewellery throughout the ages may have specifically been as an indication of a social group. More exotic jewellery is often for wealthier people, with its rarity increasing its value. Due to its personal nature and its indication of social class, some cultures established traditions of burying the dead with their jewellery.

Jewellery has been made to adorn nearly every body part, from hairpins to toe rings and many more types of jewellery. While traditional jewellery is usually made with gemstones and precious metals, such as silver or gold, there is also a growing demand for art jewellery where design and creativity is prized above material value. In addition, there is the less costly costume jewellery, made from lower value materials and often mass-produced. Other variations include wire sculpture (wrap) jewellery, using anything from base metal wire with rock tumbled stone to precious metals and precious gemstones.

Jewellery has been used for a number of reasons:

  • Currency, wealth display and storage,
  • Functional use (such as clasps, pins and buckles)
  • Symbolism (to show membership or status)
  • Protection (in the form of amulets and magical wards),[4]
  • Artistic display

Most cultures have at some point had a practice of keeping large amounts of wealth stored in the form of jewellery. Numerous cultures move wedding dowries in the form of jewellery or create jewellery as a means to store or display coins. Alternatively, jewellery has been used as a currency or trade good; an example being the use of slave beads.[citation needed]

Many items of jewellery, such as brooches and buckles, originated as purely functional items, but evolved into decorative items as their functional requirement diminished.[5]

Jewellery can also be symbolic of group membership, as in the case of the Christian crucifix or Jewish Star of David, or of status, as in the case of chains of office, or the Western practice of married people wearing a wedding ring.

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, body parts (such as the Khamsa), or glyphs (such as stylised versions of the Throne Verse in Islamic art).[6]

Although artistic display has clearly been a function of jewellery from the very beginning, the other roles described above tended to take primacy.[citation needed] It was only in the late 19th century, with the work of such masters as Peter Carl Fabergé and René Lalique, that art began to take primacy over function and wealth.[citation needed] This trend has continued into modern times, expanded upon by artists such as Robert Lee Morris, Ed Levin, and Alberto Repossi.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
 
             
 
             
 
 
 
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