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History Jewellery

The History Of Jewellery

‘The word “jewelry” is derived from the Latin word ‘jocale,’ meaning “plaything,” and the word jewel, which was anglicized during the 13th century from the Old French word “jouel.” The word “jewelry” (spelled jewellery in European English) is used to describe any piece of precious material (gemstones, noble metals, etc.) used to adorn one’s self’.

As the earliest Indian history the art of jewellery, jewellery making & jewellery design is more than 10000 billion years old.And these things (jewellery) used to decorative human body on daily wear or on other occasion or any other purpose, are called Aabhushan, Alankar, Aabharan or Daagina.

Nowadays however, ‘Jewellery as a form of personal adornment’ holds true but it being a precious is not essential. Jewellery in earlier times was made from any material, usually gemstones, precious metals like gold, silver, copper etc., beads or shells, some of these materials are even used today without a doubt and some of the materials that have been added in jewellery like platinum, sterling silver has increased its brilliance, but in this world of technology and rapid changing fashion these are not the only materials from which jewellery is being made. Jewellery nowadays 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 the availability of the materials. Jewellery may be appreciated because of its material properties, its patterns, or for its designer look.


The first jewellery that man ever wore is lost in the depth of pre-historical times and it is impossible to trace them. So, research hasn’t yet showed if jewellery use preceded the use of clothes or the opposite. Jewellery in its most basic form has been used since the dawn of man, in conjunction with the earliest-know use of both clothing, and tools.

Until recently, researchers had believed that the ability to use/appreciate symbolism did not develop until humans had migrated to the continent of Europe some 35,000 to 40,000 years ago, but it now appears as though the spark of creativity was ignited far earlier than previously believed. The first gemstones were probably “gathered” in much the same manner as was food. It is likely that gems were found inadvertently at first, maybe while searching for food by picking through gem-bearing alluvial gravels in a dry river-bead. What must these primitive humans have thought of these dazzling, yet seemingly useless objects — harder than any other naturally-occurring material, and capturing and possessing the warmth of fire, the brilliance of the sun, or the blueness of the sea and sky. Jewellery was used by early man has been made out of almost every natural material known to mankind.

Before written language, or the spoken word, there was jewellery. In the late 1800s, British archaeologist Archibald Campbell Carlyle said of primitive man “the first spiritual want of a barbarous man is decoration”. More than just a trinket from the past, jewellery, like art, is a window into the soul of humanity, and a poignant reminder of that which separates humankind from the animal kingdom — a desire to capture the essence of beauty, to possess its secrets, and to unlock its mysteries.

History of Jewellery

The history of jewellery is a long one, with many different uses among different cultures. It has endured for thousands of years and has provided various insights into how ancient cultures worked.

As Indian earliest history; when the country called Hindustan – before Chakravarti Maharaja Bharat (As per Indian history the first Emperor of the world, who become Emperor before more than 10000 billion years ago. And Chakravarti means the Emperor of the whole world.) the Indians well known with the art of Metal working, Stone cutting, Stone setting, Filigree work, Minakari (Enamelling), Kundan work, Embossing & other art of jewellery. Not only have this art of Metal working, but they well known with Jewellery Designing. By metal working and the art of jewellery designing they made many types of ornaments like Crowns, Rani-Haar (long necklace), Hansali or Hansdi (circular neck ornament), Kanthi, Magmala (neck ornament with small gold balls), Necklaces, Tanmaniya (Mangalsutra), Pendants, Earrings, Tops, Karnaful (a type of neck ornament), Zumar, Suraliya, Thumb rings, Finger rings, Binchhua (a type of finger ornament), Toe rings, Bangles, Bracelets, Kadas, Kadandias, Chuda, Pachheli, Hathful, Punchiya, Armlets, Armbands, Maag Tika, Borlas, Dots, Chains, Nose pins, Nose-rings, Nath chains (worn with nose ring), Ear chains, Waist-belts, Anklets, Zanzar, Toda… there is no limitation of the jewellery they made. Not only jewellery but many ornaments pieces, architectural constructions prove that the art of that time is not comparable with any other culture. Earliest Indian gives all this knowledge to the world. . (more about Indian Jewellery…)  (Link to Indian Jewellery page)

The people in foreign countries had no idea about the art of jewellery, Jewellery Designing and metal working techniques like Hindustan (India). The first jewellery was made by them from readily available natural materials including animal teeth, bone, nuts, peculiar rocks; fruit stonesvarious types of shells, carved stone and wood. It is believed that jewellery started out as a functional item used to fasten articles of clothing together, and was later adapted for use as an object for purely aesthetic ornamentation, or for use as a spiritual and religious symbol.

Prolific jewellery making began with the ancestors of Homo sapiens. Over 40,000 years ago the Cro-Magnons began to migrate from the cradle of civilization in central Africa to the Middle East, the Indus Valley, and to the continent of Europe. As these early humans travelled the land they collected objects of curiosity, fashioning them into jewellery which would tell the story of their journey.

The Indian subcontinent has the longest continuous legacy of jewellery making anywhere since the time of Chakravarti Maharaja Bharat (As per Indian history the first Emperor of the world, who becomes Emperor before more than 10000 billion years ago). While Western traditions were heavily influenced by waxing and waning empires, India enjoyed a continuous development of art forms from the time of human being. (more about Indian Jewellery…)  (Link to Indian Jewellery page)

The first signs of jewellery came from the people in Africa. Perforated beads made from snail shells have been found dating to 75,000 years ago at Blombos Cave. In Kenya, at EnkapuneYa Muto, beads made from perforated ostrich egg shells have been dated to more than 40,000 years ago.

Outside of Africa, the Cro-Magnons had crude necklaces and bracelets of bone, teeth, berries, and stone hung on pieces of string or animal sinew, or pieces of carved bone used to secure clothing together. In some cases, jewellery had shell or mother-of-pearl pieces. In southern Russia, carved bracelets made of mammoth tusk have been found.

The first signs of established jewellery making in Ancient Egypt was around 3,000-5,000 years ago. The Egyptians preferred the luxury, rarity, and workability of gold over other metals. Predynastic Egypt had Jewellery in Egypt soon began to symbolize power and religious power in the community. Although it was worn by wealthy Egyptians in life, it was also worn by them in death, with jewellery commonly placed among grave goods. (more about Egyptian Jewellery…) (Link to Egyptian Jewellery page)

By approximately 4,000 years ago, jewellery-making had become a significant craft in the cities of Sumer and Akkad. The most significant archaeological evidence comes from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, where hundreds of burials dating 2900–2300 BC were unearthed; tombs such as that of Puabi contained a multitude of artifacts in gold, silver, and semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli crowns embellished with gold figurines, close-fitting collar necklaces, and jewel-headed pins. In Assyria, men and women both wore extensive amounts of jewellery, including amulets, ankle bracelets, heavy multi-strand necklaces, and cylinder seals.

Although jewellery work was abundantly diverse in earlier times, especially among the barbarian tribes such as the Celts, when the Romans conquered most of Europe, jewellery was changed as smaller factions developed the Roman designs. The most common artifact of early Rome was the brooch, which was used to secure clothing together. The Romans used a diverse range of materials for their jewellery from their extensive resources across the continent. Although they used gold, they sometimes used bronze or bone, and in earlier times, glass beads & pearl. As early as 2,000 years ago, they imported Sri Lankan sapphires and Indian diamonds and used emeralds and amber in their jewellery. In Roman-ruled England, fossilized wood called jet from Northern England was often carved into pieces of jewellery. The early Italians worked in crude gold and created clasps, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They also produced larger pendants that could be filled with perfume.

The Renaissance and exploration both had significant impacts on the development of jewellery in Europe. By the 17th century, increasing exploration and trade led to increased availability of a wide variety of gemstones as well as exposure to the art of other cultures. Whereas prior to this the working of gold and precious metal had been at the forefront of jewellery, this period saw increasing dominance of gemstones and their settings. A fascinating example of this is the Cheapside Hoard, the stock of a jeweller hidden in London during the Commonwealth period and not found again until 1912. It contained Colombian emerald, topaz, amazonite from Brazil, spinel, iolite, and chrysoberyl from Sri Lanka, ruby from India, Afghani lapis lazuli, Persian turquoise, Red Sea peridot, as well as Bohemian and Hungarian opal, garnet, and amethyst. Large stones were frequently set in box-bezels on enamelled rings.

Uses of Jewellery

The psychological reasons which led to the use of jewellery the very first time is unknown whether it was to attract the opposite sex, the desire to be more beautiful or the need to be protected with the help of talismans. Indeed, it has been proved that jewellery was used to attract good powers or to turn away the bad.

Jewellery over the period of time has been used for a number of reasons,