+44 (0) 1568 797723

The ESSENTIAL History of Jewellery

chunky silver mens chain braceletWe sell a vast amount of men's jewellery and women's jewellery but where in fact does the word jewellery originate? Well, in fact, its real meaning is a plaything, derived from the Latin language jocale, but it was the stylish French that used the word "jouel" describing anything made from precious stones or metal and used to wear about your person that first reinterpreted the meaning into its modern form today. It is ironic to think that jewellery has been around in its most basic format at the same time as tools discovered by early man. Jewellery was an integral part of ancient cultures, and so on to this day, people want to wear jewellery designed primarily for them. In the Neolithic era, men would gather unusual pieces of stone or wood to create intricate jewellery, believing that this jewellery would protect the wearer from evil spirits. The ancestors of Homo Sapiens began making jewellery over forty thousand years ago when they started living in Europe. The dawn of mass jewellery making started. Man-made jewellery started with the idea of using shells as a form of symbolism dating back tens of thousands of years. From these humble beginnings, jewellery has developed and evolved into the many choices we have today. However, the tribal influences remain when it comes to design.

The earliest jewellery in recorded history

Many different types of material were used to create jewellery including teeth and bones from animals, shells, wood and stone carved into shapes by hand. In time these were eclipsed by precious metals such as silver, but the ancient inspirations remain intact to this day with the use of languages engraved into modern jewellery such as Ogham and Runic. Initially, jewellery was quite crude in design and became created by prehistoric man using many differing materials. The earliest jewellery known to man came made from shells. They were discovered in Africa and thought to be over one hundred thousand years old. Today's modern fashion trends influenced by the worn look in both clothing and jewellery use specialist techniques to create an appearance of ageing with distressed texturing and silver oxidising. The fundamental reason that jewellery became invented initially was entirely a practical one in pins used to fasten clothing together securely. It was after this that the items came designed with adornment in mind. Decorating the body with silver became a fast-growing trend for everyone. Jewellery has always been worn as a symbol of success and continues to be so to this day. Jewellery was also worn by men to ward off evil and protect against medical conditions.

Men's jewellery

Jewellery made from metals first appeared about seven thousand years ago with copper being the first available. Nowadays silver jewellery is the most popular for men, but when it was first available on the high street, many men considered it effeminate. This way of thinking however changed in The Forties with the advent of modern designs especially created for men. The signet ring is a classic case for example. Men's jewellery especially has gone through quite a significant change over the last few decades starting off in the nineteen forties with the introduction of retro-modern styling choices using curves. These curves have evolved into more organic styling ideas, and today's modern jewellery has taken this approach even further. The history of men's jewellery continued to develop through the hippie era in the late sixties influenced by American crafts from the native red Indians. From then on, in the seventies, sterling silver became fashionable for men and is the number one choice for customers.

Additional reading

The ESSENTIAL History of Earrings