The First to be Jeweled

The Prehistoric peoples were the first to make and wear jewelry before cave drawings ever existed. Usually these jewelry pieces were made from natural materials such as feathers, bones, shells and colored pebbles. These colored pebbles were essentially gemstones. Diamonds weren’t popular until someone learned how to cut them to show off their beauty.

The earliest finding of a piece of jewelry was dated around 25,000 years ago and was a necklace made of fish bones, found in a cave in Monaco. No one really knows what this necklace had signified then but it could have been of many things such as a wedding ceremony, a religious ritual, or for funerary purposes.  However, what we do know is that the first adornments were derived from hunting; the teeth, bones, claws, horns, fur, etc. Basically all of the “butchers leavings”. These were strung from plant materials and worn as necklaces. They believed that wearing these trophies would bring them good luck on the next hunt.

Different culture and civilizations wore their jewelry for their own reasons. In fact, in the 1600-1700's, the Baroque Period, very few men wore jewelry and necklaces for women were considered to be unsophisticated. It wasn't until later in the century, after the invention of new diamond cutting techniques, priority was, for the first time, given to the jewels themselves, not their settings; it was common for jewels to be pinned to black velvet ribbons.

By the Bronze Age, metallic jewelry had replaced pre-metallic jewelry and were reserved only for the wealthy class. Necklaces were now made of precious metals with inset stones such as carnelian, lapis lazuli, agate and gold, which was also made into gold chains. The wealthy also wore beads of agate, pearl, carnelian, amethyst and rock crystal; also known as quartz. These stones were also turned into amulets to protect against evil or envious spirits, bad luck or illness. They were said to bring good health, good fortune, fertility, and love. Learn more about gemstones and their meanings here.

Today, since the 1900's, Chanel was one of many brands who popularized costume jewelry. The Art Deco movement created chunky, geometric jewelry that combined multiple types of gems and metals. By the 1960's costume jewelry was widely worn, which resulted in seasonal, ever-changing styles of necklaces and other jewelry. However real, handcrafted jewelry, like Drowning Bear, is still very common and widely worn. You just have to do your homework when purchasing from different jewelers. Learn more about the difference between costume jewelry and hand crafted jewelry here

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