Wearing jewelry is a societal norm that many of us adhere to every single day. Because the significance of jewelry in society has become such an accepted standard, many of us may not think about the origin of jewelry or why we even wear it in the first place.
However, history tells us that jewelry has been around for hundreds of thousands of years and has played a role in traditional cultural standards worldwide for a long time. So, what is the purpose of jewelry, and why exactly do we wear it?
The History of Jewelry
The history of jewelry dates back to prehistoric times. Nowadays, it’s common for most people to wear jewelry out of luxury and fashion, but this was not necessarily the case for those living in prehistoric times, or even many years later in civilizations that are now considered ancient.
During prehistoric times, many humans adorned themselves with different animal bones, like mammoth tusks, as jewelry. It’s also been discovered that Neanderthals wore eagle talons and feathers as ornamental decoration, according to one article.
Moving forward in time, many ancient civilizations had their own jewelry style and reasoning behind why they wore it. For example:
- Egypt: Humans living in ancient Egypt wore gemstones and metals as statement pieces. These materials were viewed as a sign of wealth and a way to ward off evil. While various colorful gemstones were used in jewelry making, gold was especially prized since it was believed to symbolize the sun. For this reason, many priests and pharaohs were buried with gold after death.
- Greece and Rome: In these ancient civilizations, jewelry was worn as a symbol of social status. In Greece, fine metalwork was often used to create jewelry. Rome, on the other hand, focused on glass and colorful gemstones. In both locations, jewelry pieces were often incredibly elaborate in how they were made and were often designed to honor the gods and goddesses of each culture.
- Mesopotamia: Jewelry was worn by men and women, made with various metals, and inlaid with bright-colored gems. These shapes were often inspired by elements of nature, such as fruit and leaves.
- Mesoamerica: The Mayan and Aztec societies valued jewelry and used it exclusively to represent nobility. The Aztecs tended to prefer gold for jewelry pieces, while the Mayans often used a combination of silver, gold, jade, bronze, and copper.
- China: All social classes in China wore jewelry even though it was still seen as a symbol of status. Silver and jade were typically valued above others, and they were often formed into symbols representing certain beliefs—such as a phoenix or dragon.
- India: India is known as one of the first places in the world where jewelry was created. The Indus Valley Civilization believed jewelry was a way to attract wealth and protection, with gold being highly prized and representing immortality.
5 Reasons Why We Wear JewelryJewelry can be expensive and even uncomfortable, so why do so many people wear it? As seen in history, there are many reasons people may decide to wear jewelry. These reasons may vary from person to person and culture to culture, and may include any of the following:
1. Fosters Self-Expression and ConfidenceFor centuries, jewelry has been seen as a form of body decoration, allowing for the expression of self and social status. When someone wears jewelry, they can express themselves and their personality. Many people may experience a boost in self-confidence when adding jewelry to an outfit, since it gives them a means of standing out from the crowd.
2. Offers Sentimental ValueFor some, jewelry offers a great deal of sentimental value, especially if it is a family gift or even an heirloom that has been passed down through multiple generations. Jewelry pieces that hold special meaning for the individual may be expensive in price, but the emotional ties that the wearer has are much more important. That’s why many people who own jewelry of sentimental value continue to pass them along to their families.
3. Can Fulfill Psychological Needs
Many have theorized about the psychological reasons behind the adornment of jewelry. Humans have basic psychological needs, including the feeling of being accomplished and loved, as well as the desire to have high self-esteem.
For some, jewelry can be a personality statement, especially in the type of jewelry you wear and how you may pair it with an outfit. Jewelry can easily draw someone’s attention, especially if you wear an extensive amount of bling with your outfits.
Some jewelry pieces will direct the eye to certain body parts, including the ears, face, neck, and belly button, promoting physical attraction between potential partners or a point of connection for new friends.
4. Provides Investment Options
Besides sentimental value, jewelry itself can hold high monetary value depending on the type of metals and gemstones used to make it. Additionally, jewelry holds its value indefinitely and does not depreciate, meaning that it can be a great security fund and investment option for anyone later in life.
Diamonds, in particular, have always been in high demand. Because of this, they tend to hold their value and can always be liquidated at a high price.
Gold is another material with high value, and jewelry made from this metal type can actually increase in price as time goes on. For this reason, keeping jewelry long-term can be great for securing extra funds later in life, if needed.
5. Holds Spiritual and Symbolic MeaningAs we’ve seen in history, jewelry continues to hold symbolic and spiritual meanings for many people. Even today, many religions and cultures around the world use jewelry as a way to represent their beliefs. This is especially seen in engagement rings from other cultures, since many nationalities have their own traditions for celebrating engagements and marriages.
Why Is Wearing Jewelry Important to Modern Women?
Jewelry continues to be a timeless trend, and many people around the world—especially women—view jewelry as an important element of their daily fashion routine. To the modern woman, jewelry is seen as incredibly valuable, making it the perfect gift for birthdays or holidays. In fact, it’s a common practice for men to buy women jewelry for special occasions, such as for an anniversary or holiday.
While jewelry can still represent wealth and status, it’s more commonly used as a form of self-expression and personal style. This is seen with women of all ages; a little girl may enjoy wearing a tiara on her birthday just as much as an adult woman looks forward to receiving an engagement ring someday.
Overall, there are many reasons why jewelry-wearing is still a popular practice today, and will continue to be in the future.
If you’re looking for your next staple jewelry piece, look no further than Noe’s Jewelry. As a local jewelry store in Raymore, Missouri, we have a wide selection of inventory available for browsing. Contact us at 816-322-7227, or visit our store today!