Long ago in Croatia, populated by Neanderthals,
eagle talons etched with score marks were found
looking a lot like they were used for jewelry as far back as 135,000 years ago.
The first organic bling ever, and feels like day one in the colorful
history of jewelry through the ages.
Beads found in an Israeli cave made from snail shells date back to about 100,000 years ago.
seashell beadwork was found all across the African continent. The oldest beads found there, in
Morocco, date back to some 80,000 years ago.
In Kenya, a strand of ostrich egg shell beads was discovered about 40,000 years ago. A
later - at least 35,000 years ago - a single simple seashell bead was found in Algeria, many miles
from the ocean.
All those shells, bones and stones way back then were believed to protect wearers from danger, or
were worn to display social rankings in their villages or tribes, maybe even used to
passed for clothing in those days. Then, about 25,000 years ago, a necklace of very old fish bones
was found in a cave in Monaco.
The discovery of such early jewelry made so long ago by our human
ancestors proves that even
cave dwellers possessed the inherent human desire to flaunt personal adornments.
Oh yeah, early man definitely had bling fever!
Those primitive "fashionistas" used many available materials like bones, shells, pebbles, feathers,
animal teeth, skins and horns, and maybe some of their creations were
possible gifts or
to tribal heads, warriors, witch doctors, wives, accomplished hunters,
royalty, or were forms of
displaying social standing, family attachment or identification.
Marching in lockstep with the millennia were the beliefs that jewelry had magical properties, that
certain gemstones brought good luck, wealth, safe travel, respect, and, of
course, love. Jewelry
has been linked with many diverse powers and meanings as civilization marched on. And it's clear
that the desire to wear jewelry predates modern man.
the sands of time kept flowing, came
the discovery of very desirable, very adaptable, very shiny
gold. Here's the thing about gold - it was discovered in different areas
in different eras in pre-recorded
history - but what IS known is that gold flakes were discovered in Spanish caves
that were assumed to
back to around 40,000 BC.
A special note here about some very special hoarders -- in eastern Bulgaria, beginning
4500 BC, goldsmiths excelled in their craft and perfected such amazing skills, that excavated burial
plots brought to light a pattern of phenomenal, unprecedented, awesome quantities of
Now, there's also quality, in addition to quantity, that we should consider.
Of course, we know that in some ancient cultures, gold was often buried with the dead to accompany
the former wearer into the
afterlife. Fast-forward to about 3000 BC, when the use of spectacular
jewelry emerged, and was repeatedly discovered on mummies and in tombs - crowns, pins, rings, every
type of jewelry and accessory that was familiar and or ritualized during those times. What a
So here's a big round of applause to early Egyptian goldsmiths who so masterfully created the incredible,
priceless burial mask of Tutankhamun,
as well as amulets, talismans, and many other unprecedented,
jaw-dropping unearthed masterpieces. Egyptians also used silver, as well as amethyst, carnelian,
turquoise, and amazonite gemstones.
prove it with a blood test, but looks like our ancestors helped us
appreciate beautiful shiny
metals, desire colorful crystals and minerals, seek out sparkling gems,
and led the way getting really
creative with gold. Back then, whether it was date night, bartering,
relationship rituals, flaunting your
stuff, celebrating gods or royalty, hoarding, or wanting bragging rights in the afterlife,
to have their bling. It's definitely looking like a DNA thing...
In early Greece, gold, silver, bronze, and clay
together with gems were used for jewelry making.
About 2,000 years ago, the Romans are said to have influenced jewelry design
by creating the
brooch or pin,
which they probably used to clasp their clothes since they didn't have buttons
for those flowing robes. Of course, they also treasured gold and wore gold coin jewelry,
bracelets and other bodily adornments.
BTW, back then, Romans were using more than gold, they were using bronze and pearls, together
with imported sapphires, diamonds, amber and emeralds. Gold pieces
fashioned by Byzantine
jewelers were known for intense, exquisite use of
plentiful and showy precious gems. In fact, China,
Egypt, India, Romans, Greeks, Etruscans, so many ancient cultures had their
jewelers who forever influenced
the stature, purpose, symbolism, and diversity of jewelry design.
Across the centuries, gold was sought after - not just for extraordinary jewelry, but also
functional, for statues, sarcophagi, coins, goblets, medallions, headdresses, pendants to store perfume,
vests, draperies, sword handles, decor, furnishings, thrones, etc. - spectacular
and artifacts have been uncovered, and in more current times, gold is now also used in dentistry
and also electronics.
seen that jewelry of all kinds, all precious and semi-precious metals, precious and semi-precious
gemstones, pearls, every manner of adornment has been used through the
ages to ward off evil, pay
dowries, prevent bad luck, maybe prevent imprisonment, protect against
illness and toothaches, inspire
bravery, ward off bad dreams, assure safe passage, attract love and success, convey political prowess,
to also act as currency.
In later centuries, jewelry acquired very personal, additional meaning - it became a
of commitment and human connections, it was worn by spouses, slaves, the wealthy, church officials,
displayed by those with authority, cherished for a host of reasons -- you get the
And now to a "girl's best friend." Sometime around the 14th century, jewelry crafters
countries discovered how to cut diamonds. Before then, they just polished the gems then worked them
into their designs. To give them the credit they're due, it's truly
a testament to those jewelers of
yesteryear, because some of their early diamond cutting techniques are still being used by today's
By the 18th century, diamonds ruled. Multiple facets had become popular,
fancy shiny cuts were
extremely reflective and quite dazzling, thus diamonds were elevated to
preferred status. Time
marched on and interest in jewelry during both the Medieval and Renaissance periods soared,
and so did creativity, with very memorable and intricate designs produced.
then became industrialized by the end of the 19th century, and factory-cut jewels became
very popular because they were affordable, and were more accessible by
many more people.
Coincident with mass-produced jewelry was the birth of Art Nouveau jewelry design which made
a huge impact in the early 1900s, especially after an exhibit in Paris. Art Deco style jewelry
soon appeared and thrived - even with the advent of a US depression and
entanglement in a world
war. Art Deco jewelry was welcomed for its glamorous and fresh, innovative look.
history confirms how mankind continued to tame and expertly utilize natural
better enhance, integrate and showcase precious and semi-precious gems, which influenced
enriched many worldwide cultures, spurred the introduction and glamorization
of plastic jewelry,
precipitated innovations that refined and redefined jewelry styles,
and launched processes and
nurtured creativity that have forever enshrined jewelry as an indisputable art form,
fashion element, and a rewarding, uplifting and original way to project a personal statement.
Today consumers are tempted with myriad selections of stunning manufactured jewelry, and in the
spirit of those original makers of those very first shell necklaces, there are
also countless exquisite
offerings of original handmade bling created by prideful artisans to decorate their fellow humans.
Rich with exotic and desirable gemstones, pearls, corals, woods and
leathers, created with flourishes,
embedments, engravings, creative gemstone combinations, imaginative
clusters, novel gemstone
pairings, intricate bails and clasps and more, contemporary jewelry has earned multiple
can credit those inventive cave dwellers of 135,000 years ago who led the
way -- to jewelry
that can be status symbols, displays of fashion, can project a sense of identity, fulfill a need for
belonging, reward us with a
feeling of self-esteem.
So whether it's playful, deliciously extravagant, demure or edgy, whether
it's displayed on ears,
necks, wrists, fingers, arms, tongues, noses, ankles, toes, hair, belly buttons,
gowns, sandals, tiaras,
you-name-it, the deep-rooted drive and instinctive passion to create or acquire
and then decorate
ourselves with jewelry has been a reliable constant for us mere mortals across the millennia.
Many thousands of years of fashioning jewelry have given humanity precious gold, gemstones,
jewelry of every type, exciting new jewelry mediums, myriad possibilities for
embellishment and self-expression, affirming that jewelry will continue to be cherished, admired,
envied and desired. Yes, our jewelry is formidable, undeniable proof of being human.
So it's confirmed, it's historical fact -- it's in our genes, we all gotta have our
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Note: Dawn of the Bling
- A Fun Tour of Jewelry History From Day One - is written as a playful, lighthearted
tour of the history of jewelry meant to present the origins of jewelry in a relaxed, whimsical manner. This
jewelry history is compiled solely for entertainment. to try to unravel our ancestral destiny to seek body
adornments, to help us recognize, maybe even relate, to the time-honored desire to decorate ourselves and
those we commit to and care about. It is copyrighted material -
Copyright FavoriteBlings.com - and
may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior, express written permission.
Copyright © 2017 FavoriteBlings.com
All rights reserved.
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