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The Origins Of Jewellery

Jewellery comes in multiple designs and materials and has been on a constant move throughout the ages. As we may have mentioned earlier, jewellery is not just about body adornment. It reflects who we are people, our beliefs, our ways of living and loving.

Here is an article from Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's leading museum of art and design.

A History of Jewellery

Ancient world jjewellery

Collar known as The Shannongrove Gorget, maker unknown, Ireland, late Bronze Age (probably 800-700 BC). Museum no. M.35-1948. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Collar known as The Shannongrove Gorget, maker unknown, Ireland, late Bronze Age (probably 800-700 BC). Museum no. M.35-1948. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Jewellery is a universal form of adornment. Jewellery made from shells, stone and bones survives from prehistoric times. It is likely that from an early date it was worn as a protection from the dangers of life or as a mark of status or rank.

In the ancient world the discovery of how to work metals was an important stage in the development of the art of jewellery. Over time, metalworking techniques became more sophisticated and decoration more intricate.

Gold, a rare and highly valued material, was buried with the dead so as to accompany its owner into the afterlife. Much archaeological jewellery comes from tombs and hoards. Sometimes, as with the gold collars from Celtic Ireland which have been found folded in half, it appears people may have followed a ritual for the disposal of jewellery.

Medieval jewellery 1200–1500

Pendant reliquary cross, unknown maker, about 1450-1475. Museum no. 4561-1858. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Pendant reliquary cross, unknown maker, about 1450-1475. Museum no. 4561-1858. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The jewellery worn in medieval Europe reflected an intensely hierarchical and status-conscious society. Royalty and the nobility wore gold, silver and precious gems. Humbler ranks wore base metals, such as copper or pewter. Colour (provided by precious gems and enamel) and protective power were highly valued.

Until the late 14th century, gems were usually polished rather than cut. Size and lustrous colour determined their value. Enamels - ground glasses fired at high temperature onto a metal surface - allowed goldsmiths to colour their designs on jewellery. They used a range of techniques to create effects never since surpassed.

Some jewels have cryptic or magical inscriptions, believed to protect the wearer.

Renaissance jewellery

Ring, maker unknown, setting 15th century, centre 2nd century BC-1st century BC. Museum no. 724-1871. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Ring, maker unknown, setting 15th century, centre 2nd century BC-1st century BC. Museum no. 724-1871. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London


Renaissance jewels shared the age's passion for splendour. Enamels, often covering both sides of the jewel, became more elaborate and colourful. Advances in cutting techniques increased the glitter of stones.

The enormous importance of religion in everyday life could be seen in jewellery, as could earthly power - many spectacular pieces were worn as a display of political strength.

The designs reflect the new-found interest in the classical world, with mythological figures and scenes becoming popular. The ancient art of gem engraving was revived. The inclusion of portraits reflected another cultural trend - an increased artistic awareness of the individual.

17th-century jewellery

Necklace with Sapphire Pendant, bow about 1660, chain and pendant probably 18-1900. Museum no. M.95-1909. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Necklace with Sapphire Pendant, bow about 1660, chain and pendant probably 18-1900. Museum no. M.95-1909. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

By the mid-17th century, changes in fashion had introduced new styles of jewellery. While dark fabrics required elaborate gold jewellery, the new softer pastel shades became graceful backdrops for gemstones and pearls. Expanding global trade made gemstones ever more available. Advances in cutting techniques increased the sparkle of gemstones in candlelight.

The most impressive jewels were often large bodice or breast ornaments, which had to be pinned or stitched to stiff dress fabrics. The swirling foliate decoration of the jewels shows new enthusiasm for bow motifs and botanical ornaments.

18th-century jewellery

Sword, mark of James Morisset, 1798-9. Museum no. 274-1, 2-1869. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Sword, mark of James Morisset, 1798-9. Museum no. 274-1, 2-1869. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The end of the previous century had seen the development of the brilliant-cut with its multiple facets. Diamonds sparkled as never before and came to dominate jewellery design. Frequently mounted in silver to enhance the stone's white colour, magnificent sets of diamond jewels were essential for court life. The largest were worn on the bodice, while smaller ornaments could be scattered over an outfit.

Owing to its high intrinsic value, little diamond jewellery from this period survives. Owners often sold it or re-set the gems into more fashionable designs.

19th-century jewellery

Spray ornament, maker unknown, about 1850. Museum no. M.115-1951. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Spray ornament, maker unknown, about 1850. Museum no. M.115-1951. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The 19th century was a period of huge industrial and social change, but in jewellery design the focus was often on the past. In the first decades classical styles were popular, evoking the glories of ancient Greece and Rome. This interest in antiquities was stimulated by fresh archaeological discoveries. Goldsmiths attempted to revive ancient techniques and made jewellery that imitated, or was in the style of, archaeological jewellery.

There was also an interest in jewels inspired by the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It is a testament to the period's eclectic nature that jewellers such as the Castellani and Giuliano worked in archaeological and historical styles at the same time.

Naturalistic jewellery, decorated with clearly recognisable flowers and fruit, was also popular for much of this period. These motifs first became fashionable in the early years of the century, with the widespread interest in botany and the influence of Romantic poets such as Wordsworth. By the 1850s the delicate early designs had given way to more extravagant and complex compositions of flowers and foliage. At the same time, flowers were used to express love and friendship. The colours in nature were matched by coloured gemstones, and a 'language of flowers' spelt out special messages. In contrast with earlier periods, the more elaborate jewellery was worn almost exclusively by women.

Arts & crafts jewellery

Pendant-brooch (detail), designed by C.R. Ashbee and made by the Guild of Handicraft, about 1900. Museum no. M.31-2005. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Pendant-brooch (detail), designed by C.R. Ashbee and made by the Guild of Handicraft, about 1900. Museum no. M.31-2005. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Developing in the last years of the 19th century, the Arts and Crafts movement was based on a profound unease with the industrialised world. Its jewellers rejected the machine-led factory system - by now the source of most affordable pieces - and instead focused on hand-crafting individual jewels. This process, they believed, would improve the soul of the workman as well as the end design.

Arts and Crafts jewellers avoided large, faceted stones, relying instead on the natural beauty of cabochon (shaped and polished) gems. They replaced the repetition and regularity of mainstream settings with curving or figurative designs, often with a symbolic meaning.

Art Nouveau jewellery and the Garland style 1895–1910

Hair ornament, made by Philippe Wolfers, 1905-7. Museum no. M.11-1962. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Hair ornament, made by Philippe Wolfers, 1905-7. Museum no. M.11-1962. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The Art Nouveau style caused a dramatic shift in jewellery design, reaching a peak around 1900 when it triumphed at the Paris International Exhibition.

Its followers created sinuous, organic pieces whose undercurrents of eroticism and death were a world away from the floral motifs of earlier generations. Art Nouveau jewellers like René Lalique also distanced themselves from conventional precious stones and put greater emphasis on the subtle effects of materials such as glass, horn and enamel.

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Finding Your Best Jewellery Attire

The starting point should be your self-confidence that indeed you can do it. Then take time to learn about yourself. What makes you happy and comfortable. Visualise your outfit, body shape and your skin tone before you select a piece of jewellery to wear.

Here is an article from Corporate Fashionista for your inspiration.

Corporate Fashionista, Jewelry Tips To Help You Accessorize Every Outfit Like A Pro

If I told you it’s possible to become a master at styling your outfits with the perfect jewelry each and every time, would you believe me?

Well, get ready to boost your accessorizing confidence!

It’s no secret I am a fashion enthusiast and a firm believer in using what you wear strategically as a tool, especially in the business world. Jewelry is an essential part of the equation.

There are so many inspiring and beautiful pieces of jewelry available in the marketplace providing you with countless styling options. The trick is to discover which pieces add the best finishing touches to your outfit.

Here are five jewelry tips and tricks, so you get it right each and every time:

Each piece must add value to your (entire) outfit. As Coco Chanel infamously recommended,

Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” It’s great advice and still holds true. I also recommend checking to see if you need to add another piece of jewelry before you leave the house too – over-accessorizing and under-accessorizing are common jewelry errors. Just because it’s pretty or sentimental does not mean you should wear it with every outfit and just because you’re a serious professional does not mean you can’t have fun with your jewelry.

Each piece must be proportional to your body frame and facial features.

The trick to the success with every outfit is to control where the ‘eye’ goes. When done well, the focus remains on ‘you’ and your outfit complements this goal. Jewelry can support or divert this objective and the size of each individual piece or the overall jewelry layout plays a key role. For example, layering necklaces can divinely style an outfit as long as the net effect does not overpower you. Pay special attention to the length of your necklaces too – you do not want to truncate your neck. Have you ever seen someone wear real or faux diamond stud earrings that were so large they simply overlapped and overwhelmed the earlobe? Avoid this. When you’re talking with a client whose eyes are fixated on your earrings and away from your eyes, the odds of her or him paying attention to what you are saying decrease. A bold cuff bracelet may just be the perfect accessory to your shift dress, simply make sure the cuff width does not visually shorten the length of your arm. For more specific tips on statement jewelry read here.

Each piece must complement your skin tone as well as your outfit.

It’s so important to select jewelry that not only looks great with your outfit, but enhances you too. Opt for jewelry metals and gemstones that illuminate your natural skin tone. There is a wide color spectrum of various hues in gold, silver, rose gold, turquoise, amethyst, etcetera. Perhaps you look better in green turquoise rather than blue turquoise or shiny yellow gold verses dark matte gold. I know silver metal is a favorite for so many, but I prefer it solely on women with silver gray hair. White gold jewelry with real or faux diamonds is my exception. Overall, gold tones look best on most women even when their skin has blue undertones.

Each piece must be occasion and outfit appropriate. Today’s style rules are much more lenient than times past, even at work. It’s acceptable to wear baubles during the day. For instance, a chic, sophisticated crystal necklace may be the ideal accessory for a day full of meetings, but wearing it to give your closing trial argument is probably not a good idea – the shimmer will distract rather than attract your audience. It’s also important to note the tone/vibe of your outfit and jewelry. It is okay to mix centuries and seasons. The trick is to make sure the contrast is complementary. Daytime floral jewelry paired with a black silk evening jumpsuit will likely not work, but an ornate 1920’s vintage bracelet styled with a conservative, equestrian, tweed blazer may just be the perfect contrast. Experiment and use your best judgment.

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Should you remove your jewellery before surgery?

Should you remove your jewellery before surgery?

The overwhelming majority of medical practitioners agree to remove all your jewelry before you enter the Operating Room(OR). Here the primary focus is to save lives first. Doctors and Nurses needed clear guidelines or a universal rule to follow in this matter.

What are the reasons behind this universal rule?

  1. Burns

There is a possibility of burns from stray current during surgery. Electrocautery is a technique that uses a needle or any other instrument that is heated with electricity to seal blood vessels, remove tissues or make an incision.

Electrocautery helps controls the bleeding. If you are wearing jewelry, electricity can travel the entire body and through the metal, causing heating and burns to the area where you are wearing the jewelry.

  1. Swelling

Doctors and Nurses also fear the possibility of local swelling that may interfere with blood circulation in your body. In cases of a jewelry that is fixed by piercing, like an earring, the piercing area can become a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to dangerous infection.

  1. Loss, theft or damage to your jewelry

There is a lot going on in the hospital. You are fighting for your life and the medical staff is struggling to help everyone, not just you. Moving from one room to another, cleaning, decluttering, having many visits to your hospital room etc... can create a conducive environment for any loss, damage or theft of your jewelry.

  1. Lawsuits


Lawsuits may occur after surgery. For example, if it is not about the patient’s relatives complaining about a loss of their loved one, a recovering patient may complain that she had an expensive necklace and that is missing now.

There is a very high emotional connection to your piece of jewelry as we mentioned before. The value of your missing jewelry has nothing to do with the price shown on your receipt or the receipt of whoever gave it to you. You may not even have that receipt handy as a proof of purchase after 50 years.

In this case, your jewelry is priceless and if it is missing from the hospital, the hospital may have to pay a lot to compensate you. There is another face of the medal. Suppose the real value of your jewelry is 1.5 million. Anyone who can put her hands on them will have this strong temptation: “I wish they were mine”.

Challenges of law enforcement

There are also stories of deliberate damage to the jewelry for law enforcement purposes. Let’s consider the situation of Lucy, this 90 years old lady. Lucy received a pure gold wedding ring from her husband when they got married. She was 18. She never removed her ring from her finger since then.

This time, she requires a very serious surgical operation to save her life. Her husband died before her 49th marriage anniversary celebration. She is very emotional about this terrible loss and separation. She is reluctant to remove her ring because she feels that it would be a sign of betraying her deceased husband.

However, the nurse is adamant. The ring, if it can’t be removed safely from the finger, it has to be destroyed before the operation can start. She insists that since the operation is not about the finger, her ring should stay. What do you do in this case?

The best solution for you

If you are going for an operation, then remove your jewelry and leave it home. If you can’t remove it by yourself, the medical staff will conduct an inventory and remove safely your jewelry.

The doctors and nurses will help prevent any irritation caused by pressure sores on the body during general anesthesia. They will keep it safely for you to retrieve when you are ready. They will take care of the areas of your body from where the jewelry was removed by disinfecting and sealing the space left by the jewelry with non-metal devices, harmless during the operation process. They will make sure you obtain the right spacers or non-metallic temporary devices until the operation is over. Then they will reverse the entire process and put back your jewelry based on body location and the type of jewelry you are wearing.

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Price is An Issue In Absence Of Value


Jewellery can be expensive for ordinary people. You may have heard complaints from some consumers who think that a $100 piece of jewellery is too expensive. 

In the following article, Adena Leigh, a Slice contributor will astonish you with her Oscar red carpet story.

 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Anne Hathaway

When Anne Hathaway co-hosted the 2011 Oscars with James Franco, her outfit changes (seven, to be exact) were some of the most anticipated highlights of the evening. She started the night off sparkling in a $10 million Tiffany & Co. Lucida Star diamond necklace with an estimated weight of 94 carats. With a necklace that expensive (and unbelievably gorgeous) we can’t help but label her red Valentino gown the accessory, and crown her diamonds the star of the show.


Nicole Kidman

Talk about wow factor! The Aussie beauty’s cascading diamond necklace at the 2008 Academy Awards was custom-made just for her by L’Wren Scott. The $7-million necklace featured more than 7,500 diamonds and was reported to have taken 6,200 hours to hand craft.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner

Leave it to Neil Lane to create one of the most expensive pieces of jewellery on the 2013 Oscars red carpet. Worn by Jennifer Garner, the necklace’s dazzling diamonds were set in darkened platinum for a gorgeous vintage look. The lucky star was dripping in a total of $2.5-million worth of Neil Lane jewels that evening.


Gloria Stuart

A brilliant 15-carat blue diamond necklace by Harry Winston is hands down the most expensive piece of jewellery ever worn on the Oscars red carpet. The dazzling deep blue diamond is reminiscent of the famous Heart of the Ocean, and was appropriately worn by Gloria Stuart, Best Supporting Actress nominee at the 1998 Oscars for her role in Titanic

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Jewelry, A Beauty and Love Expression

Some people may be asking themselves this question: why should I wear jewelry? Why bother buying jewelry instead of something else?

Jewelry is part of our clothing and is created to enhance beauty. Jewelry is also a symbol of love and care. When given as gift, it keeps memories alive for ever.

Jewelry and Beauty

There is different types of jewelry made with different kinds of materials from diamond to gold to silver etc. Theses pieces of art create a special and deep feeling in the woman's heart as a gift to herself or from her.

From Necklaces to Rings, to Bracelets and Watches, the emotional connection is very strong and can last for ever.

When carefully matched with your skin color, your clothing and environment, you create happiness not only for yourself but also for the people around you.

The Love Story

There are seven major positive emotions that are the basis of any kind of human invention you may think of. Those are: love, desire, faith, sex, enthusiasm, romance and hope.

Love is the mother of all those positive emotions. If you have no love, that means you have no heart. If you have no heart, you have nothing.

Every time you attempt to buy a jewelry, take a moment and ask yourself a question. What goal do I need to achieve? What Kind of person am I? What type of person do I want to be?

Find out your preferred style. Travel deep into the future and meet the Ultimate You. Then, come back to the present and prepare your steps.

You have indeed accomplished many goals in your life. Instead of celebrating your success, you took it for granted and moved on as if nothing had happened. Now is the moment to reward yourself. There is no tomorrow. Make your tomorrow today and you will be even happier.

Jewellery reflects the love you have for yourself and for the person you are buying it for. It shows how you feel about yourself and the person you give a present to. The emotional value of a jewelry is priceless.

A peace of jewelry becomes even more meaningful when the person who gave it to you is very far away or no longer on this earth. Jewelry is a trusted and everlasting guardian of emotions and memories.

Kirijewels Team

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