Monthly Archives: April 2018

A Fantastic History and Series of Exciting Developments Beckon the Evolution of Jewellery

Jewellery has been an indispensable part of the human culture. It has adorned the human race since time immemorial. For thousands and thousands of years, it was a form of expression, wealth and status. With the human evolution, the jewellery too went through evolution. Earlier flowers, shells, beads and bones were used to craft jewellery. As time moved, the metals were moulded and tamed with jewellery designs. Soon the technology evolved and more intricate designs gradually developed.

The evolution of jewellery can be broadly divided across three civilisations i.e. Egypt, India and China. The Egyptians laid a firm foundation for metallurgy, gem collecting, and glass manufacture. They were the trendsetters of unique fashion jewellery. On the other hand, Indians made jewellery an integral part of their daily life and religion. They were the first ones to devise and manage the art of gold. It is this unique skill set that became a driving force for the incredible expansion of European Civilisation during the Age of Discovery. China slowly focused on creating jewellery inspired by nature, animals and dragons, this gradually became popular across Asia making them pioneers of creativity.

The Timeline of Jewellery:

110.000 – 73.000 BC – Sea shells were used as Amulets. Traces of sea shell jewellery was found in Morocco, Israel, Algeria and South Africa.

38.000 BC – Beads crafted from animal remains was found in France.

28.000 BC – Fossilised shells and ivory beads discovered in the Czech Republic.

4400 BC – Thracian civilisation produced objects made from gold.

5000- 30 BC – This marked the era of copper jewellery. Glazed beads and critter jewellery became popular during this period. Gemstones like Amethyst, Turquoise, Carnelian, and Feldspar were used to craft the one-of-its-kind fashion jewellery.

2750 – 1200 BC – Ancient Mesopotamia produced jewellery inspired from grapes, cones and spirals. Gemstones like Agate, Jasper and Carnelian were used.

1400 – 30 BC – Greek jewellery was synonymous with fashion jewellery, as it was embedded with precious gems like the emeralds and was based on the animal and shell design.

500 BC – 400 AD – During this era the serpent jewellery came into existence. The Romans inherited seal rings, brooches, amulets and talismans that were etched with Sapphires, Emeralds, Garnets, and Diamonds.

400 – 1000 AD – In the European Dark Ages jewellery was inherited by the royals only.

1066 – 1485 AD – In the Medieval age jewellery again became popular because it was more of religion-centric. The most popular designs were hair and cloth jewellery that was worn during religious ceremonies. The jewellery during this age was embedded with both precious and semi-precious gemstones.

1500 -1830 – The arrival of Renaissance and Georgian period brought the rise of jewellery. Necklaces and Earrings of various designs were made. It is during this era that the diamond jewellery was the ultimate fashion jewellery and was being paired with the evening party ensembles.

1835 – 1900 – Fashion jewellery evolved in Europe during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The early 1900s – Art Nouveau and Edwardian styles were an evolution of this period.

1920 – 1935 – Twenties marked the advent of the Art Deco, which introduced vibrantly coloured jewellery filled with geometrical shapes, abstract designs, cubism, modernism and oriental art. Wristwatches were also worn during these years.

1939 – 1949 – This was the period of World War II. During this time, metal based jewellery designs etched with patriotic motifs and semi-precious and synthetic gemstones came into existence.

The 1950s – Post-war years brightly coloured jewellery returned. Rhinestones and big beads were used. Diamonds marked its spot as the most popular gemstone.

17th Century Onwards – Post 17th Century jewellery no longer remained a status symbol. The gold and silver jewellery was affordable by the lower classes too. Jewellery began to take floral designs and animals with unique coloured gemstones and metals. This trend continued until the early 20th Century and included intricate glass creations. The industrial revolution stimulated the jewellery fashion; and trends changed faster than ever. Jewellery crafted during the Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro periods, in particular, are popular even today.

Present day and beyond – Today jewellery stands as an artistic expression. The technology revolution has made the jewellery available and affordable. Synthetic gemstones have replaced the highly valuable and treasured gems. Design and creativity were now of pivotal importance. Jewellery stores exhibit each piece in a way that it casts its spell on the customer and lures him to buy it right away.

The Glorious Jewelry of Ancient Rome

I lived in Italy for 5 years and adore this country. Their food, their language and their culture. Like a sponge, I soaked it all up. I particularly enjoyed the exhibits of ancient jewelry, lovingly displayed in museum showcases.

When one thinks of ancient Rome, visions of gladiators, their swords flashing in the Italian sun, billowing cloaks fastened in front with ornately decorated gold brooches, women in flowing robes, fabulous necklaces resting beneath a head of curls, comes to mind. Glorious drop earrings of coloured stones adorn their ears, gold snake-style bracelets their upper arms.

Jewelry was big in ancient Rome. Very big. Since the Romans believed that jewelry warded off the “Evil Eye”, no one went without at least one piece.

The most common pieces of jewelry in early Rome were brooches and rings. The brooch was a versatile item, securing not only cloaks but clothing in general. Since clothing was generally pinned rather than sewn, decorated items called a fibula, made of gold and decorated with semi-precious stones, were used to secure the folds.

The early Italians sculpted jewelry from crude gold, rather than silver. This jewelry was afforded by the nobles. The poor wore cheaper versions, usually from bone or cheaper natural stones.

Romans, because of the reach of the Roman Empire, were able to make their jewelry from a myriad of wonderful and exotic materials. They had access not only to gold, but to bronze, bone, and natural stones. Egypt provided them with the treasured Lapis Lazuli and pearl. They imported sapphires and diamonds from the East. Emeralds, amber, turquoise, amethysts, garnets were all present in Roman jewelry, adorning necks, wrists and arms, as long as 2,000 years ago.

The affluent women, adorned themselves with trinkets all the time, at home and when in public. It was a sign of wealth and stature, just as it is today. Bracelets, rings, amulets, necklaces, cameos and rings and an assortment of adornments on their heads such as tiaras, diadems and coronets. They copied the filigree finish which was an Egyptian style. Filigree is a delicate, lace-like design, made then in gold. Filigree is popular today and is found in costume jewelry that looks as real as the gold version. Bracelets were kept closed with a toggle-type pin. A closure that is used today for practical and decorative purposes.

Men were fond of finger rings, and were expected to wear at least one. Some men would display a ring on every finger. Placing a seal on documents, to keep the contents safe from the wrong eyes, to identify the sender and to show prestige. Rings with an engraved gemstone were used with wax.

Another popular and important item was a large pendant filled with perfume. At any time, they could dab a little on their wrists. Bathing was not a daily event, particularly with the poorer classes so this was a means to keep themselves smelling fresh.

For centuries, adorning ourselves with precious, semi-precious and imitation jewelry has been of significant importance.

Adorn yourself. Never be boring.

How to Determine a Pearl s Value

A girl’s best friend “Pearl” is the gemstone of serenity. It is an aquatic jewel holding a value known to few people. Determining the worth of a pearl is an art and not many people have mastered this art. Being an exceptional gem, there are certain measuring standards to label the degree of a pearl’s paucity and value, be it uncultured or Cultured, which includes size, shape, imperfection, and gloss.

Pearls come in eight unique forms that are categorized into three broad categories including the spherical (perfect round and semi-round), symmetrical (button, tear drop, pear and oval) and baroque (irregularly ringed). The uncultured spherical (perfect round and semi-round) pearls are the rarest, elite and the most expensive ones, used generally in necklaces and strings holding a distinct value in the gemstones family. Similarly, the symmetrical (slightly flattened button pearls, teardrop, and pear) pearls which are known to be the choicest pearls for the drop down jewelry are a sign of juvenile beauty. The other types of pearls are comparatively less precious and can be found at a slightly lesser value and mostly they attract the people who like uniqueness and a rare look.

Generally measured in millimeters, they can range in size from 1mm seed pearls to as huge as 20mm south sea pearls. The value of a pearl in terms of size is determined by the mollusk which produces it, the nucleus of the pearl, the conditions of the mollusk and time a pearl took to grow. However, size cannot determine the price value of a pearl but it holds significance for the overall value that the gemstone possesses. The largest pearl recorded till date is a 26.95mm baroque south sea pearl.

The gemstone cultured within mussel is a symbol of life. The gloss and glow it holds are lustrous and glittering. The value of a pearl is gauged by the experts by keenly noting the gloss coated on the pearl. The degree of a pearl’s value in price in determined by the reflection, a pearl emits while exposed to light and the smooth gloss it holds which gives it a distinction, pearls with a rather dull gloss tend to be of poor quality and their value fades away with time.

Flaw and irregularity of a pearl are the determinants of the cultivation and extraction of a pearl along with the rarity and value it holds. Flawless natural pearls which are accurately spherical tend to be the most precious. However, the baroque hold uniqueness as a piece of art. Natural pearls are almost never of the same size and shape and also, they are rarely exact rounds. However, the cultured pearls are of a somewhat desired shape and flawless. Therefore, the value of a pearl is determined well by the shape and how perfect it is.

Overall, understanding the value of a pearl as a gemstone requires a lot of keen knowledge and expertise. It requires observation and the instinct which relatively fewer people have but mastering the art is as fascinating as the gem itself.

The Symbolism in the Star of David Necklace

The Star of David Necklace has become a globally renowned fashion and religious symbol that has caught the attention of many people as regards its structure, origin, and embedded meaning. According to its unique structure, the six-pointed star has six mini triangles adjoining a six-sided hexagon that forms in the middle. However, many people from different religions have used this symbol ignorantly or unknowingly in terms of its meaning. Some people use it with respectable intentions, as they desire to express their backing of the Jews, but most of them fail understand its spiritual deception. The Star of David first came about in a text written in the twelfth century, and the Jewish people have expressively associated themselves with it in their sanctuaries as well.

The Star of David, also known as the “shield of David” expressively symbolizes God. Generally, many people from different religions wear this six-sided symbol to represent God. It’s deeper meaning expounds that God is the ruler of the entire universe and the protector of everything within it from all the six directions namely: Up, Down, North, South, East and West, while the hexagonal shape formed at the center functioning as a provision for spiritual dimension. In Hinduism, people call the six-pointed star “The Shatkona”, while Israelites refers to it as the Seal of Solomon. The followers of Judaism have also had heavy associations with the symbol, especially in 1897 when they used it as a logo representing the Zionist movement.

In a deeper perspective, the meaning of the Star of David Necklace differs in English as compared to its meaning in Hebrew/Jewish. The Jewish people see it as a protector and shield as derived from the term Magen David. Their tradition considers the symbol as the shield of King David since Jewish customary sources have pronounced his shield taking the shape of a six-pointed star. As held by popular belief, this special shape had the power to draw protection upon King David, along with his army, making them win all their battles in the end.

Currently, the Jewish people mostly use the Star of David Necklace as the most identifiable symbol of their identity as seen in their synagogues, homes, and as treasured jewelry. The flag of Israel also conspicuously has it at its center, and it serves as the mark of “Magen David Adom”, the humanitarian aid body. Furthermore, numerous jewelry decorations, including Jewish jewelry assortments, such as Star of David Necklaces and Rings use it for decorations. However, the symbol did not originate from the Jews since they only started using it after the World War II as their profound symbol.

In the modern-day world, many individuals and groups proudly put on Jewish jewelry, especially the Star of David Necklace. Irrespective of their age, gender, and social status, men, women, and teenagers wear the Star of David around their necks to express themselves in different ways. This legendary necklace functions to express the faith as well as the collective identity of an individual or group. Several Jews across the world have also considered the Star of David as a symbol of their personal association with Israel as well as one of their most important emblems