Have you ever thought about what is the purpose of wearing jewelry?
Do you know jewelry dates back thousands of years ago?
Jewelry has been part of mankind for a long time. It has obviously been evolving and now the materials that our ancestors used and the purpose of it, have changed and adapted to our needs and desires.
In ancient times, bones, feathers, shells, stones were enough to decorate and represent the highest hierarchy in society and to prepare offerings to the gods. Jewelry had the clear purpose to make a distinction amongst the population so it was highly respected.
Starting from the Paleolithic era where some amazing discoveries have been made; through Egyptians, Mayans, the Romans, the Renaissance gold work and the contemporary jewelry of the last decades, the jewelry history has gone hand in hand with the social and cultural context.
Findings in pre-columbian cultures in Mexico have been as astonishing as the ones in Egypt, Rome or Greece. When the Spanish conquerors arrived to the "New World", they were stunned by the wealth and beauty of the ornaments and utensils the "savages" had developed. They reported to the king in Spain all the greatness that these new cultures achieved, and they couldn't believe the abundance of gold, silver and other precious materials such as feathers or stones these people used to express their art.
Funerary jade Mayan masks
Besides reflecting hierarchy, the sense of protection or connection started meaning something. As an example of it, during slavery, people were made to wear bracelets to show who they belonged to. In a different context, and as an example of connection, wedding rings symbolized the commitment that two people had for each other.
But the need to feel accepted or to belong, also plays a role in the development of how we wear and conceive jewelry nowadays.
If we think of the different reasons that lead us to wear jewelry these days, we could still list as number one the need to display wealth and make a statement.
For some people, jewelry is the way to let others know how wealthy they are and they don't hesitate to get the most expensive diamonds, sapphires, emeralds to show off and set an invisible level of respect. Jewelry is used with the clear purpose to make a statement.
Some other people take jewelry as a way to express themselves. Letting people know your preferences or ideals through accessories, could be a great idea to convey the message of who you are without saying a word.
There's obviously the sentimental side of wearing jewelry and this one is lovely because through certain accessories, you can feel the presence of your loved ones, and that includes your pets as well. It doesn't need to be a person, your faith can also be represented by a nice silver cross pendant, to make you feel protected at all times.
Heirloom jewelry is another way you can wear your accessories with a symbolic meaning of love, accomplishment and family. If you have the fortune to inherit a piece of jewelry from someone in your family, wear it with pride and joy. There's always a nice story behind all of these pieces. For example, my eldest daughter inherited a delicate gold ring with tiny rubies and diamonds that my grandmother gave me when I turned 15. I gave it to her when she turned 16 and she wears it all the time, which makes me feel very happy because I feel like she brings me next to her at all times.
But my favorite reason for wearing jewelry is simply because I love it.
It does not matter if we are talking about a gold ring with a brilliant valued in millions of dollars, or a thread bracelet without monetary value. For me, the reason that leads you to wear jewelry should be none other than to feel a connection with it, so it makes you feel happy. It can be just because a necklace goes perfectly with your favorite dress; that those earrings make you feel and look wonderful; that certain piece makes you feel loved and brings you happy memories, or that the design, materials and colors reflect your personality and make you feel free by conveying a message to the world.
Your accessories have to make you feel complete, they are meant to bring you a sense of happiness by creating visual interest. Wearing jewelry should be taken as the equivalent of putting cherry on the cake; the final touch that will make "the whole" look complete.
I've come across many people that argue not wearing jewelry because they are allergic to silver, even a few handful to gold. Well, that doesn't mean you can't express yourself through different materials and get creative while bringing a bit of joy to your life. The magic of jewelry is out of discussion; the moment you put your earrings, a necklace or any accessory on, your look improves and it makes you instantly look more put together.
And to finish this blog, I just wanted to share with you one of my favorite necklaces of all time.
My youngest daughter made it for me when she was in Kindergarten, 11 years ago. It is made of thread, wooden beads and the fish is in wood as well. I still wear it and I every time I do, it makes me feel immensely happy.
So, I invite you to reconsider about the importance of jewelry in your daily life, in case you haven't done it yet.
And remember, life is too short to wear boring jewelry or not to wear it at all.
Could you share in the comments section if you have a favorite piece of jewelry and what does it mean to you? We would love to hear from you.