Jewelry from 3000 BC Egypt to the 21st Century

Egypt

The use of gold jewelry can be dated back to Egypt 3000 BC. Gold was the preferred metal for jewelry making during ancient times. It was rare, it was easy to work with, and it never tarnished.

Magnificent bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings, armlets, earrings, collars, and head ornaments were all produced in ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs. In 1922 Howard Carter’s excavations led to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and many gold artifacts, all showing the art work of ancient Egypt.

Greece

In ancient Greece, gold beads in the shape of shells, flowers and beetles were very common. In Northern Greece beautiful necklaces and earrings have been excavated from burial.

By 300 BC the Greeks were using gems such as emeralds, garnets, amethysts and pearls. They also created colored glass stones and enamel stones. Carved agate cameos and gold filigree work were widely made.

Italy

The Italian Etruscans produced granulated textured gold work. They made very large, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They were also known for producing hollow gold pendants that were filled with perfume. Even today the Italians are still known for the quality gold jewelry.

Rome

The Romans used 18 and 24 carat gold for their coins. Coinage gold was readily available so it was popular with craftsmen for decorative jewelry. Over 2000 years ago the Romans were using sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and amber in their jewelry.
Europe.

During the 13th century the Medieval Sumptuary Laws were enacted which put a cap on luxurious jewelry and clothing. The town folk of France, banned from wearing girdles made from pearls or any other gemstone.

They were also banged from wearing gold or silver. Similar laws existed in England banning artisans from wearing gold and silver. These laws show how fine jewelry had spread beyond nobility to the town folk. https://www.gothicrock.com/

For as long as mankind has existed gems and jewels have been used as token of ones love for another. While many pieces of jewelry existed adorned with fine gems and made from precious metals, there was also some very good fake jewelry.

True gemstones and pearls originated in the east and they were bought mainly by the Italians. The Italian merchants then sold the jewelry to the Europeans.

High quality glass imitations were often used and sold with the intent to deceive. These high quality glass stones were often used in the Royal funeral robes and in children’s jewelry.

Valued more than gemstones, were the flawless, round, natural white pearls. South India provided some of the finest pearls. The Italians were able to make quality imitation glass gems and pearls that could only be identified by a gemologist.

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