I have too much jewelry, said no-one, ever
Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Jewelry is a universal form of embellishment, dating back to the beginning, to biblical times. It is still created from those same ancient metals and ancient materials, each with their own long and rich history. We will all, at some point, wear and own jewelry created from these metals, even if it is just a watch or a wedding band. And I don't think we need to be spiritual or historians to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of jewelry and the many stories it tells.
The word jewelry itself is derived from the word jewel which was anglicised from the Old French word ‘jouel’. This word has its roots in the Latin word ‘jocale’.
So we all already know that the wearing of jewelry dates back to antiquity. In Ancient Egypt, they wore jewelry whether they were wealthy royals or poor. Pieces for the rich were made from precious metals, semi-precious gemstones and glass beads. The poor fashioned their jewelry from clay, stones and shells. The Ancient Egyptians believed that gemstones offered protection and healing, a theory that has strongly continued to this day, and were often incorporated into pendants and necklaces. For example Lapis Lazuli gemstones have a very long history and a deep connection with Ancient Egypt. The stone is strongly linked with health, healing and harmony. The Ancient Egyptians also believed it offered protection and the gemstone was often used in jewelry for royalty. It is connected to Cleopatra too as it is recorded that she used to grind lapis lazuli into a fine powder to create her infamous dark blue eye paint. I have some Lapis Lazuli pieces on my website. Do take a moment to look at this gemstone’s beauty. It is an opulent deep blue with golden inclusions. It really is special, even more so once you know its ancient history. It is no wonder to me that Cleopatra loved this stone.
And gemstones such as Lapis Lazuli, and a variety of others, are mentioned by name in the Book of Genesis. These include Agate, Amethyst, Beryl, Carbuncle (Red Garnet), Carnelian, Chalcedony, Chrysolite, Chrysoprase, Coral, Diamonds, Emeralds, Jacinth, Jasper, Onyx and Sardonyx stones, Pearls, Peridot, Rock Crystal, Rubies, Sapphires, Topaz and Turquoise. Even typing these gorgeous gemstone names into this blog is quite thrilling for me as someone who works with them ! I have recently sold out of my Jasper, Onyx and Agate pendants however this summer I will get working on listing some more. Along with Lapis Lazuli jewelry, I also currently have Lilac Chalcedony listed on my website. Chalcedony is a powerful healing and protective gemstone which encourages balance, calm and inner reflection.
I have other equally beautiful gemstones that are now newly listed on the website including green Aventurine, iridescent Opalite, pink Rose Quartz and Obsidian in two beautiful colors. Check out my sparkling purple gemstone jewelry too. Referred to as Blue Sand, these cabochons are composed of deep purple Dichroic Glass which reflect the light with twinkling flashes of color. Cleopatra would have loved these !
The wearing of earrings and nose rings is even recorded in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 16:22 there is a verse which says ‘And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head’. There is also reliable data found on papyrus from Ancient Egypt mentioning earrings as both males and females of those times pierced their ears. For men this showed their high social status.
So ear and nose piercing is nothing new. Historically people have been piercing their nose for over 5,000 years and the practice originated in Ancient Israel. This is referenced in the The Book of Genesis. The paragraph describes Abraham’s son Isaac gifting his future wife Rebekah a golden nose ring. This implies that during biblical times, nose rings represented wealth and status when given as gifts. The wearing of nose jewelry traveled beyond the Middle East to India and beyond that continent too, and it took thousands of years to become popular in Western culture.
It is interesting certainly to me as a jeweler to note that some of the symbols we see today in jewelry design have really stood up well throughout the centuries. One of these is the beautiful fleur de lis symbol which dates back to the first French dynasty many hundreds of years ago and was also used decoratively as a motif for the old Catholic saints of France. Although it has its origins in France, the fleur de lis has been adopted by other European nations throughout the centuries. I have some fleur de lis pieces on my website, in copper settings, do take a look at this classic French symbol which has represented and symbolized so much through its royal history including unity and honor.
Who would have thought, thousands of years ago, that us, the people of the future, would be creating symbolic jewelry from those same ancient metals and ancient gemstones.
Oh, the places we’ll go…