Jewellery is a universal form of adornment and has evolved over the years into pieces of wearable art that we treasure for their beauty, sentimental meanings and representations of commitment. In the ancient times, jewellery was made from materials such as feathers, bones, shells and colourful pebbles, which many modern jewellery designers now take inspiration from.
Jewellery was created to serve as functional objects in the daily lives of ancient people. Pins and broaches were created to hold clothing in place, and rings and pendants were used as seals, for family identification, ranking and authority.
Many ancient tribes and communities used jewellery to assert their authority and display their strength. Hunters were known to wear bones and teeth from their kills as a trophy and for good luck in their next hunt. These ancient materials served as talismans and were used for their holistic properties.
Gradually jewellery evolved to represent human connection and commitment. The Ancient Egyptians believed in Vena Amoris, meaning "the vein of love", which is said to run from the heart to the fourth finger of the left hand.
In the Middle Ages, jewellery became a sign of opulence, leading to Sumptuary Laws being implemented in Europe to prevent non-nobility from wearing precious pieces.
Rings were only allowed to be worn for the below purposes:
- Curative Rings - holistic stones to cure ailments
- Ecclesiastical Rings - sacred adornments for clergy
- Romance Rings - wedding rings as a sign of commitment and ownership
- Gadget Rings - compass rings, seal rings and pipe stuffers
Whilst jewellery has changed in design, many purposes still remain. Jewellery still represents loving commitment and vintage jewellery provides us with a sense of belonging by connecting us to our ancestors. Headdresses that were used by ancient tribes are still used today, and have also evolved into tiaras and crowns to represent leadership. And lastly signet rings...we may no longer use them to seal letters, but we certainly still give them our stamp of approval!