Jewelry wearing is steeped in ancient history and threaded throughout themes ranging from hunting and symbolism to social status and religion.
The earliest jewelry known to mankind was created by Neanderthal living in Europe. Some 115,000 years ago, perforated beads made from tiny Nassarius sea shells were discovered in the Cueva de los Aviones, a cave located on the southeast coast of Spain. In Enkapune Ya Muto, Kenya, beads constructed from pierced ostrich egg shells were found dating back more than 40,000 years.
The decorative Star Carr Pendant – perhaps the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain dating back to 11,000 BC – was uncovered at the site of Star Carr in North Yorkshire in 2015. In 2008, The Venus of Hohle Fels was unearthed in Hohle Fels, a cave near Schelklingen, Germany. The figurine is anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 years old and belongs to the early Aurignacian, dating back to the very beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, which is associated with the earliest presence of Cro-Magnon in Europe.
Jewelry goes as far back as the Sumerians and Egyptians and to the Aegeans, Etruscans, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines. Many nations were influenced by others as trade routes and sea voyages became more commonplace.
The same applies to the many jewelry epochs beginning with the Renaissance to 17th century Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and contemporary jewelry making.
In the grand scheme of things, the entire realm of jewelry is one great melting pot.