A glimpse on the history of jewelry: the importance of jewelry
In prehistoric times, as well as in contemporary cultures, jewelry is not only ornamentation for the body, but also a means of communication. Hierarchy, prestige, and power are expressed through jewelry, which can affirm the status of an individual in society. What initially appears to be an ornament can mark allegiance to a society or individual. Men and women can impress each other through jewelry. Yet possibly the most powerful qualities attributed to jewelry are the amuletic and talismanic functions of warding off evil or giving luck. These properties go back to the origins of jewelry and continue well into the nineteenth century. Even in contemporary cultures people carry good-luck charms. Jewelry also played an important role in protecting against the dangers of life, and was given in burials for the afterlife of the deceased. In addition, jewelry was also worn as a sign of personal affection and fidelity, and marked special occasions in life, such as coming of age, association to a religion through communion or confirmation, nubility, marital status, and motherhood. Jewels in their aesthetic expression are not only signs of wealth and taste, but also reflect-and communicate-the personal character and temperament of the wearer.