Article Written by : Young Fashion
An Introduction to Jewelry Design and it’s Origins
Jewelry design is defined as the art or profession of creating, crafting, fabricating, or rendering designs made of and with the intent in itself; to become jewelry. Jewelry Design in it’s essence is both the science and the art of creating art that one can wear.
The History of Jewelry Design
The history of jewelry design stretches back deeply into human history and deeply engrained in the earliest customes of humanity. The first signs of jewelry design were seen in ancient Africa. The African people of that day used perforated beads made from sea snell shells. Creatively arranged jewelry articfacts have been unearthed as far back as 75,000 years. In Kenya, beads made from perforated ostrich egg shells have been found that are estimated to be around 40,000 years old. Researchers have uncovered numerous ancient jewelry designs that are oustandingly elaborate and detailed. Some Ancient African tribes even used bones as jewelry, even piercing and integrating bones into their noses and other body members. It is most likely that these ancient tribes considered this practice merely as the decoration of the body before they ever conceived of the idea of their creations being considered “wearable art”
Apparently there are many ancient early civilizations seemed to inately begin the practice of jewelry design. Primative examples of the origin of Jewelry design can be seen by ancient tribes’ practice of burying their dead with ornate jewelry garments made up of stones and other creatively arranged basic elements.
Moreover, historians tell us that the practice of adorning the most wealthy and most important tribal members with the most ornate Jewelry designs dates back to 50 bc. Jewelry even in ancient times were a sign of social status, tribal or ethnic affiliation and even religious significance.
The first evidence of what become our modern day style jewelry design originated in ancient egypt between 1000 – 5000 BC. Ancient Egyptian Jewelry desingers introduce working with precious metals like Gold for it’s luster, radiance, rarity, workability and Status. The ancient egyptians even then adorned themselves with the most ornate Jewelry designs to represent status, rank, authority and religious standing. Not only were these ornate Gold Jewelry designs worn by wealthy Ancient Egyptians during their lives, but it was also, worn by them in death. Some of the most valuable treasure finds to date consisted of the ornate jewelry often buried in ancient egyptian tombs among the rest of their valuables. In addition, to gold, Egyptians worked with glass, along with a host of other precious gems. Ancient Egyptians believed that colour of the jewelry had certain significance. For example, Green was used to represent fertility. Even in ancient Egypt Women were known to wear more Jewelry.
As we see, throughout history, jewelry has always been a tool of personal adornment. Jewelry design has continued to evolve from over the centuries taking the shape of necklaces, bracelets, rings, amulets earrings, pins, brooches, labrets, signet rings, crowns and much more. One constant among native peoples throught history is that their jewelry designs always have reflected the cultural values, religious perspective and creative diversity and history of its creators. As time went on Jewelry designers, which in times past were merely local artists; began creating jewellery, not only for personal adornment, but also for ceremonial use, practical use and even currency for trade.
As Jewelry Design progressed through history a wider range of materials used to create jewelrry began to emerge. The types of materials used varied greatly based on the location and culture of the peoples. Some materials used widely to create jewelry both in ancient and more modern times are: Gold, Palladium, Platinum, Rhodium, Silver, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Pewter, Tungsten, coral, Ivory, Pearl, Aventurine, Amethyst, Beryl, Jade, Jasper, Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Quartz, Ruby, Saphire, Topaz and of course Diamond.
Additionally, ancient jewelry design gave birth to a number of jewelry design processes that are still in use today like: enameling, engraving, plating, polishing, soldering, stone setting, wire sculpture, wood working, wire wrapped jewelry and much more.
Jewelry design has continued to spread and grow into a huge industry and trade. Jewelry design is important for creating wearable art, display art, furniture decor, wedding rings and much more. The talented and invaluable craftsmen that design jewelry as a hobby or a profession are constantly improving their processes and expanding the boundaries of what Jewelry is.