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The History of Gold Jewelry

Gold Jewelry
Gold Jewelry

Gold is probably one of the most important metals known to man and for a long time gold has been for jewelry as well as a currency. The first known instance of pure gold as currency can be traced back to 560-547 BC where King Croesus of Lydia was said to have used gold coins. Apart from these two prevalent uses, gold has also been used all through history as decoration and as a mark of victory by adorning medals, crowns, and thrones with it – a tradition which is still partially in vogue. However, the concept of gold as jewelry was not always what it is today. Let us have a look:

Early Age: It was Egypt that was one of the early propounder of gold and both men and women wore extensive jewelry like amulets, anklets, hair pins, and necklaces. In the burials between 2900-2300BC, tombs have been unearthed carrying several gold artefacts mixed with semi-precious stones, notable among which is the solid gold funerary mask of Tutankhamun. Greece started using gold in jewelry around 1600BC and by 300BC the workmanship had progressed from simple designs to complex structures. The Romans too were not far behind and while the men have been known to wear a sole finger ring, women adorned themselves with a multitude of jewelry.

Middle Age: The Middle Ages and the Renaissance saw a flurry of gold activity, but the tradition to use it as a grave good remained common. It is during this age that jewelry made from gold became to be known as the domain for women. During the Renaissance period however, the importance of gold was subdued due to the exploration of other precious stones; and when Napoleon Bonaparte came to power, he revived the tradition of matching jewelry which was religiously followed. Following the Industrial Revolution, affording precious stones became easier; but the wealthier class maintained their distance by wearing pure gold that was superior in artwork and complexity. This period also saw a collaboration in the jewelry made in the East and the West.

Modern Age: With modern mining techniques and introduction of a wide variety like white gold, rose gold etc. gold became more affordable for all classes of the society. And though the commercial gold jewelry follows its traditional counterparts is both form and style, there is a notable change in the wearable art. Also, jewelry began being used as a body modification product like nose and ear studs or rings. This effect can be seen majorly in the Indian subcontinent and other South-East Asian countries. The Modern Age also saw the use of artificial gold and also use of lesser carats like 9k or 14k to bring it within the economic grasp of the all. Gold jewelry has always been used in weddings, but in some countries like India they started forming a part of the dowry some decades ago and often led to silent jewelry competitions in marriages.

It must be understood that there is a reason why gold has never gone out of fashion. Apart from being near indestructible and a much prized metal, gold is also significant of success, leadership, and eternity. Golden medals, trophies, and even the wedding ring; all of it imply goodness and victory.

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