Jewelry is categorized under two subdivisions, contemporary and traditional, each displaying attractive and eye catching designs. Both classic groups exhibit jewelry constituting of precious gem stones, gold, silver, other metals and natural materials.
The primary objective of wearing jewelry as pieces of ornament is to look beautiful and this trend is not confined to recent times but rather from time immemorial, as jewelry has been associated with women for their personal beautification. The origin dates back to ancient times when beads and shells were used as body ornaments, while bones, wood, elephant tusk and ornamental stones were carved and etched to produce attractive artifacts.
They had widespread usage ranging from functional utility like pinning clothes or were status symbols and adorned the person from head to toe. However, nowadays the increasing demand for jewelry pieces has made craftsmen more creative and stunning items in gold, silver, platinum and gem stones have flooded the market in variety of styles and designs. The major items include necklaces, amulets, bangles, bracelets, earrings, nose ring, anklets to name a few.
Today, the jewelry designs are not merely based on the traditional metals, rather the contemporary jewelry items reveal a gamut of materials ranging from wire, tumbled stone and other lesser known elements. They create affordable and inexpensive items which are popular with masses and are used as accessories to highlight the wearer’s appearance. The manifold functions of jewelry are widely acknowledged. It is still used as a form of currency and exhibits the affluence of the owner. The lesser known usage includes buckles, clasps, brooches or pins, as well as amulets which are mostly worn to ward off evil influences, according to ancient superstition.
From the ancient periods, the trend of amassing wealth through jewelry acquisition still continues today. This is believed to stem from the fact that this pattern of stocking of jewelry is a source of future security against economical blow down or other such unforeseen eventualities. Wedding in the Asian countries still centers around jewelry gifts and exchanges between the two parties which again reinforces the phenomenon of security considerations. In some nations, it is a renowned practice for commercial trading while in other countries, jewelry, especially ornaments of gold, symbolizes group bonding and wearing a ring connotes the marital status of people.
The purity of American or European gold is specified in karats. While the American gold jewelry has at least 10K purity, the European ornaments center around 9K purity. In the Asia, Middle East and Africa, the gold jewelry of highest purity of 22K or 24K is mostly prevalent. Other precious metals such as Platinum alloy range of jewelry are of 90% and 95% purity while silver jewelry is predominantly known to be of sterling silver.
Costume jewelry primarily constitutes of items made of enamel, natural clay, stainless steel, glass and other such similar raw materials. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets and belts, etc., made of bead are also very popular, especially with the younger generation. Necklaces and bracelets made of various sizes of beads were highly popular during the Victorian Era, however, these types of jewelry has always been in vogue in the African countries. This trend has made fresh inroads in other parts of the world as well.
Collectors’ items of jewelry have been known to be produced from excellent craftsmanship of silversmiths and goldsmiths. Tiaras and rings from dazzling diamonds have captivated the market for a long time, especially within the affluent class. Precious stones, besides diamonds, such as emerald, sapphire, ruby, jade and quartz, etc., have also been used to create and design spectacular range of attractive jewelry items.