Aug 30 2012

Jewelry and Engagement Rings Through the Ages

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Jewelry has been a part of human expression for thousands of years. These hand-crafted pieces have held a special meaning in many people’s lives, from the intricate gold bands of the ancient Egyptians to the elegant diamond engagement rings of today. This art form links together the cultures of the ancient world to the cultures of the modern world.

The Earliest History of Jewelry – The earliest documented forms of jewelry were made with whatever was handy, including shells, rocks and plant material. Ancient Egypt was one of the first civilizations to create elaborate and luxurious jewelry. Egyptian artisans became experts with gold and other metals. This fine jewelry was adorned with gemstones, including turquoise and carnelians. The early Greeks learned how to make use of other beautiful stones, such as amethysts and pearls. Early artisans saw and realized the beautiful potential of the materials from the ground.

Why People Love Jewelry – The rare materials used in jewelry have long fascinated humans. Many stunning gems are only found deep within the earth or are hidden away in plain rocks. Some stones and jewels are more rare than others, making them very desired. Gemstones, with their fiery beauty and impossible perfection, have long dazzled humans and cultivated an appreciation for natural beauty. The works of man pale when compared against the glittering fire of a well-cut diamond or the iridescent shimmer of a Tahitian pearl.

The Many Purposes of Jewelry – Many pieces of Egyptian jewelry served important roles in political and religious procedures. Jewelry also represented the wealth of some ancient Egyptians. The ancient Greeks would only wear jewelry for important functions or events. Many of these pieces paid tribute to the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. In the Roman empire, women wore jewelry far more often than men.

Engagement rings are some of the most treasured rings of any culture or era. Ancient cultures, including the Romans, used rings to represent matrimony. Romans presented their future wives with a ring that featured a tiny key. Most Roman brides were given several rings upon engagement; one ring was worn in public, while another was only worn at home.

Through the centuries that followed the decline of the Roman empire, this tradition was modified. During America’s colonial era, betrothals were often marked with a sewing thimble instead of a ring. The bride turned the thimble into a wearable ring by removing the thimble’s top. Many generations later, a soon-to-be bride and her partner can go online to find a diamond engagement ring to symbolize her upcoming wedding.

Such rings have become popular for many reasons. Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man; even cutting-edge science can’t equal the strength of a diamond. Diamonds are as rare and strong as true love; the precious metals that compose the band are pure and untarnished, like the young couple’s devotion to each other.

Jewelry symbolizes everything that humanity values and fills people with appreciation for the natural world. The next time you see a diamond ring, stop to appreciate the history and tradition that has gone into its design.

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