Honor & Glory - Jewelry the Treasures of the History
The history of jewelry is long and goes back many years, with many different uses among different cultures. It has endured for thousands of years and has provided various insights into how ancient cultures worked. Aesthetic is influenced by the beauty of symmetry, the eras before our time, and encompasses the structural and the architectural with a sophisticated edge. For many centuries Jewelry may be made from a wide range of materials. Gemstones and similar materials such as amber and coral, precious metals, beads, and shells have been widely used, and enamel has often been important. In most cultures jewelry can be understood as a status symbol, for its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols. The basic forms of jewelry vary between cultures. In European cultures the most common forms of jewelry have persisted since ancient times,
Most cultures at some point have had a practice of keeping large amounts of wealth stored in the form of jewelry. Alternatively, jewelry has been used as a currency or trade good and also symbolise group membership or status of honor & glory.
In creating jewelry gemstones, coins, or other precious items are often used, and they are typically set into precious metals. Alloys of nearly every metal known have been encountered in jewelry. Bronze, for example, was common in Roman times. Modern fine jewelry usually includes gold, white gold, platinum, palladium, titanium, or silver. For platinum, gold, and silver jewelry., there are many techniques to create finishes. The most common are high-polish, satin/matte, brushed, and hammered.
Diamonds were first mined in India. There are negative consequences of the diamond trade in certain areas. Diamonds mined during the recent civil wars in Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and other nations have been labelled as blood diamonds when they are mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency.
The British crown jewels contain the Cullinan Diamond, part of the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found (1905), at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g).
Many precious and semiprecious stones are used for jewelry . Among them are Amber, Amethyst, Emerald, Jade, Quartz, Ruby, Sapphire and Turquoise.
Cultural dictates have also played a significant role.
The first signs of jewelry came from the people in Africa.
Ancient Egypt was around 3,000–5,000 years ago The Egyptians preferred the luxury, rarity, and workability of gold over other metals. In Predynastic Egypt jewelry soon began to symbolise power and religious power in the community. Although it was worn by wealthy Egyptians in life, it was also worn by them in death,
The early Italians worked in crude gold and created clasps, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They also produced larger pendants that could be filled with perfume. Although they were expected to wear at least one ring, some Roman men wore a ring on every finger, while others wore none. Roman men and women wore rings with an engraved gem on it that was used with wax to seal documents, a practice that continued into medieval times when kings and noblemen used the same method.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the jewelry designs were absorbed by neighbouring countries. The Celts and Merovingians in particular are noted for their jewellery, which in terms of quality matched or exceeded that of Byzantium. They were not the only groups known for high quality work. England are a particularly well-known example. On the continent, cloisonné and garnet were perhaps the quintessential method and gemstone of the period.
The Eastern successor of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, continued many of the methods of the Romans, though religious themes came to predominate. They used light-weight gold leaf rather than solid gold, and more emphasis was placed on stones and gems. Byzantine jewelry was worn by wealthier females, with male jewelry apparently restricted to signet rings.
The Renaissance and exploration both had significant impacts on the development of jewelry in Europe.
By the 17th century, increasing exploration and trade led to increased availability of a wide variety of gemstones as well as exposure to the art of other cultures. Whereas prior to this the working of gold and precious metal had been at the forefront this period saw increasing dominance of gemstones and their settings.
Notable among merchants of the period was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who brought the precursor stone of the Hope Diamond to France in the 1660s. When Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned as Emperor of the French in 1804, he revived the style and grandeur of jewellery and fashion in France. Under Napoleon’s rule, jewellers introduced parures, suites of matching jewelry, such as a diamond tiara, diamond earrings, diamond rings, a diamond brooch, and a diamond necklace. Another fashion trend resurrected by Napoleon was the cameo.
New terms were coined to differentiate the arts: jewellers who worked in cheaper materials were called bijoutiers, while jewellers who worked with expensive materials were called joailliers, a practice which continues to this day.
Until the 18th century in Europe jewelry always have been pieces mainly for the royal and princely families or official decorations for their rarity, their beauty, their interest and above all for the prestige of their recipients: sovereigns, marshals, ministers, statesmen and heroes.
Starting in the late 18th century, Romanticism had a profound impact on the development of western jewellery. Perhaps the most significant influences were the public’s fascination with the treasures being discovered through the birth of modern archaeology and a fascination with Medieval and Renaissance art. Distinguished goldsmiths continued to flourish not only through use of precious metals and stones but also though superior artistic and technical work.
One such artist was the French goldsmith François-Désiré Froment-Meurice. A category unique to this period and quite appropriate to the philosophy of romanticism was mourning jewellery. It originated in England, where Queen Victoria was often seen wearing jet jewellery after the death of Prince Albert, and it allowed the wearer to continue wearing jewellery while expressing a state of mourning at the death of a loved one.
In the United States, this period saw the founding in 1837 of Tiffany & Co. by Charles Lewis Tiffany. Tiffany's put the United States on the world map in terms of jewellery and gained fame creating dazzling commissions for people such as the wife of Abraham Lincoln. Later, it would gain popular notoriety as the setting of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
In France, Pierre Cartier founded Cartier SA in 1847, while 1884 saw the founding of Bulgari in Italy. The modern production studio had been born and was a step away from the former dominance of individual craftsmen and patronage. This period also saw the first major collaboration between East and West. Collaboration in Pforzheim between German and Japanese artists led to Shakudō plaques set into Filigree frames being created by the Stoeffler firm in 1885.
Perhaps the grand finalé – and an appropriate transition to the following period – were the masterful creations of the Russian artist Peter Carl Fabergé, working for the Imperial Russian court, whose Fabergé eggs and jewellery pieces are still considered as the epitome of the goldsmith’s art.
In the 1890s, jewellers began to explore the potential of the growing Art Nouveau style and the closely related German Jugendstil, British Arts and Crafts Movement, Catalan Modernisme, Austro-Hungarian Sezession, Italian "Liberty", etc. Art Nouveau jewelry encompassed many distinct features including a focus on the female form and an emphasis on colour, most commonly rendered through the use of enamelling techniques including basse-taille, champleve, cloisonné, and plique-à-jour. Motifs included orchids, irises, pansies, vines, swans, peacocks, snakes, dragonflies, mythological creatures, and the female silhouette.
Covering the period of the 1920s and 1930s, the style has become popularly known as Art Deco. Walter Gropius and the German Bauhaus movement, with their philosophy of "no barriers between artists and craftsmen" led to some interesting and stylistically simplified forms.
So going back in history we can summarize that jewelry have been always a part of art representing the culture and the time as well as the personality of the wearer.
At La Mia Cara Jewelry we want to inspire and encourage you to express your personal style.