function of jewelry in various societies

Antique jewelry: what is its function?

Jewelry (also spelled jewellery) is or are objects, whatever material they are made of, that we use to ornament ourselves and that are made from any type of material but mostly made from gemstones and precious metals. Whether put, pierced through, or hung on our body, their function is to show or pretend one's status.

The word jewellery is derived from the word jewel, which was anglicised from the Old French "jouel" around the 13th century. Further tracing leads back to the Latin word "jocale", meaning plaything. Jewelry is one of the oldest forms of body adornment. The first pieces of jewelry were made from natural materials, such as bone, animal teeth, shell, wood, and carved stone. Jewelry was often made for people of high importance to show their status and, in many cases, they were buried with it.

It is obvious that the choice of the jewel clearly depends on the environment one is in. A very rare bead or shell chain can, in a primitive society, have the same value as the Cullinan diamond would have in ours (just to mention one sparkling carbuncle).

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