When we look way back into history the Chinese were the first culture to make handmade jewellery and from what we are able to deduce this is around 5000 years ago. Silver then was more available than gold so this was used widely in their unique designs and Jade was their favourite semi-precious stone. The Chinese initially wore jewellery in order it is thought to display their wealth and rank but later as the centuries went on every piece of these stunning semi-precious handmade jewellery designs were worn by women to add to their beauty and status within their society creating a desire for these stunning pieces.
Around the same time in Central and South America gold was much easier to find and was being mined by the Aztecs in amazing amounts. Beautiful handmade jewellery from this area was incredibly ornate and opulent and included the combined use of gold inlayed with semi-precious stones like Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli and Mother of Pear. The Mayan civilization also used semi-precious gemstones as a form of currency to trade for other goods, whilst the Aztecs used semi-precious handmade jewellery and beautiful and intricate jewel-covered tools such as daggers and swords during sacrifices and other religious rituals.
Similar to the cross that has been worn by Christians as a symbol of the faith, other religions have their sacred symbols that are widely seen on necklaces and as pendants and other pieces of jewellery that have a religious significance. Many Muslims wear the symbol of Allah and designs sometimes feature a ritual sword. Additionally, Judaism also has its typical designs such as the Star of David and the Hamesh Hand, a symbol that is traditionally believed to offer protection. Hindus have the eye which they believe will protect them from evil and this piece of handmade jewellery is usually a glass shaped eye that has been encased in gold
Body modification that is practised in some cultures uses handmade jewellery. Inhabitants of Myanmar wear metal rings around their necks from an early age that stretches their necks over a long period of time. Whereas in some remote South African tribes the Mursi Lip plates are worn to stretch the bottom lip which is traditional before marriage and is seen as a sign of great beauty?
Handmade jewellery of the modern times can take on many forms, styles and designs. In the 20th Century artists and designers have used jewellery as a medium in order to convey their ideas, whilst even pop culture movements such as Hip-Hop have adopted Bling’ jewellery as a symbol of success and musical prowess. Even in todays modern designs you can see some elements of designs of the past