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Author: admin, 15.04.2016
Long before our ancestors put on garments, either to keep themselves warm, or to preserve their dignity, they were fashioning body adornments.
People have always had the desire to enhance their appearance by whatever means, and museums are full of the evidence of this. Jewellery can symbolise many different things, and in ancient times certain artefacts were worn to afford protection from the dangers of Life.
Superstition and religion have both been reasons to wear jewellery, as has ancient custom and the desire to be fashionable.A  Belonging to a group or tribe is also signified by the kind of jewellery you might wear. Examples of the most unassumingA  variety are the necklaces and walrus ivory brooches abandoned at the Neolithic site of Skara Brae on the island of Orkney,A  Scotland 5,000 years ago. These are items of great simplicity a€“ bones drilled and fashioned into necklaces a€“ hair ornaments made from whale bone.A  These people probably lived a hard and bleak life on a cold island, but it was obviously important to them that they also had artefacts which made them happy and which enhanced their lives.A  Unhappy was the woman whose necklace was broken and all the beads strewn around as she ran to make her escape from a€“ who knows what? There were no temperature-controlledA  torches, no solder inhibitors, none of the sophisticated tools we have at our disposal nowadays, and yet they still managed to make a surpassing work of art of the greatest quality and beauty. At a similar time, the Chinese were producing fabulous gems, exploring the art of enamelling,A  and of carving gemstones such as jade and nephrite. The Romans strayed into over-ornamentation, using very large gems and cameos, unlike the Greek goldsmiths, whose work was more restrained and classical.

However, restraint was less evident in the jewellery of the Middle Ages which tended to be on a massive scale a€“ large brooches and girdles decorated with over-sized semi-precious gemstones.A  Back then, amber was routinely worn as a protection against evil.
By the time of the Renaissance, technical ability was so highly developed that stupendous jewellery and silversmithing pieces were being created, particularly by Italian craftsmen such as Benvenuto Cellini, who produced works for the Popes, and was court jeweller to the king of France.
We have all seen the images of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth the FirstA  wearing enormous amounts of jewellery on their bodies and attached to their clothesa€¦when Henry died he had over 234 rings and 324 brooches and pins alone. With an emphasis on good design and craftsmanship, this movement revived the fortunes of artists and craftsmen, while establishing beauty and restraint in the arts and crafts once more.
In the 1880a€™s Art Nouveau was born and a fabulous renaissance in the art world took place.A  There was an emphasis on flowing lines and organic shapes, and jewelleryA  once more became extraordinary, culminating in the spectacular jewels produced by the artist-jeweller Rene Lalique. This movement lasted right into the Edwardian era, and then, in the 20a€™s when King Tutankhamuna€™s tomb was discovered, the Art Deco movement was born. Within this commissioned piece, the client can incorporate all his own symbols and ideas , his own thoughts on how a jewel should look, and significant gems can be used to give greater meaning to the piece. As an example, a gold wedding band was lostA  in the Aegean Sea, dropping into the stony waters of Plaka on Crete.A  I made a replacement band, incorporating wave and stone shapes into the design so that the wearer will always be reminded of the treasure lying under the azure waters of the Greek Islands.
The ring tells a coded storyA  - and in this way it is a perfect gem, totally fitting its purpose, and it functions in exactly the same way as the ancient shell jewellery found in the caves of Israel and Africa.

Because of this desire to have symbols and memories of the past with us constantly, we will always desire to enhance ourselves and wear artefacts. When we consider this, we can see that jewellery-wearing is probably as ancient as Man himself.
Their exquisite,A  delicateA  gems were enhanced by the many different types of pearls available to them from the vast seas surrounding the country.
Unfortunately, some of the exquisite Georgian work was later spoiled by the Victorians a€?enhancinga€? pieces by adding swirls and curlicues. This movement was a direct result of the tomb being opened a€“ the treasure was so fabulous and the story of the find so extraordinary that it was headline news everywhere.A  The flowingA  lines of Art Nouveau gave way to the geometric shapes of the Art Deco movement which tried, in some measure, to emulate the works from Tutankhamuna€™s tomb.

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