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Fashion and Gifts – Exploring the Significance of Jewellery

>> Apr 4, 2013

Jewellery is almost unique in the annals of human history, in that it provides a totally decorative function. There are some jewellery elements that have a practical function too – for example a medical aid bracelet, or a dog tag – but in general terms the only function of a necklace or an earring is to ornament the wearer. 

It may be argued, from this standpoint, that there are certain textile based garments that also come under the heading of jewellery. These would have to be items that perform no practical function whatsoever, and are only worn with the intention of making the wearer look good. Potentially, some lingerie could fall into this category, though it would depend on the support function it fulfils: jewellery doesn’t even do that.

From wedding jewellery to children’s jewellery, these embellishments have a long history. The earliest known jewellery is dated to around 100,000 years ago – and it is clear from written and pictorial accounts that all the great civilisations of the earth made and used jewellery extensively.

The word itself is derived from the common practice of using jewels as the centrepiece of the decoration. A jewel, also known as a precious stone, is commonly defined as any type of mineral or rock that is polished to create a highly ornamental, universally beautiful item, which may then be set in a necklace, on a ring or in an earring as an item of personal embellishment.
Different stones have different meanings. The diamond, for example, is thought to express constancy in love and relationships. This is because of two things. 

The diamond is only found in very specific areas of the Earth’s mantle; or at the sites of asteroid strikes. As such, it is perceived to be rare. It isn’t, there are plenty of diamonds taken from these sites – but the fact that such specificity of environment Is required to make a natural diamond has triggered the industry myth that it is an item of great rarity – like true love.

The other reason for a diamond being thought of as a token of true love is its durability. The word itself derives from an Ancient Greek word, adamos, which means “unbreakable” (among other things). The diamond is one of the hardest substances known to humanity and is almost impossible to destroy. 

Giving diamond jewellery in particular as a gift, then, signifies an intention that the giver may not know exists. Diamonds are, by this understanding, absolutely inappropriate as childrens jewellery. Jewellery for kids is, or should be, much more concerned with looking and being fun: in general terms, silver charms and coloured glass are perfectly acceptable. 

Many gemstones or precious stones have specific significance for gift giving. Some are birth stones, others are reputed to embody certain desirable characteristics. In general terms, the giver is thought to express the characteristic of the stone – so, to return to the diamond, if you give someone a diamond necklace or ring you are expressing the conviction that you will be with them forever. Hence the popular phrase and title of a James Bond novel and film – Diamonds Are Forever. 

Different stones have different significance depending on which country they are given in; and on the overall purpose of the jewellery. For instance, a st9one in an engagement ring has specific relevance to fidelity and constancy. 

About Author : Diyana Lobo is a jeweller. By applying her extensive knowledge in the field of fashion, she writes informative content about childrens jewellery. Click here: www.acotisdiamonds.co.uk for more information on stones.

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