Ravens and magpies have been known to collect shiny objects. They seem to share our fascination for the mesmerizing beauty of rocks and shells. This fascination is as old as the world. 90,000 years ago, man assembled shells and beads mad of rock into necklaces.
With today’s technology, the jeweler can transform and arrange materials in new and intricate ways, but essentially the forms remain the same. For instance, our ancestors strung shells together with twine fashioned from plant or animal fibers. Today we string them on chains, but also on leather. The goal is the same: to provide a support for “precious” or meaningful objects to be worn on the body.
Because of their perceived value, those “precious” and meaningful objects served both as adornment and currency. This is still true in many cultures today. In fact, pawn shops abound with gold rings, chains and precious jewels.
Some adornments served a function. Consider brooches, for instance and belt buckles. Other functions are not directly related to convenience. This is true when ornamentation includes specific religious or status symbols.
To be continued…