Expression of Love Through Jewellery
Giving gifts has always been an aspect of human nature. Even within primitive cultures, gifts were a common way to display love, affection, and friendship towards another and in doing so cemented the status of such minerals as the perfect declaration of love. This tradition of gift-giving has continued into the modern era, to the point that any jewellery you encounter within daily life may indeed have a personal meaning to its wearer.
The Beginning of a Tradition
Although the art of jewellery making has certainly developed, the idea behind gift-giving has not. Prehistoric jewellery was often composed of shells, stones, feathers and bones, all of which were used to create an explicit and personal meaning to the wearer. These pieces were usually worn in times of trouble as a form of protection and luck, or to provide insight into an individual's status or rank. These creations allowed for an elevated sense of self-esteem, and because of this, enabled a culture of gifting such items.
Gifting amulets and intricate necklaces were seen to bring safety to those travelling far and wide, whilst similar items were seen to bring good luck and prosperity to families. However, many of these pieces were made to be functional (rather than many of the fashion statements seen today), and therefore served different functions. Brooches could be used to pin fabric together, whilst rings and pendants could be used as an identification of rank and authority. An example of such would be signet rings, used by kings to mark important documents and letters, in addition to a confirmation of identity; these rings can even be seen today, either in companies as logos or given through family generations as gifts with heavy significance.
Much of our knowledge of ancient jewellery making comes from archaeological discoveries, and the exploration of tombs, with some finds suggesting that the ritual of gifting jewellery may go as far back as 25,000 years. Through this, we are able to see how over time human’s ability to curate and manipulate metal has evolved, becoming the intricate and civilised jewellery that is seen in stores today.
Jewellery Gaining Popularity
As jewellery and its affordability progressed, so did societal fascination, morphing from a sense of power into a symbolic representation of connection and commitment. Today, giving jewellery is prevalent within all cultures, and can be seen in many different religious ceremonies, celebrations, or just a display of casual affection. The types of jewellery commonly seen today are as follows:
Necklaces | Necklaces have been used throughout history as a gift of protection, often being tied to religious significance, and thus has allowed for popularity to arise for the particular jewellery. The simplistic cross necklace (a sign of religious significance within Christianity) rose to popularity as the religion of Christianity grew, as Christians saw them as symbols of God, and therefore created a symbolism of peace and comfort that was associated with the jewellery. Necklaces also hold an emotional sentiment; mothers often pass down their necklaces to their daughters, whilst a child might give one to their mother for a special event or celebration.
Rings | The modern ‘ceremony’ of engagement rings has cemented a particular ideal, creating a direct connotation between rings, and devotion. This has given rings a particular significance as gifts, allowing them to be exchanged during special occasions and ceremonies.
Bracelets | Bracelets are an important and often overlooked piece of jewellery, as they are usually simplistic in their design. However, it is the potential customisation that has cemented them as a unique gift throughout history; such simplistic shape allows for daily use, whilst the ability to add charms or gemstones conveys the character of the wearer.
From a psychological stance, giving gifts allows for people to connect. By giving jewellery (or any other trinket) it allows for an individual to express their emotions, and to have a connection made because of such. Due to the rising accessibility to jewellery and precious gemstones, individuals within the present day are able to express genuine care and emotion through consideration of the ‘perfect gift’; this can be seen clearly within certain ‘holidays’ (such as Valentines Day), where society celebrates relationships through gifts.
Although there are many different ways of expressing love and admiration, none are more ingrained into society than that of gifts. Gifts have the ability to depict deep and meaningful thoughts towards another person, with jewellery being a high contender; it is because of this that it can safely be said that gift-giving, and expressions of love, will not disappear anytime soon.