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Religious Jewelry


About Religious Jewelry

Jewelry is not just art that you can wear. It can also pay tribute to a lot of things that people hole near and dear to their hearts, including their faith and religious beliefs. People actually began wearing religious jewelry in ancient Egypt, though the symbols at that time were more pagan and organic since Christianity had not yet been introduced. The scarab beetle was a common religious symbol at the time because Egyptians believed it brought them luck and rebirth. When Rome reigned, religious jewelry that used common Christian symbols emerged. Those symbols included the cross, prayer beads, rosaries, and fish. Christianity is not the only religion that displays its symbols on jewelry, but it has the most popular of the religious symbols to wear.

Cross jewelry is the most popular form of Christian jewelry. Cross items come in gold, silver, plain, or with diamonds. The cross is a universal Christian symbol that can be found on rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and pendants of all different kinds. The fish is another symbol that has re-emerged in popularity over the years. Christian jewelry also incorporates saint medallions, praying hands, Bible images and many other symbols of the faith.


History of Jewelry

The term jewelry is a large, broad term that relates to any adornment of an ornamental nature that one wears on the body. That could be crowns, ankle bracelets and everything in between. Jewelry has been used throughout history in practically every different culture, but it is often used in very different ways. Today’s culture uses jewelry mainly as an aesthetic item, but jewelry has many other functions from past years as well. It can represent marital status, official rank, social rank, or age.

Jewelry first began to rise within society when humans stopped moving around as nomads and began to settled in various areas and begin communities. These communities began to spring up across the world at the same time that mineral deposits were recognized and put to use. Before this era, people decorated their bodies by wearing items other than jewelry. Ancient men made bracelets from bones and teeth and used plenty of decorative pieces filled with these items and other things such as shells, tusks, fishbone, or other animal-related items. They would string the items together and tie them in the back.

Early pieces of jewelry were pieces that were worn around the necks such as necklaces as well as belts, ornaments for the head, and brooches that were worn along the stomach. On the head, people would wear crowns, tiaras, headdresses, and diadems. Eventually, hairpins and combs had jewels embedded into them and later, earrings made an appearance into the jewelry world. In modern days, some people even pierce their noses, lips, and other body parts and wear earrings in those places. Once decorated rings appeared on fingers, they moved to toes and wearers also tried bracelets for wrists and ankles. For a while, there were even thigh bracelets for true jewelry connoisseurs. A little later in the time line, shoes began to be adorned with jeweled buckled. Many of these early traditions can still be found in modern society.

The earliest examples of jewelry come around 2500 BC with the Sumerians. There have been beautifully preserved pieces of jewelry found in the tomb of an ancient queen called Pu-abi. The jewels and ornamentations were found in what is now known as Iraq. The queen herself appears to have worn a robe wrap that was made of gold beads along with silver, agate, cornelian and other valuable stones. The mummy was also rich with other decorations such as amulets, earrings, rings, necklaces and much more.

The Greek Influence

The Greek influence on jewelry began under Alexander the Great. Alexander began exploring and raiding other lands, which led to the discovery of great artists. The crafts of these artisans followed Alexander back to Greece. At the time, Greek jewelry was known for the heroic, mythological, and religious themes that it depicted. Before Alexander came into power, the technical talents of the jewelers in the 3rd and 2nd BC centuries had reached their limits. Their works of art were exceptional and second to no other. The rich contrasting tones were met with the harmony of clarity and an overall unity in the rhythm of the work. When Alexander conquered Persia, the upper classes of Greece began to wear beautiful diadems due to the new influences on the jewelers. This particular ornament was most commonly done in an elliptical shape, held together with the famous Hercules knot. The knot was popular at that time because it was believed to hold mystical and magical powers and qualities.

The Greek The Roman Influence

Rome was a wonderful place for an early goldsmith to learn the craft and go on to build jewelry. The jewelry trade was the biggest in the industry throughout Europe until the Renaissance era. The Romans set up shops and goldsmiths came from all across the Mideast to study and work under and with them. In Rome, at first the fine jewels that the jewelers created were meant to be worn only by those from the upper class portion of society. When the Roman period was at its highest, however, that custom began to change. People with lower societal ranks started to wear jewels as well and it became a tradition among many different factions of people. At that time, gold even took over other aspects of the household. It was placed into furniture along with other precious stones as a sign of wealth and beauty. Romans first used Greek patterns and ideas, but eventually, their own unique patterns began to emerge. Romans also began using more colors in their stones with items like pearls, sapphires, emeralds, topaz, and rubies coming out in the items. Engraved gems were preferred within Rome and the upper class individuals began collecting special pieces. Roman jewelers also began introducing new techniques to the rest of the world. The most important of those techniques is known as the opus interassile. This process requires the craftsman to take a curved or flat metal surface and decorate it with tiny, pierced stones.