Fashion has gone through incredible changes in each era of history, some of which have been repeated and some hopefully, never will be. Jewellery is a unique part of fashion and it illustrates the tastes of the particular time offering an insight into the lifestyle of these bygone ages. The different cultures throughout history had their own ideas of what was or wasn’t beautiful jewellery whether it was gold, silver or encrusted with gemstones, and we can learn a lot from these items about particular period in history.
Jewellery has always being created using both imagination and personal choice but the actual use of an item also plays a big part in the design – whether it was for decorative use or practical use, for fastening a garment for example buy gold in abu dhabi. The social position of the wearer also played a part in the design.
The brooch has been an essential part of clothing throughout history. In Medieval times, they were an integral part of the wardrobe being used to fasten cloaks and tunics. Similarly in the middle ages when so many items of clothing needed to be securely fastened. At this time jewelled belts were also common, the brooches were often of Celtic design and usually made from pewter or sterling silver.
Early Roman brooches were also mainly for fastening togas but were usually in the form of a pin or bow and catch plate, very like large safety pins of today. These pins/brooches were made in Britain but were also popular in Europe, the basic design originating from the Celts.
Early Celtic jewellery were large rings, worn as a necklace called a Torc. The Celts wore these torcs into battle, as a good luck charm to bring them through the battle safely. They wore no other armour so they certainly needed a lucky charm of some sort. Similar items are worn today although they are more often worn as bangles than choker type necklaces.
Mediaeval jewellery was often designed and made by monks in the monasteries, who developed their skills to become skilled craftsmen. Although a lot of the jewellery was specifically for the church, what was worn was designed to show status and power. The aristocracy and royalty wore quite ostentatious wedding and engagement rings with precious stones embedded whereas those of a lower social standing wore copper and pewter based pieces.
Members of royal families and the aristocracy wore ostentatious gold or silver wedding rings and engagement rings, encrusted with precious stones, while those from a lower social class lower social wore their jewellery fashioned from pewter and copper.
Amber has a great appeal, being virtually unique in the world of gems and rocks because of the way in which it was created. It is formed from the fossilised resin of ancient trees, and although the yellow/orange amber is most common, it also comes in brown, green, honey, red and even blue. Most blue amber comes from the Dominican Republic, and is the rarest of the ambers. It can also be found washed up on east coast beaches in the UK if you’re lucky! It is considered to be one of the zodiac birthstones for Taurus.
I have a lovely set of a silver ring and bracelet set with green amber, which makes a change to the usually-seen orange colour. Apparently, green amber was formed from inclusions of plant material. The majority of amber comes from the Baltic countries, including Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It isn’t a rare gem, unless it contains an insect trapped in it, when it is worth a lot more. But I would warn you to be careful when buying these as there are artificial ones created to look like genuine specimens. Always buy from a reputable source, like the dealers on my website, as they are reputable traders.
As Amber is quite soft, between 2 and 3 on the Mohs hardness scale, it needs to be handled with some care, so store it separately or protected from other pieces of jewellery so that it does not scratch. Also avoid leaving it in direct sunlight for a long time. Solvents in perfume and hairspray can damage your amber, the best thing to do is to use these first and put your amber jewellery on afterwards. Also avoid contact with boiling water. When cleaning your amber jewellery please do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or harsh chemicals and do not use a jewellery dip. A soft cloth and a very tiny drop of pure olive oil are often recommended. If the jewellery is set into gold or silver you could try and clean the metal without touching the amber.
In healing, amber is one of the yellow stones, said to aid the nervous system, the digestive system and the immune system too! It is warm to the touch and it can create static electricity when rubbed, thus leading the ancients to consider amber a magical stone. It was even considered to help arthritis and varicose veins, though there is no scientific evidence for this. It is connected with the sun, thus life, and love and luck. Not bad for a small gemstone! Whether or not you believe in the attributed powers of gems, amber still makes for a beautiful piece of jewellery!