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The Complete Evolution of Jewelry

The long history of jewelry somewhat coincides with the evolution of humans as a species. Since the early stone age, the nature and purpose of wearing jewelry are evolving with the changing lifestyle of people all around the globe.

There are numerous factors that influence the nature of the jewelry. Customs and traditions of different geographical areas influence the aesthetics of jewelry. Religion and personality also dictate terms in people’s jewelry choices. But, before exploring all these details, let us explore the origin and gradual transformation of jewelry from the ancient world to the present day.

Jewelry in the Prehistoric Era

Archeological evidence confirms a widespread use of jewelry pieces as early as a hundred thousand years ago or even older. It is universally accepted that the beads which were found in today’s Israel are the oldest known jewelry. One interesting fact to note here is that the beads are not built by humans, but by an extinct species called Neanderthal, a pre-evolution phase of today’s human beings. These beads made up of seashells are around 135,000 years old, which confirms the influence of jewelry from the very beginning of human history.

Jewelry of around 40,000 years old made up of Ostrich shells was found in Kenya. Archeologists also found a marble ring of similar age in interior Russia.

Based upon the evidence, it is safe to assume there was a significant shift in terms of jewelry making by around 7000 years ago from today. Jewelry based upon berries, stone, bone, animal teeth were quite prominent in those days. It was in the same time period when copper jewelry was introduced for the first time.

Jewelry During the Ancient Civilizations

Once the ancient urban civilization took place in different parts of the world, jewelry entered into mainstream society, and since then it stays as a part of our adornment. 

In the Harappan civilization, metal jewelry was quite common, and therefore, archeologists found plenty of ornaments like bracelets, necklaces, rings, bangles made up of precious gold from various excavation sites in the Indian subcontinent. The same is the case with every other contemporary urban center, like Chinese civilization, Mesopotamia, etc.

The purpose of wearing jewelry pieces was mostly related to individual faith. Ornaments were meant to protect the wearer from the surrounding evil forces and please their respective divine entities. Besides, jewelry also played a crucial role in the identification of certain clans and revealed a lot about their lifestyle.

Jewelry in the Medieval Era

Upon comparing medieval jewelry with ancient jewelry pieces, it is obvious to notice a significant cultural shift. In the medieval era, the purpose of wearing sophisticated jewelry pieces has changed considerably. Unlike the past, high-end jewelry pieces were made up of gemstones and gold and were exclusively available for the upper class of the socio-economic slab. In those days, people started treating jewelry as a symbol of wealth and power. The economically weaker section of the society had no other option but to wear inexpensive metal-based jewelry pieces.

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Similar to the ancient age, jewelry had no gender bias in the medieval era. Both males and females could wear ornaments as per their likes and purchasing power. Warriors also used to wear a lot of ornaments to showcase their valor.

The emergence of multiple popular religions across the world also affected the aesthetics of jewelry to a great extent. The evolution of today’s religious jewelry is just the continuation of the trend that started in the early sixteenth century. 

Colorful jewelry became popular in the medieval age. Gemstones of different colors, large-scale use of enamels, and improved cutting techniques of stones are some of the major factors responsible for enhanced glister and colorfulness of jewelry.

The Modern Age Jewelry

By the late eighteenth century, people started considering jewelry as a part of their daily adornment and an essential ingredient of fashion. As a result, gold fashion jewelry saw a massive hike in terms of both production and consumption. 

The industrial revolution, advancement in mining and metallurgy, inter-continental transportation facilities helped the industry to grow on a global scale. At the time of colonial rule, manufacturers got the opportunity to avail precious metals and stones from African countries, and the Indian subcontinent at an extremely cheaper price point. They processed these raw materials in the industrial region of Europe and circulated the finished goods globally.

In the early modern age, Armenian and Egyptian jewelry got incredible popularity. Good quality metals and stones, brilliant craftsmanship, and attention to detail are some of the attributes responsible for the wider acceptance of these jewelry types.

The innovation of the internet and computing devices like smartphones, and computers enabled the entire population to buy anything sitting at their residence, and jewelry is no exception. Now what we can see is the beginning of digitalization of the entire jewelry industry. Things are moving ahead quite fast, the usage of diamond rings in engagement and weddings has increased by as much as 800% since 1930, and a similar trend can be expected in the near future as well.

Jewelry also saw a lot of innovation in this contemporary internet age. Today, we have varieties of jewelry types to choose from. So here are some of the popular jewelry types for your consideration.

  • Initial Jewelry

Initial jewelry is becoming increasingly popular among the youths. The trend of initial jewelry is evident all across the world, including the United States. You can either go with stone-based initial jewelry or plain and simple initial jewelry pieces like an initial ring, initial earrings, and an initial pendant. 

Depending upon your budget and the nature of use, you can choose metal and stone for yourself.

These days, the majority of online jewelers are offering an array of customization options. And therefore, you have the option to customize your jewelry piece as per your requirements. Besides, an initial necklace can also be a desirable gift option for your loved one.

  • Zodiac Jewelry

Yes, you read it right. Zodiac jewelry still remains relevant even in the current world order. In fact, the awareness of zodiac jewelry is increasing day by day, thanks to the internet.  Besides, there are people who prefer wearing zodiac jewelry for sheer fashion, owing to the uniqueness of the symbol.

  • Nugget Jewelry

When it comes to uniqueness and durability, nugget jewelry often fills the vacuum. Finding nugget gold is extremely rare, and the textured look of jewelry based upon nugget gold is simply a crowd puller. Nugget 14k gold mens jewelry is becoming extremely popular among today’s youth.

If you are looking forward to buying a ring for daily use purposes, you can very well consider a nugget ring for all practical purposes.


Now you must have realized the rich history of jewelry. The history of jewelry is as old as the evolution of human beings. So, it is virtually impossible to write down the entire history of jewelry in a single blog post. The purpose of writing this blog is to put things into perspective by referring to the historical background of jewelry. As a result, you can get away with reasonable knowledge on this particular subject matter. 

We hope that you have learned something new from this article or at least broaden your knowledge about the glorious history of jewelry.

If you have any interesting facts related to the long history of jewelry, let us know in the comment section below.

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