Why do people have jewelry? Are there benefits to owning them? Or is jewelry only a source of vanity and pride? Why does a person prefer personalized jewelry, nameplate necklace, and personalized bracelets? The dictionary defines jewels as “objects or precious metal often set with gems and worn for personal adornment”. Some sources concur that jewelry is a form of personal adornment that dates back as far as 100,000 years with the discovery of Nassarius shells on the slopes of Mount Carmel, Israel and also in Africa. Women in Biblical times adorned themselves with anklets, bracelets and earrings and the way they wore them indicated their social role and status SlickWearApparel.
An impressive study done by Elizabeth Ellen Platt from Rutgers College catalogs the jewelry of Bible times and shows that during those times various types of jewelry were worn by men and women not only for personal adornment or as a fashion statement but as a declaration of one’s status and authority in society, such as the King’s scepter and crown. Since kings and queens had all the resources of their kingdoms at their command, no doubt most of their valuables were personalized jewelry handed down from generation to generation.
Other sources also inform that there are cultural variations in the reasons for the use of jewelry. They are used as symbols for religious affiliation such as the cross, amulets or talismans for protection, for artistic expression or for practical use as pins, buckles and clasps. For the contemporary younger generation, earrings, anklets, necklaces, bangles, pins, rings, and other jewelry don’t have to be expensive as long as they are fashionable and express what they feel. Take for example the “emo” sub-culture. This is a style of rock music that carries with it a unique culture and fashion style. The “emo” teens are well known for their studded belts and black wristbands while wearing dark horn-rimmed glasses.
As in olden times, possession of valuable stones and gems is a source of security to many people. They accumulate jewelry and keep them as buffer for a rainy day. In some societies, it is a common practice to pawn off jewelry to help ease a temporary financial deficiency. There are also those who don’t wear their jewelry but use them for other purposes such as a guarantee or collateral for a loan. Other cultures use jewelry as dowry to ensure a woman’s value and desirability for marriage.
People acquire jewelry because of the social and psychological benefits derived from them. They secure and enhance a person’s social status due to the value and symbolisms attached to jewelry. They are part and parcel of every culture and the ways by which people relate to each other. On the personal side, they serve as instruments for self-expression to gain attention and acceptance. Personalized jewelry allows a person to express his or her individuality and fosters creativity. They are also necessary as survival tools in poverty ridden societies. Jewelries are valued not only for their amazing physical attributes but also for how they give meaning to people’s lives.
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