With jewellery being one of the oldest known artifacts from history, it makes sense that jewellery making has an intense history. Modern jewellery and it's jewellery making methods are the result of thousands of years of cultural exchange and technological development but also a passion that has been passed on through generations. Our love for jewellery as a sense of adornment has never wavered, throughout its history and development.
The first known examples of jewellery were made with ones, teeth, stones, and shells. Evidence of jewellery itself existed, it wasn't until 3,000-5,000 BC in Ancient Egypt that jewellery making was truly established.
Ancient Egypt was famous for the extravagant life of the Pharaoh, it's often the time period where we trace back rich design, artwork and opulence to it's roots. The Egyptians created jewellery in the form of gold necklaces, collars, and bracelets, that we still associate with their culture today. The Ancient Egyptians famous for their preferred opulence were very fond of gold as a medium for their jewellery and design. The gold was mined from the Nubian desert, and due to its malleable properties, it became easy and popular to work with. Egyptians paired their gold work with beautiful semi-precious stones including lapis lazuli, glass, and other semi-precious stones, eventually moving on to emeralds and pearls towards 300 BC.
It was the Ancient Roman Empire thought that dominated the jewellery field and had the most influence, do it its size and scope. The Romans are famous for introducing the brooch. They wore it as a fashion accessory. and they were often adorned with sapphires, emeralds, and amber. Rings were also common amongst the Romans, both male and female. The Roman's invented the signet ring in the sense we know it today. They would often wear a ring with a specific engraving on it to use for the wax seal when signing documents.
Once the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe continues on its jewellery making quest as jewellery had become a well-loved part of society. All throughout the Middle Ages signet rings, amulets and clothing fasteners and brooches were popular jewellery accessories. During the Renaissance, the increase in trades between continents lead to a dissemination of jewellery making methods and materials. This led to the prominence of gemstones and gemstone settings in jewellery. Necklaces, rings, and bracelets began to become popular if they were adorned with gemstones.
It was in the 19th century that we saw an extravagance in jewellery making and the development of costume jewellery. Costume jewellery is heavily adorned with large decorative jewellery pieces. The bigger the better. The wealthy sought out the most intricately designed pieces they could in order to stand out from the middle class, so it brought a new commission side to jewellery design that previously hadn't been as big. Jewellery makers could start making big money from commissions and it developed a hierarchy between different makers, establishing which were the best by how many commissions they received. It added a sales and business level to being a jewellery maker.
Tiffany & Co. was started in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany. This swapped things around and saw America emerge at the top of the jewellery making business. Followed by Pierre Cartier, who opened Cartier in 1847 and Bulgari in Italy in 1884. Diamonds became a huge market and it was Tiffany that introduced the idea of engagement rings with diamonds. These three jewellery have really built the business around jewellery making, and still to this day, remain at the top for establishing fashions inexpensive and high-quality jewellery.