Jewelry has been around since before the civilizations but the very first signs came from the people in Africa. Beads made from sea snail shells found in South Africa have been dated to 75,000 years ago. In Kenya, beads made from ostrich egg shells have been dated to over 40,000 years ago. The invention of fire came later but men sure knew how to make necklaces to get the missus to smile. Before humans could figure out tools, they knew the art of self-adornment. I remember visiting museums and gazing at lavish crowns, luxurious silk clothing, and intricate ornaments. I remember taking the class on human sexuality and learning about different tribes and their distinct ways of piercing their bodies. There weren’t many body parts that escaped the art.
The olden times were much simpler. Jewels were used to gain a bill of ownership. No one was going after the microchips or a compact drive containing MI6 confidential data. Olden times didn’t realize the value of an authentic Mona Lisa or didn’t force countries to race towards a bomb activator. The olden times were much less complicated. The pirates created havoc and went through hell only for gemstones and pearls. All that Alibaba and the forty jewel thieves ever wanted was gold. I wonder if this is the reason why olden times are considered golden.
Then arrived a phase of status, social standing, and power. In ancient Rome, only certain ranks could wear rings. The kings wore the crowns maximum in weight, value, and density. The epic of Mahabharata reminds me of three things – indefinite artillery, the holy Bhagawada Gita, and an abundance of 24-carat gold. Persian men didn’t shy away either and hardly bothered to invest in watches, belts, or wallets. It wasnt quite the age for Tag Heuer and Rolex just yet.
Even the master of ‘eureka,’ Archimedes eventually played with a gold crown.
Now, the age has arrived where an entire youth of a girl goes expecting a carat. Anniversaries are not to celebrate your love but to add to your collection. Dollars are saved to be able to buy that Cartier instead of planning a family trip to Hawaii. Real jewelry is often used for artificial purposes.
I buy jewelry so I can decorate my body and admire myself. Looking at the ring reminds me of my beautiful long thin fingers. Earrings hide away behind my hair but I know they are there. With each second spent in putting them on, I celebrate life, existence, and progress. Whenever I wear anything inherited from my mother, I inherit and continue her beauty. With each piece I own, I collect a bill of ownership and a sweet memory.
Jewelry has impacted religions and cultures. It has influenced hierarchies and socioeconomics. It has even given birth to hate and crime. To me however, it is a treasure beyond the meaning of the word.
“May you each own a piece and may you each own a treasure.” – Roohism