Jewelry are commonplace nowadays. In fact, some regard it as the icing on the cake for every outfit. Others believe that they feel naked without it. But did you know that aside from the earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings we normally possess, there are several other types of jewelry all around the world?
In today’s post, we are enumerating all the jewelry types we know, where they are from, and what’s their purpose. The following ornamental pieces are sorted according to where we wear them—from head to toe.
Types of Jewelry
At first glance, we might not think of fascinators as a type of jewelry. It’s more like a headpiece for women, serving as a decorative headwear in lieu of a hat. However, since its function is merely ornamental, offering no protection whatsoever for the head, it is considered a jewelry piece, more so when precious beads or jewels are attached to it. Fascinators are commonplace in Europe, particularly among the monarchs. It’s also widely used during formal events.
A bobby pin may look far from becoming a piece of jewelry, but its Egyptian counterparts are completely otherwise. Historical records of ancient Egyptian and Assyrian hair pins show that these hair accessories are nicely decorated with jewels and/or beads and made from precious substances such as ivory, bronze, or carved wood. In China, a hairpin can symbolize a person’s social status. In ancient Chinese culture, a hairpin signifies adulthood. When a girl turns 15, she is given an ornamental hairpin during a coming-of-age ceremony.
Hatpins used to be a functional pin used to secure hats in place. But someone—we don’t know who—decided to make it decorative one day and it has become such ever since. Although it’s much less common to see a hatpin on a day-to-day basis these days, it is still considered an precious ornamental jewelry. In fact, there are groups of people in the US and UK which add hatpins to their jewelry collection.
The name sounds foreign because it is indeed foreign. Sarpech is an ornamental piece worn along with turbans in Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh cultures. Sarpech is the upward part of the turban, on the front or either side, and is made of metal decorated with gemstones or jewels.
One of the oldest types of jewelry is earrings. It has biblical and prehistoric accounts. While one does not know exactly how they originated, historians believe that the first earrings were found in ancient Egypt. How and why they began producing it is also unknown. Who would think of inflicting pain on one’s ears just to wear an ornamental piece? But alas, thousands of years later, here we are with plenty of earring options.
Shoestring necklace or bolo (sometimes bola) tie is an ornamental neck tie popular in the western cultures, particularly in Texas. Its incubation is based on a need to secure a hatband. Victor Cedarstaff, who claimed to have originated the tie, said he was riding horse one day and slipped the hatband around his neck to prevent the hat from flying. His companion then joked how the hatband looked nice as a tie, and the idea began. These days, bolo ties are used with polished stones, ladies’ pins, and other jewelry.
As the name suggests, a choker is a close-fitting necklace that gives us the choking effect. Historically, it has several implications. In ancient Egypt, they were known to provide protection to the wearer. During the French Revolution, chokers were used to pay respect to the women who died by guillotine. Black and red chokers were associated with prostitution. It’s not to be confused with torcs, a choker-like jewelry worn by the gods and goddesses and people in power in ancient history. But instead of adding gemstones or jewels to it, torcs are usually made from solid metal such as gold or bronze. Modern days view them as nothing but pieces of jewelry meant to amp our outfits.
The looser type of choker, the necklace is perhaps another one of the oldest articles of jewelry. In history, it served different purposes such in religious, funerary, and magical ceremonies. In general, however, necklaces were seen symbols of status and wealth because they’re mostly made with precious stones and metals. In some ancient cultures, necklaces were made of bones of animals the wearer killed, which symbolize strength and power. Nowadays, it’s an important addition to any outfit.
An armlet or armband, also referred to as arm ring is worn around the biceps. Although it’s not very common to see one these days, historically, it was an important piece of jewelry, particularly in the heroic literature. These days, an armlet is worn by women although not common in the western culture. In some Asian cultures, however, an armlet is a usual piece for brides on their wedding day.
A bangle is akin to a bracelet in terms of wearing it. The only difference is the latter is flexible. Bangles are not very common in western culture but it is in India and other similar cultures. In fact, some women are prohibited from going out with bare arms. Also, bangles are commonly worn in bulk. You can rarely see wearing only one bangle at a time. Punjabi brides are given bangles and are required to wear them on their wedding day.
A bracelet, as mentioned earlier, is the flexible version of a bangle. It serves different purposes: fashion accessory, supportive function, medical identity, and awareness campaigns. It can also have cultural and religious significance. Other wear charm bracelets in the hope of getting good luck in their endeavors. While others wear one to commemorate loved ones.
Another old article of jewelry is the ring. It also dates back to the Biblical times when Israelites where asked to give up their rings and other pieces of jewelry so Aaron could make a golden calf. Fast forward to today, rings are used for different purposes. There’s a promise ring, engagement ring, wedding ring, and even a sport insignia. It can also signify wealth and social status.
Originally designed to hold certain clothing close, a brooch is now widely popular as a decorative jewelry to make one outfit pop. It’s commonly used by women wearing plain clothing. It’s normally made of precious metals such as silver and gold. And ornamented with colorful gemstones. Some brooches are also sparkly.
Literally an ankle bracelet, anklet is one of the two decorative pieces for the feet, aside from toe ring. In some cultures, anklets portray bravery against rival tribes. In western cultures, anklets are worn merely as a decorative piece for the feet. Anklets are commonly worn when barefoot or wearing sandals.
photo credits: https://www.urby.com