Jewelry has always been one of the most important things to humans, ever since the earth existed and they lived in it. There were so many endless uses of jewelry because it was so important, as it depicted something relevant. For instance, people wore jewelry to adorn themselves as royalty and decorate the bodies of important people in ancient times.
However, there were differences between the jewelry of old and those in today’s present world – the former was cut out bones, shells, and stones, while the latter was made out of metals and diamonds.
Over the years, pieces of jewelry have had great significance, as they represent certain things. It evolved to become an item to distinguish the social class (elites) from the mass, with a history of that happening in Egypt and Ancient Greek. However, there were different pieces designed to have cultural, economic, and religious values over time.
Today, the new types of jewelry now have gemstones and are made of different metals to become a fashion item for men and women. Below is a description of the 20 popular pieces of jewelry available in today’s world known to have been a part of people’s fashion statement.
The Necklace is one of the popular types of jewelry in the world today, known to have existed many centuries back. The first set of necklaces were made out of bones, stones, and teeth.
They represented certain values, or sometimes, the reward of their scores. For instance, a necklace was once evidence of a hunter’s ordeal with a gruesome animal.
However, as the bronze age approached, another use of necklaces was for fashion. They were chains made out of metal, with a pendant to represent different things or events. Today, hardly will you find anyone without a necklace to go with an outfit.
A Circlet or Diadem is another type of jewelry dated to be first used in the ancient Greek era. It was more of a social class representation and was referred to back then as Stephanos, a laurel wreath.
A Circlet is a piece of jewelry that looks like an open crown without arches worn by royal successors. The old circlet was made out of ornamental plants, however, they soon evolved to be made of gold and beautified with gemstones and leaves. Today, Circlets are still very much in use, with Great Britain being one of the few users.
Another common type of hand jewelry is the Bracelet. It is a circular ornament worn on the wrist and was described as common with the Timor people of Indonesia in history. It may have been told to have religious and cultural significance. While there isn’t much of it, it is a fashion accessory to adorn the wrist.
The first bracelets were made of wood, enamel, and tortoise shells, however, the new ones are made out of the base and precious metals. There are also other modifications of bracelets to contain other important items like crystals, jewels, and pearls.
Rings are another piece of hand jewelry, only that they are smaller compared to bracelets and are worn around the fingers. Over the years, rings have had a different significance. They first existed as bones and shells until there were modifications into metals.
In the ancient days, rings were used to symbolize authentication or legality to a vital asset. The first ring used for this purpose was called the Signet Ring. However, in ancient Rome, rings were re-designed to represent social and marital status. At this point, the precious stones were integrated into rings to make them beautiful and alluring.
Today, there are different types of rings for various purposes, including fashion.
Earrings are another set of rings that seemed to have also existed in the Bronze age. The only difference between this ring type and the regular type was it was worn around the ears instead of the fingers. They were quite the style five centuries back.
Earrings were made out of metals (gold) and became very popular in Ancient Egypt a century later. As expected, they were worn by people of high social class. That is why you’d find King Tut and Cleopatra (from statues) have many holes for earrings around their ears.
Years later, they were modified into different styles to match the trend for fashion.
Like Bracelets, Anklets are another jewelry accessory used to adorn the ankles. They were first used in 5,000 B.C., in ancient Sumer, and made of leaves and rocks. However, as the trend was introduced to the Middle East, it gained popularity and was re-designed to become even more significant.
For instance, in India, Anklets were once called Payals and were worn by brides and younger women for many years. They were a significant part of ceremonies, especially weddings. Anklets were used alongside saris to beautify the bride. In some parts of Africa, anklets were said to have cultural and spiritual significance.
7. Birthstone Jewelry
Another type of jewelry, which is almost a necklace, is Birthstone Jewelry. It is a significant piece because it is a symbol of the celebration of birthdays or anniversaries. This birthstone necklace only recently became an idea to celebrate loved ones on their special dates.
Birthstone Jewelry, however, has come in different forms over the years. They’ve gone from necklaces to rings, bracelets, anklets, and even earrings. They are more personalized and come in various designs.
8. Photo Locket
Another memorable piece of jewelry to keep like the birthstone is the Photo Locket. It has long existed years before today as a memorial keepsake for loved ones. This jewelry is used to hold small photos in a pendant that could come in different shapes – mostly heart or circle.
Younger and older people often use the Photo Locket to keep the person’s memory in the locket alive. There are also talks about the photo locket being close to the heart to constantly remind oneself of how much the person in the photo means to them. A Photo Locket can be worn casually or during memorials.
The same way there are bobby pins, there are also hairpins, and they are remarkably known to make it to the list of the different types of jewelry that exist. Hairpins are unique accessories that are not only used to hold the hair together but are also decorative and fashionable.
They were worn centuries ago and were made of materials like copper, wood, and ivory. However, in the 17th century, they were re-designed using metals and adorned with gemstones.
Hairpins are available in different colors and designs. They are often used during ceremonies on complex hairstyles and are selected based on the color of outfits.
10. Beaded Jewelry
Another incredible piece of jewelry known to have cultural significance is beaded jewelry. It is often simple but speaks highly of the one who wears it. The beaded jewelry can come in different forms – either using traditional beads or regular jewels.
They can also be designed using different sizes of beads – large, small, or medium. You can create them as shapes, letters, figures, or names.
Beaded jewelry can be designed to fit any purpose. They can come as necklaces, earrings, anklets, bracelets, and even waist beads. Colorful beads are best-sellers.
Tiara is another incredible jewelry option known to come in various styles. It is identified as a piece of jewelry with a circle but with one or more high peaks. Its design is inspired by the Persian Kings and has since gained wide popularity as a fashion accessory.
Tiara, however, was also worn by women only on formal occasions and at parties by the royal families.
One of the most recognized Tiara jewelry is the Bandeau, which is old but highly exceptional. It has a unique design consisting of a stylized headband and a decorated thick front area – often with jewels or diamonds.
12. Ear Cuffs
Earrings aren’t the only piece of jewelry to wear around the ears, ear cuffs are also good options. They are worn around the upper part of the ear or anywhere different from the lobe. It has a unique design that makes it easy to connect with the cartilage of the ear or sometimes pierced through the lobe to stay around the cartilages.
Ear Cuffs were also worn in the bronze era by royalties. They were mostly gold and often worn on ceremonial outfits because of their elaborate but straightforward design. Today, there are ear cuffs in various designs and made of other materials.
Hatpins are alternatives to hairpins in a situation where the latter is not needed. Hatpins are used directly on hats or veils or head coverings. It was introduced sometime in the 15th century but later became an important accessory for women as years passed.
Women who weren’t comfortable with carrying complex hairs with hairpins go for hatpins with the hair coverings. They are small but stylish pieces available in different colors and designs – even as self-defense weapons. For instance, the bejeweled hatpins were one of the most popular types in the 19th century.
Chokers are another different neckpiece, only that they are shorter. They were believed to contain superpowers in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, making their use quite restrictive. Chokers were said to have been protective charms to ward of evil spirits, and they were decorated, often with lapis and made of gold.
In the early 20th century, the Queen of England wore chokers for the first time, even if it wasn’t exactly her style. She wore it to protect a scar she had and soon became a part of her. In no time, people copied her style, and many chokers were made available for people to use.
Torc is another ancient necklace that may have been used and remains relevant in some parts of the world. Torc necklace is thousands of years old, having originated from Europe, among the Celtics. It was a piece of jewelry worn by warriors because it was believed to have spiritual benefits and strengths.
Torc was made out of different metals such as Bronze, Gold, Silver, and Copper – there were even other variations comprising a blend of metals. They are identified easily by their open collar systems, having two terminals at either end.
For those conversant with the Indian culture, you must have seen a certain piece of hair jewelry that has the shape of a serpent. That jewelry is called Jadanagam. It is one of the most beautiful headpieces, as it adds style and beauty to the hair.
Jadanagam takes a particular design but is decorated with other materials like gemstones, diamonds, and rubies. This jeweled headpiece is worn on casual and ceremonies occasions by Indian women.
The Sarpanch is another piece of jewelry common to people living in the Middle East. It is the jewelry you see on turban princes that are worn often to hold the head together. However, there are now other types of Sarpanch designed for women of the high class.
Apart from identifying royalty, the Sarpanch (also called aigrette or shirpej) is also used to define social class. It comprises different bands of gold-containing gemstones and other precious stones. Indeed, it is another timeless piece that existed over a thousand years ago and still currently does.
18. Slave Bracelet
The Slave Bracelet is another common piece of jewelry, even if the name is rather inconvenient. The Bracelet, however, also known as the Belly Dancer or Harem or Hath Panja Bracelet, is one worn around the navel. It is used among women in the Middle East as a fashion accessory when exposing their abdomen.
The Slave Bracelet comes with a ring and a chain connected together and worn around the belly button or navel. It exists in different forms and colors, however, the brighter the color, the more beautiful the bracelet looks on the navel.
Bangles are also a fantastic option for women’s pieces of jewelry. For a long time, they were known to originate from India, having shared a part of their history and known to be a good luck charm. Indeed, they share cultural significance with the country.
They are also hand bracelets designed to be rigid and without proper closures. They have an open-hand design, making it possible to wear them around the wrist and put them off easily.
Bangles are unique and available in several color variations. They are great, especially when worn with complemented outfits.
Brooch is also an excellent piece of jewelry for women, having taken different styles and designs over the years. It is one of the oldest pieces of jewelry originating from ancient Rome, and it spread across other parts of the world, including Europe, where it became even popular. It has made quite the scene on fashion pages and covers.
Brooches are clasps-inspired and are in different sizes – big, simple, ornate, or small. Once, they were used as a symbol of mourning during the Victorian Era. Today, they’ve been modified to become a symbol of membership to groups and scouts.
With that much said about the different types of jewelry in the world, there is no way you won’t be able to identify various pieces of jewelry when you see them around.
Moreover, you might want to consider some of the options listed above and use them where they are appropriate. Some of them are the historical representations of various tribes and cultures, hence, you might want to check if they are related to yours.
If you find other types of jewelry now or in the future, you can also do well to read more about them.