The first signs of jewelry come from Africa, during prehistoric times, where they were created from sea snail shell beads. Cro-Magnon men made necklaces and bracelets from bone and teeth, stones that hung from pieces of rope, and pieces of carved bone to fasten clothing.
7,000 years ago, the first copper jewelry appeared, but the first signs of jewelry manufacturing date back to the time of ancient Egypt . In this period, jewelry began to symbolize status and religious power in the community. They were not only worn by the rich classes in life, but also in death, forming part of the so-called funerary trousseau.
The Greeks hardly wore jewelry and when they did it was for public appearances or on special occasions. They were often given as gifts and worn by women to show their wealth, status and beauty. They worked with two types of pieces, those created from molds and those made from metal sheets.
When the Romans conquered Europe, jewelry changed, with only Roman designs developing. A very common piece of Roman jewelry was the brooch, which was used to secure the placement of clothing. As for materials, they used a wide range, since they had abundant resources within the entire continent. They created clasps, necklaces , earrings and bracelets. They also made pendants that could be filled with perfume. Women wore a vast collection of jewelry, while men often wore only rings. The manufacture and use of cameos spread.
The Renaissance and the Age of Discovery had a strong impact on the development of jewelry in Europe. In this period, work with precious stones and their setting increased and expanded.
Under the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte , the style and grandeur of jewelry in France was revived. The jewelers introduced the 'dressing', a harmonious set of several pieces such as the tiara, earrings, ring, brooch, bracelets and necklace.
Social changes and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution allowed the emergence of a middle class that wanted and could afford jewelry. In the US, this period gave rise to the founding of Tiffany & Co in 1837. that put the US on the map, as far as jewelry is concerned. Cartier was founded in France in 1847 and Bulgari in Italy in 1884.
Currently the area of jewelry design is in a moment of significant growth. The emergence of new techniques, materials, production and most importantly innovative design have turned jewelry into a renewed product.
Nowadays, due to this evolution, and the use of new materials such as steel , which is more affordable and durable over time, jewelry has become a product accessible to all types of audiences.