Historical Research

Looking back through my historical research posts, jewelry really started out sustainable. People made jewelry out of abundant stones and bones from the animals killed for food and fur. Seeds and plants were often dried and woven together to create a variety of jewelry accessories as well. I suppose it was not until cultures found resources of precious metals and stones, like gold and diamond, from which the category of jewelry became unsustainable.

Such precious and mined materials were and still are tied with cultural manifestations of wealth, beauty, the gods…etc. Cultures all over the world worshiped and coveted these materials, especially with gold in ancient cultures (with ties with divinity and immortality). People, too, desire jewelry made from environmentally unsustainable materials because of their rarity and fanciful promises of luck, wealth, beauty, health…etc.

Of course what materials indicate greater value differ from culture to culture, as well as personal values and beliefs.

A jeweler at work. Indian miniature, 18th century. Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Photo: Hubert Josse, Paris

From ancient times until Brazil entered the diamond trade, India was the only significant diamond-producing country.

Before any technique of cutting the “king of precious stones” was invented, it had already been stamped with great value. Rough diamonds are comparatively unattractive and dull. Yet diamonds were still highly valued because of India’s use of the jewel as a monetary device dating back to the 4th century B.C.

Many legends and myths are tied to this glittery rock, which only further enhance its semiotics and man’s desire to possess it.

The diamond has and continues to play a pivotal role in Indian social, political, economic, and religious events, as it also has in other countries. The desire to possess diamonds has resulted in more scandalous intrigue and violence than what any fictional writer could write.

Historically, diamonds have been given to receive a lover’s favor, as symbols of tribute and expressions of fidelity.Mughal emperors used the diamond as a means of protection and immortality by inscribing their names on them.

Untracht, Oppi. Traditional Jewelry of India. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997. Print. p. 312-322.

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Theft is such a hush-hush subject in the glamour world of extraordinary jewels and jewelry. In some cases, to speak the work evokes a fear of being jinxed or of compromising the security department, so jewelers typically do not like to talk about or share their theft stories. But we have to admit that perhaps …

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Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection is one of the most extensive and popularly known among the masses. Her love affair with jewelry amassed into a personal collection containing some of the most important pieces of jewelry history. Some of the legendary pieces she owned were the Taylor-Burton diamond, the La Peregrina pearl set, the 33-carat Krupp diamond, the Shah …

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Throughout history, people have taken creative license in finding and using raw materials in his or her environment. Early civilizations have used seashells for barter and adornment and relied on pigments from plants and insects to color textiles and paint on walls. In the twentieth century, plastics have been added to the list of available …

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