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Gold Jewelry Transcends Time

Updated on January 15, 2010

The history of gold as jewelry

Much of what is valued in today’s society is fleeting. Youth, for example, and beauty, are commodities that last for only a limited time and are prized for their transience. Trends change almost daily and what was important to everyone last season becomes unfashionable the next. Stud earrings are replaced with hoops, which are replaced again with dangles. Rings adorn every finger and then suddenly they are gone and the only hint of them remaining is the single band across a toe.  Bangles run up and down both arms one day and then the next finds mostly bare arms glittering with just the slight filament of a light chain.

As people get older, they reminisce about the old days. The biggest lament? “Doesn’t anything last anymore?” Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. But a glance through the annals of history shows that, in fact, there is something that lasts. Gold. Gold has been used as jewelry in nearly every country, during nearly every era, since the beginning of human history. The shape of jewelry may change from season to season. The amount worn by the trendy may shift as rapidly as the weather. But the substance remains the same. The substance always returns to gold.

Gold was first used as jewelry during the prehistoric times, and it is still widely used and valued as jewelry today. The first people who began using gold to decorate their bodies were the Egyptians, a people who created elaborate gilded costumes to honor their leaders. The Egyptians were not the only ones who historically used gold as jewelry. In fact, the people of Africa, Asia, and Pre-Columbian America all used gold as decoration for their bodies. Gold has been used by leaders of nearly every religion, from participants in ancient pagan sacrifice rituals to Buddhists practicing in India to Christian kings in medieval Europe to atheist body piercers in modern America.

What makes gold so valuable across the ages? Sure, the shiny attraction of this precious metal helps its long history, but what really makes it valuable is its rarity combined with its durability. Gold, though it has been around for as long as humans have been adorning themselves, has always been considered rare. And gold has always been something which transcended time, being passed down between the generations. This is true of the crowns of kings and it is true of the heirlooms given from grandmother to granddaughter.

What is also interesting about gold is that it has never been simply a local trend but always an international fashion staple. This is simply not true of other jewelry. Other styles begin in the hot spots of the world and by the time they filter to the kids of Middle America, the celebrities who started them are “so over” them. It is a phenomenon similar to that of children’s slang. By the time that the kids in Iowa and Ohio were picking up on the Los Angeles idea that gold “is so cool”, the kids in Los Angeles had decided that gold was “super hot”. What didn’t change was the love of gold as jewelry. Kids wear gold jewelry in Iowa at the same time as kids do in Los Angeles. Gold is something thatignores distance and time and just continues being enjoyed as adornment.


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  • prasetio30 profile image

    prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    It look really beautiful. I think most of woman like wearing jewelry. I agree with Pamela. Gold Jewelry become long investment. And easy to liquid. thanks

  • Pamela N Red profile image

    Pamela N Red 8 years ago from Oklahoma

    I collect jewelry and love all kinds. It increases in value and is a good investment. Even costume pieces will go up if it's back in style. Everything comes back around if you wait long enough.

    Unfortunately, during bad economic times gold goes up so now isn't a great time to buy.