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Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Updated on July 22, 2015

Many of us feel the need to decorate our bodies with different pieces of jewelry without giving the idea much of a thought. Whether you wear a precious stone ring, a beautiful watch or a metal spiked bracelet, people have been slipping these objects on their bodies without even asking themselves why. Let's dig into the history of wearing jewelry and find out why do people wear them.

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History of Wearing Jewelry

The earliest evidence of jewelry wearing appeared around 75,000 years ago. Our human ancestors transformed different objects such as animal teeth, pebbles and shells into ornamental accessories like a basic necklace or a pendant.

Researchers believe that our ancestors wore these seemingly useless objects to mark their social status because they believed that these objects were a symbol of wealth.

These peculiar objects might have been used to draw attention from a mate. A tiger tooth has always been a symbol of power and evinces strength because anyone who can hunt down a tiger is surely a courageous and powerful person.

Men wearing an object such as a tiger tooth necklace would draw in interest from women. The ability to help find potential mates is definitely a logical reason why our ancestors wore jewelry.

The oldest known piece of jewelry was a shell with a hole in the middle, discovered in a cave near South Africa. This was likely part of a necklace because the hole was probably used to string onto a cord. This artifact was estimated to be 75,000 to 100,000 years old.

However, these pieces of jewelry weren't restricted to just shells - some beads were made from pebbles, ivory, horns or even pieces of seeds. The wide variety of jewelry indicated that they were worn to establish and express the wearer's unique personality.


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Reasons Why People Wear Jewelry

Religion

One of the most common reason for wearing jewelry is because of its religious significance. For example, a Buddhist person might wear a symbolic Buddha necklace. Someone who believes in a particular religion may believe that the piece of jewelry protects them or wards away evil spirits. In some religions, precious stones may symbolize something valuable. These religious beliefs are strongly linked to wearing a piece of religious jewelry.

Personal Meaning

It is not uncommon for people to wear jewelry because it has a personal meaning to them. A piece of jewelry may remind the wearer of a loved one, a specific time or memory or it may represent something in their life. In this case, wearing jewelry may help someone go through a tough time or keep a memory fresh in the wearer's mind. Some pieces of jewelry may also address a message that can motivate the wearer.

Fashion

Many companies manufacture stylish jewelry that are in-trend. People sometimes wear jewelry just for fashion: it can complement their outfits and significantly improves or completes their overall look. Jewelry can be very expressive - that's why many people find that wearing jewelry is the perfect way to express themselves through their clothing. Some people simply wear it because it's beautiful and they feel good wearing it.

Social Status

Some precious stones can be extremely pricey - and they come at very high costs! Therefore, a piece of jewelry that looks expensive is a sign of one's status because only people with lots of money can afford it. The way that precious stones shimmer and shine can attract lots of attention and really make the wearer stand out. For example, a person adorned with many pieces of shimmering precious stone jewelry will automatically be perceived to have a higher social status and stand out more than an unadorned person.

Personal Meaning

It is not uncommon for people to wear jewelry because it has a personal meaning to them. A piece of jewelry may remind the wearer of a loved one, a specific time or memory or it may represent something in their life. In this case, wearing jewelry may help someone go through a tough time or keep a memory fresh in the wearer's mind. Some pieces of jewelry may also address a message that can motivate the wearer.

Fashion

Many companies manufacture stylish jewelry that are in-trend. People sometimes wear jewelry just for fashion: it can complement their outfits and significantly improves or completes their overall look. Jewelry can be very expressive - that's why many people find that wearing jewelry is the perfect way to express themselves through their clothing. Some people simply wear it because it's beautiful and they feel good wearing it.

Social Status

Some precious stones can be extremely pricey - and they come at very high costs! Therefore, a piece of jewelry that looks expensive is a sign of one's status because only people with lots of money can afford it. The way that precious stones shimmer and shine can attract lots of attention and really make the wearer stand out. For example, a person adorned with many pieces of shimmering precious stone jewelry will automatically have a higher social status and stand out more than an unadorned person.

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