Jewelry making has been traced back to pre-historic times when beads were made from sea shells drilled to make beads. The most common use of jewelry is as an adornment but jewelry has been used for lots of other purposes. Some of these are as currency, a way to store wealth, something symbolic and as protection.
An example of jewelry as a tool for protection would be a kilt pin. If that pin is shaped into a beautiful object then it becomes more than a tool. Hair pins have been used as small daggers and a sword in a cane is a prime example of protective jewelry. Symbolic jewelry is often in the form of religious symbols such as crosses and stars.
Materials used for jewelry are innumerable. Gemstones, metals, shells, glass and even tree sap have in used in the jewelry making business. Other objects have been used in abundance to adorn the human body, usually temporarily but sometimes permanently.
The selection of a material to make jewelry used to be determined by what was available in the region. People who lived by the sea used shells and those living in an area where jade or amethyst was readily available, used those materials. Today, we are no longer bound by geography and are able to take advantage of the availability of jewelry making materials.
Beads are, no doubt, the most popular material used in jewelry making. They are flexible and easy to use whether they are made from expensive metals and gemstones or especially attractive seeds. Textures, colors and shapes can all be created with a selection of beads. Beads can also be embroidered into articles of clothing.
Today’s jewelry fashion allows for great variety and freedom. Jewelry making, as a field, has taken advantage of that freedom. The most unique jewelry will always be custom made. Enjoy the process.