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What are some facts about the history of jewelry?

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Quick Answer

Historians believe that humans started wearing jewelry as long as 100,000 years ago. Early jewelry was crafted in ancient Egypt, China and India. Back then, jewelry makers used materials such as wood, feathers, shell beads and semi-precious stones to adorn themselves.

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In Egypt, jewelry was an important part of costuming, and beads have been found that were formed from meteorites. The artisans of Mesopotamia also produced a great variety of jewelry and used semi-precious stones such as jasper, carnelian and agate.

Indians were believed to be the first people to learn how to work with gold, and Chinese jewelry emphasized animals, scenes of nature and mythical beasts such as dragons.The Greeks and Romans made jewelry in the form of animals and seashells. They used gems such as emeralds, pearls, and sapphires, and the ancient Romans began to use diamonds.

During the Dark Ages, jewelry fell out of fashion and was worn largely by the aristocracy. By the time of the Renaissance, jewelry was quite elaborate. Advances in diamond cutting began during this time, and 1750 saw the first brilliant-cut diamonds.

A great advance in jewelry making and wearing appeared during the Victorian era, and in the 1980s a computer program called Gem Cad allowed stones to be perfectly cut in a variety of ways.

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