According to historical excavation and analysis, jewelry was first invented by the Cro-Magnons, early ancestors of modern day Homo sapiens who lived in Europe and Africa. Beads made from nassarius shells over 100,000 years old are considered to be the earliest form of jewelry.
Besides the ancient nassarius shell beads, ancient necklaces and bracelets made of bone, wood, stone and various animal teeth and sinew are considered to be very early examples of jewelry being worn by human ancestors. Originally designed for the practical purpose of fastening clothing together, jewelry evolved steadily over time and many cultures to reflect fashion, decoration and even social status.
In ancient Egypt, it was common for the wealthy to exhibit their power materialistically through jewelry, particularly items made from gold. Jewelry also has a long history of religious symbolism; common examples include the Christian cross and the Jewish Star of David.
Jewelry has also been used throughout the years for other forms of symbolism; for example, a ring worn on the fourth digit of the left hand often symbolizes the contract of marriage in many different cultures and nationalities. To this day, jewelry remains a popular staple of fashion and accessorizing across the globe.