Jewelry is the name given for any adornment of the body, usually made of precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum, and set with precious stones like sapphires, emeralds, diamonds etc. Costume jewelry is made of artificial materials such as plastic or glass. Any sort of jewels enhances the beauty of a person.
Our ancestors used different types of jewelry made from various materials, even when these precious metals and stones were not discovered. In those days, it was made of animal teeth, shells etc. Shells were strung together and worn around the neck or around the wrist. Like with everything else, this makeshift arrangement of making jewelry fine-tuned itself with the passage of time, and man discovered more elaborate ways of making ornaments. Beads were extensively used.
The various cultures of the world were famous for the different types of jewelry used. While the Egyptians were famous for their very colorful adornments, the Greeks in contrast preferred colorless metals.
The size of the jewelry too varied. The jewelry worn in the middle ages was huge in comparison with the delicate jewelry that is very much in vogue now. People started believing that certain jewelry can be used to ward away evil spirits. There are several such superstitions associated with the different types of stones and metals, which has its origin in the ancient ages, and which continues to play a part in most parts of the world, in some way or another. It was the Renaissance that made jewelry making an art and brought about a notable change in the way it was made. Soon, the goldsmith came along and didn't wait too long before he brought in imitation jewels that is affordable to everyone.
Over a period of time, jewelry evolved as a sign of social stature and ranking. It has been worn by both men and women for centuries. Portraits of men from earlier centuries clearly reveals a variety of ornaments worn by them in the form of pins, earrings, chains, pendants, rings etc. Jewels were used by men on their daggers too. Although it was worn by all people, the difference in stature is seen in the type of jewelry. The rich and the aristocratic adorned themselves with jewelry made of precious metals and gemstones, including diamonds, while the poorer section of the society made do with ornaments made of brass, beads, glasses, etc.
While diamonds are the most popular and expensive, emeralds, sapphires, and other precious gemstones set in gold, platinum, and silver are in demand too. There are diamonds set in watches for both men and women and they look classy and sophisticated. A gift of jewels lasts forever and memories linger as long as people themselves.