Fascinating Facts About Jewelry
Fact: the giving and receiving of jewelry is an undisputed harbinger of joy. Fact: there are few among us that can withstand the sparkling allure of gold, diamonds, platinum, and pearls. Fact: there is much to love about jewelry, and few are those who do not feel some pleasure in the wearing thereof.
In truth, one does not need to know anything factual or otherwise about jewelry to love its sparkle, shimmer, and shine. No amount of knowledge, fancy facts or fascinating did-you-knows will change our penchant for the rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that we use to adorn ourselves and gift to others to show our love. But, like all things in life, extra knowledge can only increase our appreciation and admiration of a thing – and jewelry is no exception. Indeed, being that jewelry is such a statement-maker in how we present ourselves to the world, it’s only right that we learn a bit more about this key piece of our daily ‘armor’! Which is why we’ve put together a short list of some of the most fascinating, and little-known facts about jewelry.
Jewelry Fact #1: What’s in a Name?
The word “jewelry” is a derivative of the word “jewel”, which in turn derived from the old French word “jouel”; and “jouel”, in its turn, comes from the Latin word “jocale”, which means “plaything”, or toy. Why would such precious jewels have been thought of as toys, you are no doubt wondering? Well, this was due to the fact that back in the day only truly wealthy people could afford jewelry, and so they referred to them as toys. While we certainly find the same childlike joy in our own jewelry as children do in their playthings, we can’t say we treat our precious jewels as toys, but each to their own!
Jewelry Fact #2: Living Jewels
Butterflies, ladybirds, beetles, and birds… So many living creatures have provided the inspiration for so many absolutely beautiful pieces of jewelry. Who among us hasn’t, at one point or another, sported a butterfly ring or earrings, a hummingbird brooch, or a dainty ladybird pendant? But did you know that live – as in living and breathing – insect jewelry was once a thing? The Egyptians would wear scarab beetles into battle; living Mexican Maquech Beetles and Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have also been used as moving adornment; and in Britain the Victorians loved living jewels, and the wealthy could often be seen showing off huge, vivid live beetles attached to their clothing by tiny, fine gold chains.
Jewelry Fact #3: Age Old Story
The world’s oldest jewelry item is a necklace dating back 142,000 to 150,000 years! On a dig occurring between 2014 and 2018, archaeologists found 33 snail shell beads in the Bizmoune Cave in the western Morocco desert. Made from half-inch-long sea snail shells, the 33 beads had clearly had holes carefully drilled through them in order to be strung together as a necklace. Other ancient forms of jewelry found over time include beads made of ostrich eggshell in Kenya and ornaments made of teeth found in Bulgaria.
Meanwhile, the tradition of the engagement ring, as we know it, was started by Maximilian the 1st of Austria when he gifted a ring to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, back in 1477.
Jewelry Fact #4: Say It with Diamonds
Speaking of engagement rings, have you ever wondered why diamonds seem to be the go-to stone for engagement rings? According to the Ringspo 2021 Engagement Ring Survey, diamonds continue to be by far the most popular choice for engagement rings, with over 80% of betrothed couples choosing diamonds as the center stone and symbol of their commitment to each other. But did you know that back in the 1930s, fewer than 10 percent of engagement rings used diamonds? Fast forward 60 years, and by the 1990s, diamonds were already taking up more than 80% of the engagement ring market share, a position that has held steady ever since. So how did diamonds get so popular between the 30s and now? Well, you probably guessed it: clever advertising. Diamond legends De Beers used clever marketing to make diamond rings the only choice, starting with the slogan that continues to make itself heard around the world today: “diamonds are forever”. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that diamonds are exquisite, plus they are almost unbreakable. All of which really does make them a fitting symbol of love everlasting, clever advertising or no!
Jewelry Fact #5: Same Same, But Different
Rubies are red. Sapphires are blue. Different colors. Different stones. Yes? No! Not only do both stones come in a myriad of different colors, but did you know that rubies and sapphires are actually the same stone? Both are made of the same mineral: corundum. Where the change in color comes, is from different trace minerals that each stone contains. Sapphires contain titanium and iron, both of which result in the best-known blue color of this stone, while a ruby’s traditionally known red color comes from trace amounts of chromium.
Jewelry Fact #6: Going for Gold
Gold has got to be one of nature’s most miraculous gifts. For starters, did you know that all gold, every single last ounce, that has been mined on Earth originally arrived via a meteorite? Science and geography tell us that gold arrived on Earth via a huge meteor shower that occurred over 4.5 billion years ago after the Earth’s crust had formed. Indeed, so huge was that meteor shower, that gold is found under the earth’s surface across all seven of the continents. Even more spectacular and mysterious? Almost 10 billion tons of that gold is still buried in the oceans… talk about buried treasure.
Jewelry Fact #7: We Like Big Baubles, We Cannot Lie
Finally, here’s a fact about jewelry that nobody can dispute: we love it. We love it so much that in 2021, Americans spent an astonishing $57.965 billion in the jewelry market (Statista, Jewelry: United States). And we’re not alone in our love for all things glittery and gold: the global jewelry industry is valued at $228 billion as of 2020. In truth, though, this love of jewelry has very little to do with numbers and money for those of us who truly adore sparkle and shine. Instead, we know that there is meaning and power to be found in the ways in which we adorn ourselves. As Elizabeth Taylor once put it, “Jewelry has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique.”
At Keezing Kreations we not only have jewelry facts at our fingertips, but we also have decades of experience in designing customized jewelry that sends just the right message, using just the right stone and metal for the occasion, the recipient, and the special moment in time. Whether you prefer colored gemstones or dazzling diamonds, classical styles, or modern magic, let us help you choose the perfect stone and style, and create a stunning and unique, but timeless, piece of jewelry guaranteed to delight the wearer for years to come.