The history of the jeweler is a very long one. When you consider the whole of human history, particularly over the course of the past few thousand years, you’re always going to find jewelry and jewelers.
To think about it another way: If you want to learn more about the creativity of the world at a certain point in history, as well as the social/fashion attitudes of the world at a certain point in history, then you’re going to want to learn more about the history of jewelry and jewelers.
- Facts About Jewelry History
The history of the jeweler and the history of jewelry in general can make for a long list of information. However, if you were to break things down to the absolute essentials, then you are going to want to keep the following tidbits in mind:
- Jewelry from prehistoric times has survived to the present day. These would be pieces that feature bone, shell, and stone. It is unclear what the role of an actual jeweler might have been during this period, or if jewelers even existed at all. However, it naturally stands to reason that someone had to create these pieces.
- Early jewelry was designed to protect the wearer from harm. It could also be used to indicate rank or social status.
- The discovery of work metals changed the world of jewelry forever. You could also make the case that it introduced the notion of the jeweler as a legitimate craftsperson.
- Gold was highly valued in this pre-medieval era. It was not uncommon for brilliant gold pieces to be created, as a means of giving the dead riches that they could take with them into the afterlife.
- Between 1200 and 1500, it could be said that jewelry took on a significant element of social importance. Wearing jewelry was designed to give the rest of the world a clear indication of your status in society. To that end, it was not uncommon to see royalty wearing spectacular pieces made from gold, silver, and/or precious stones.
- Up until the late-14th century, it was commonplace for jewelers to polish pieces, rather than cut them.
- The use of enamels gave goldsmiths and jewelers the ability to color unique designs onto jewelry.
- Jewelers during the renaissance era created pieces that emphasized the splendor and wonder of the time period.
- Through various developments and improvements, arts and crafts jewelry began to make its first appearances, towards the end of the 19th century.