Necklace – A timeless symbol of fashion

A brief history of necklaces:

Necklaces have been worn by people for as long as we remember. The earliest form of necklaces was made using organic materials such as shells, bones or teeth.  Other materials such as beads were used which were considered to be more luxurious. In separate cases, twisted metals were used to adorn the necks during the Bronze Age. 

With all regard, as mentioned above, the style of accessorizing the neck has been there ever since and styles have been evolved and are being evolved. But the fact remains, necklaces are here to stay and will never go out of fashion.

The design of necklaces varied from period to period. And every time a style evolved, one could tell what kind of style revolution that particular era went through. It is also no coincidence that necklaces experienced a revival during the Renaissance where necklaces replaced brooches during the late Gothic and the early Renaissance periods.

Along with this fact, the necklines of women dresses were also lowered so as to direct more attention to necklaces. During which, the design of necklaces became more elaborate by adding heavy gold chains, huge gemstones or pendants. Although, this does not mean that necklaces were only worn with low necklines. Men with a certain social standing wore carcanet which were a type of necklace that was bejeweled and resembled a collar. A carcanet was worn over a shirt that traced over a collar by men from the fifteenth century through the seventeenth century.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century, people had not tired of this trend. Instead, women were poised to go to the extravagant lengths of getting matching sets. A matching set included a necklace, a pendant, earrings, a brooch and a tiara if they wanted something more lavish. 

The necklace in this set was the fancier part of the set as it was meant to be worn in the evening with a low lowered décolletage bodice. During the day, women usually wore dresses with a higher neckline and a brooch or a pendant was worn instead of the necklace. This trend continued through the twentieth century. But like everything, this style went through an evolution instead. 

Matching sets were expensive as materials like gold and precious stones were used mostly. But come the modern century, technology also evolved to create jewelry that suited the needs of the common man which came with affordability and more choices of style. 

People today have the choice of opting for styles based on their preference. It is also not uncommon for people to submit their choice of style to a jewelry designer to get custom-made necklaces. The bottom line is the fact that, people have a relationship with necklaces and it will be a long time before we say goodbye to it. Instead, there is no slowing down, as people all around the world count on a piece of necklace for spicing up their outfits and looking stylish wherever they go. 

Types of materials used in making a necklace:

As it were mentioned earlier, people used organic materials like shells, bones, teeth, beads and metals for making the primitive form of necklaces. But as human beings went on to discover more precious metals and gems, the Western civilization show a sharp intake of gold, diamonds and pearls to adorn the neck of both men and women. To this day, diamond necklaces are seen as a symbol of wealth, a high social standing and prestige. And before today, it most probably stood for the same meanings. 

Roman women used pearls as their choice of materials. A string of pearls was considered as the epitome of fashion for these women. The Classical period during the early Renaissance through the Neo-Classical period observed a sharp rise in women opting for a string of pearls as a choice of accessory. Queen Elizabeth I is also famously known for her love of pearls where she first sparked a trend for draping pearl necklaces over stomachers. 

Enter the twentieth century, and the hippie era, both men and women were running around to get their own piece of ‘love beads’ which were considered fashionable for both European and American men and women. Gold necklaces are a part and parcel of women in Asia and are kept aside as investment or for future use. Italian coral beads are also used to make necklaces by the ethnic groups in West Africa which are worn by both men and women.

Conclusion:

As it is evident, these styles have evolved and have been designed to suit our everyday needs. If we look closer into each of the modern designs, we will be able to see a little bit of our ancestors and how they influenced the fashion world through jewelry.

Sources:
Evil Eye Jewelry
Wikipedia

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Mike has been an author for 13 years. Based out of Michigan, he has written numerous pieces for large institutions as well as freelance.

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