The Tradition of Jewelry as a Gift

June 27 2015

Jewelry has a story that begins at least 100,000 years ago. Ancient Egypt, India, China, Mesopotamia and other ancient cultures were collecting gems, making glass, and molding metals for several thousand years before European and Western civilization emerged. Each culture added unique styles to the heritage stored in the designs and jewelry traditions passed through time.

India deeply connected jewelry to its daily traditions and its religion. Here were the first artisans to master the art of gold gathering and processing. China developed a style of jewelry making that emphasized sculpture, focused on scenes of nature and myth that spread across the world.

Jewelry was part of the early Mediterranean and Near Eastern traditions as well. Ancient Egyptian jewelry designs still influence the world of fashion today. Greek and Roman jewelry designs and metal stamping reflected the influence of their heroic sea adventures and those of many conquered cultures and nations.

The traditions of jewelry were carried across the world faster than the European explorers who followed it. Native Americans produced unique styles and integrated their history into their designs. For them, jewelry served as a currency.

The European civilization, slowly emerging from barbarism in the age of Christianity, first encountered the treasures of the East during the Crusades. It was the search for gold and spices that drove Europeans to explore the world. India and China was the mysterious place the European sought routes for, and jewelry was one of their prizes. It was gold that Columbus sought and thought he found in the West Indies. It was gold that brought the Spanish to what is now Mexico and Central America.

Jewelry has been deeply imbedded in the human spirit for at least 100,000 years of decorative and precious items and more than 6,000 years of metallurgy and gemstone refining and polishing.

Modern jewelry crafts and arts carry a weighty tradition with them. The designers of modern jewelry do their work with and against the boundaries of historical tradition. The art of jewelry making has to be seen as theme and variation, like the art of music composition. Sometimes we value what is different from the past and sometimes we value a reflection of the past, but the past, the archetypes passed down to us are always there.

That's why jewelry is important, and deeply valued as an expression of love. Jewelry is value that is worn. It embodies everything valuable. It expresses the value of the wearer.

Jewelry is the gift embodying lasting value. When a man buys a woman jewelry it mean he is serious about her. According to E.Harmony, "When a guy buys a woman jewelry, it usually means he is committed and in it for the long haul."

Gifts of jewelry have long been associated with love. Jewelry is meant to be worn, not stored. Jewelry is pure beauty. It rarely has a use beyond the aesthetic. The gift goes beyond what the recipient needs. It is abstract, beyond necessity, related to the spirit. A piece of jewelry matches the value of the wearer. It does not enhance the wearer's value but emphasizes a clear statement of it. Jewelry is also a claim. It marks commitment. It enhances a sense of belonging together.

Jewelry buying is always a matter of trust since the value of the jewelry is a matter of deep intangibles. If you buy jewelry that has substantial monetary value you, the validity of what you bought is important. You want to be sure that the gems are real, the pearls are natural, the diamonds are clear and perfect, and the precious metals are heavy and rich. You wonder, how can something so aesthetic and immaterial be so tainted by the realities of the marketplace? It has always been that way. Jewelry was always robbed, counterfeited, plundered and bargained for with human life.

Curate Gifts presents the works of some of the best known independent jewelry designers, with names like LIVEN of Los Angeles and Rajola of Greece. Please contact us for more information and examine our catalog.