The History Of Gold Jewellery
Examples of Gold Jewellery Design
Relics and wall carvings clearly show that as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, people had mastered the art of extracting and purifying gold to a very high standard. Gold mining and goldsmithing were then refined by the Romans helping to make them a formidable power. In many other cultures too, gold was highly prized with the Mayans and Aztecs associating it with their Sun God and building temples in his honour plated in pure gold and the Greeks referring to it as the ‘sweat of Zeus’.
In many religions, gold has been symbolic too. In the Jewish and Christian faiths, the Book of Exodus has the Golden Calf as a symbol of idolatry and rebellion against God. On the other hand in the book of Genesis, Abraham was said to be rich in gold and silver, and Moses was instructed to cover the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant with pure gold.
Gold’s symbolic and actual value has continued to influence the course of human development and history playing a large role in fuelling the desire to explore the New World, causing mass migrations to areas where gold had been discovered and, even today, being the basis for modern currencies. Its name has come to be a mark of high quality with the highest honours and awards being called gold – gold medal, golden globe, palme d’or – and it has long been associated with notable anniversaries particularly the 50th.
Gold can be a symbol for power and status and so was often reserved for the ruling classes throughout history. As with silver, beautifully crafted items were particularly prized and the best way to display these possessions was to wear it, leading to all manner of jewellery items being created. Not only bangles, necklaces and earrings but highly ornate brooches, pectorals and diadems as well. The ease with which it can be worked, due to its malleability, and the fact that it does not tarnish, rust or corrode made it perfect for jewellery making, remaining a jewellery staple for millennia.
Recently, with the increasing fashion for platinum and silver, gold seemed to have lost its shine in the jewellery world but, with new trends, has come a re-newed interest in gold. Big and bold, ethnic and heavily influenced by ancient cultures, gold jewellery is definitely in vogue using both traditional and new looks. One particular trend has been the use of different colours of gold – yellow, white and rose – in combination to create some fabulous pieces.