Necklaces and pendants are an integral part of today’s fashion scene. These are one of the most common jewellery pieces to be worn by celebrities and commoners alike. But, did you know that necklaces and pendants share a rich legacy that spans several millennia? Not many people know this, but the history of necklaces and pendants can be traced back to even prehistoric times. Over the years, necklaces and pendants have undergone significant changes in terms of design and materials used.
Early beginnings: During ancient times, necklaces were created using organic materials such as bone beads, teeth, shells, and coral. Later, as humanity discovered metals, it too began to be used for making necklaces and pendants. The design of necklaces and materials used varied from region to region and this differentiation continues even today.
Middle Ages and Renaissance: All throughout the Middle Ages, necklaces and pendants were used as an integral part of dress. During the Renaissance period, gold and gemstones began to be used for making necklaces and pendants. It was not only considered fashionable, but was also used to showcase one’s social and financial status in the society.
Nineteenth and twentieth century: This was the time when costume jewellery made its appearance and became an instant hit owing to its low price. Necklaces and pendants started being mass produced using inexpensive items such as glass, metal, gemstone and diamond replicas, plastic, etc. Fashion jewellery became a part of popular culture, with necklaces and pendants emerging as one of the most widely used jewellery items.
Pendants for men: While necklaces are largely associated with women, pendants have been popular among men and women alike. This was clearly evident during the hip-hop music scene in late 20th century, when chains with pendants had become widely popular among men. Even today, there are many men who prefer to wear chains with pendants. People affiliated to religious organizations can also be seen wearing a wide variety of chains and pendants.
Regional diversity: Necklaces and pendants in European and American communities were predominantly made using gold, diamonds and pearls. In Africa, Central Asia and Middle East regions, necklaces and pendants were made using silver, amber and coral beads. In the Indian subcontinent, preference is given to gold necklace such as Kundan necklace and other related items such as jhumka, chandbaali, earrings, etc. In India, jewellery is used both as a fashion accessory and as an investment for future needs.
The next time you wear a necklace or pendant, remember that you are not just making a fashion statement, but are also carrying an important piece of history with you. It will help you to understand jewellery better and wear it with respect and admiration.Necklaces and pendants have been an important part of humankind and they are among the key things that define who we are.