When you walk along the beach, do you ever stop to pick up seashells, admiring their natural allure? Well, thousands upon thousands of years ago, people did the very same thing, only sometimes they would punch a hole in those shells so they could wear them, fashioning some of the very first necklaces. This early jewelry was absolutely fabulous. It showed how creative people were and how we valued beauty even before farming and cities were born. Over time, our jewelry has grown with us, transforming from simple sea-shells to dazzling diamond pendants. While jewelry has changed, sometimes dramatically, one thing has remained true. We have always absolutely adored our treasures. Let’s step back into ancient times and marvel at some of the oldest known pieces of jewelry.
Stunning Sea Snail Shells, 142,000 - 150,000 Years Ago
In northern Africa, archaeologists made a breathtaking discovery. They uncovered a set of sea snail shells that had small holes drilled through them. It was concluded that long ago these shells were worn as a necklace or possibly earrings. The shells also had smoothed and polished edges, proving that these pieces were crafted on purpose. The shells were dated between 142,000 to 150,000 years old, making them the most ancient jewelry known to humankind.
Unforgettable Chlorite Bracelet, 50,000 - 70,000 Years Ago
If we move forwards in time and thousands of miles northward, to ancient Siberia, we would discover a chlorite bracelet which reveals an incredible level of technological sophistication. Because chlorite is a mineral, it's hard to grind, shape and polish. However, this piece was perfectly carved into a "C," fitting elegantly around the wrist. This extraordinary bracelet reflects bright sunlight by day and at night the firelight turns it an enchanting, deep shade of green. The piece is also very fragile, so it would have to have been handled with great care. Whoever made it was a master jeweler of their time. Because this bracelet is so gorgeous and delicate, the archeologists who unearthed it believe it was worn only for “exceptional moments”. Just like we buy jewelry to honor our cherished milestones, our ancient ancestors wore priceless pieces for theirs.
Crafty Ostrich Egg Beads, 40,000 Years Ago
The next item on our tour is beads made from the shells of ostrich eggs. These beads don’t seem like much and some are smaller than a dime in width, but they speak of painstaking craftsmanship, ingenuity and creativity. In order to make the beads a person would have to take the jagged shards of an ostrich egg, sand them into perfect discs and then drill a hole through the middle. A long, finished string of beads would be both gorgeous and functional, because it’s believed that people used them in trade. Beads traveled thousands of miles throughout eastern and southern Africa. These beads are still crafted today, making them one of longest running cultural traditions in the world.
Marvelous Starr Car Pendant, 11,000 Years Ago
This pendant is unique because it’s considered one of the oldest pieces of art in Britain. It’s a pretty humble looking piece of shale, but it challenges our modern imaginations. Triangular in shape with a small hole drilled at the top, this pendant is carved with small, thin lines. The lines are so faint that if you weren’t paying attention they might just look like scratches. Yet these lines were very carefully and purposefully engraved. They may have even been painted different colors, bringing them to life. To this day, we’re not sure what the lines symbolize. Archeologists have speculated that they could be a map, tree, leaf or even some sort of tally marks commemorating something special.
Incredible Gold Bead, 6,500 Years Ago
Humans upgraded their feather, bone, berry and stone jewelry to copper and then gold. This meant the end of the stone age and the beginning of a new era, one in which people began to use metal for their adornments. Thus, a single gold bead is cause for great excitement because it marks this important turning point in human history. Plus, the use of gold required exclusive jewelry-making techniques, specifically knowledge of metal-smithing. This meant you needed a specialist to make your finest, cutting-edge gold jewelry. Metal-smithing changed the way jewelry was made, further transforming a craft that already required great skill and creativity.
Discover Your Timeless Piece at Yelton’s
As we step forward into the present, we’re surrounded by the descendants of these age-old pieces. In our day and age, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets and more all continue to be crafted and cherished. Though each piece of jewelry is finely rendered from different materials, every treasure has a one-of-a-kind tale that marks a significant moment. Frankly, this is what makes Yelton’s different. We have such a passion for jewelry that even the most ancient pieces in history are recognized for their beauty and strength, portraying a story that will be told until the end of time. So, come on down to Yelton’s and discover your very own timeless piece. Explore our extensive collections of bridal and fashion jewelry and find something which truly resonates. Whatever moment is it that you want to commemorate, we have stunning pieces fashioned with pearl,diamonds,yellow gold,platinum and more. Don’t be a stranger! Visit us today at 9263 Schulze Drive. I can’t wait to show you around.