Jewelry in Different Cultures

It is hard to avoid Jewelry all together, no matter where you go in the world, you will see women, men and children decorated in different types of jewelry and accessories. The actual types of jewelry and their significance, however, largely differ across different cultures, countries and places. For example:

Egyptian Cartouche

Egyptian_-_Scarab_from_Egyptian-Style_Necklace_-_Walters_57153013_-_BottomThis historic piece is an oval pendant containing hieroglyphics above a single straight line. The line includes the name or title of an Ancient Egyptian Ruler. These were traditionally placed on or around the body of the deceased to aid in identification in one’s afterlife.

Celtic Torque

The torque is more or less a Celtic collar. It is traditionally flat, made of metal and tight around the neck (like a collar). They are decorated with knots, pendants or decorative clasps. These are derived from Celtic tribes whereby these necklaces were indicative of status or high rank (i.e. priests, royals, warriors, etc.). The most important people wore these in an effort to protect themselves from curses, evil wishes or harm altogether.

Tuareg Cross

This is a North African silver piece that is traditionally passed through generations from father to son. The deeper symbolism involves the four corners of the world as these tribes are nomadic with no idea where they will settle or die.

Greek Komboloi

These are translated or otherwise known as “worry beads”. These joint strings of beads are often made of glass but can also be made of amber. There is usually a tassle at one end and a bead at the other. The beads are supposed to help with stress relief and /or meditation and were originally made by Greek Monk to use as a type of rosary or prayer tracker.

These are only four examples of the way jewelry is deep rooted in culture and history and helps us understand the ways in which what we wear implicates and defines who we are as a society or culture.

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