1# – The Oldest Jewelry is… old and organic!
The oldest known pieces of jewelry date back to about 100,000 years ago. You might be wondering what these were. Perhaps beautiful gemstones or diamonds? In reality, the oldest pieces of jewelry that have been found are simply a couple of beads made out of shell. These organic beads probably served decorative and symbolic purposes.
2# – The First Diamond
The very first diamond found was in India back in the 4th century. They quickly became highly valued because of their amazing durability and sparkle. Until the 18th century, people thought that India was the only source of diamonds but then in 1866, a diamond over 21 carats was found in South Africa, which grew to become one of the leading diamond suppliers.
3# – Opals and Literature
Did you know that until about the 18th century, opals were highly valued and one of the most popular gemstones in Europe? But then, Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel called Anne of Geierstein, where the fire of an opal, owned by the protagonist, was quenched when touched by holy water. The lady died soon after. The publication of this book led to huge decrease in the popularity of opals as being an unlucky stone. Even today, opals are associated with bad luck and misfortune.
4# – The First Engagement Ring
We’re so used to the idea of engagement rings in the West that it seems strange to think of a time when this tradition wasn’t around. Well it wasn’t, until romantic Maximilian of Austria gave his beloved Mary of Burgundy a ring as a promise of the impending nuptials back in 1477. This caught on and today engagement rings are a multi-billion dollar industry.
5# – The Most Popular Rock for Engagement Rings
Since the 20th century, diamonds have grown to become the most popular gemstone. Over 80% of couples choose a diamond engagement ring today, compared to just 10% in 1939! All the other gemstones combined only come to about 13% of the total engagement ring output.
6# – Roach Jewelry… Say what?
It’s true that sometimes we use parts of animals (shell, bone, coral) to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. But did you know that there is such as thing as live insect jewelry? What’s more, this is a tradition that has existed in certain cultures for centuries! Live insect jewelry is when live insects, such as beetles and cockroaches, are worn as fashion accessories attached to your clothes. Thanks but no thanks!
7# – Pearls are Almost Always Cultured
In the early 20th century, the process of culturing pearls began on a commercial basis, making it possible to farm pearls. This made pearls readily accessible to everyone. Even today, almost all pearls you find on the market are cultured pearls.
8# – Pearls
Pearls are the only gemstone that comes from a living animal. It is an organic gemstone.
9# – Amber is Sap
Amber is made from the fossilized resin of trees over millions of years, commonly pine. Genuine amber is warm to the touch with a faint smell of pine.