Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Over the years of working in a fine jewelry department, I've learned that women have to justify why they might treat themselves to a piece of jewelry, even those who make a ton of dough.   Many women buy their own jewelry these days, but the reasons they buy haven't changed much since our mother's generation, when baubles were purchased by their husbands or lovers for mundane and mysterious reasons.

Our Mother's Generation.....

It’s Your Birthday!
It’s Our Anniversary!
Sex Other Than Missionary Position

Our Generation…..

It’s My Birthday!
It’s My Anniversary!
I’ve Had a Shitty Week (don't even think about having sex) and This Will Make Me Feel Better - NOTE:  Most Popular Reason.

Having assisted many women at my counter over the last 20 years, I learned a lot about why we adorn ourselves.  We started by wearing rocks around our necks and bones in our hair.  What did this say about us?  Let’s look at how jewelry has evolved over time:

Stone Ages:  8000-5000BC....Note Wilma's excellent example of rock jewelry.
Early Egyptian Age: 3000 - 500 BC...This should look familiar? I really hate to see myself coming and going every 5000 years....see 1990's bracelet below.
Middle Ages: 5th-15th Centuries.......Your crown is gorgeous - No your crown is the most beautiful - No your is - No yours is.
Renaissance: 15th-16th Centuries....Many layers of jewelry and clothes made it really difficult  to pee at those summer festivals.
Early Modern Ages:  1600-1800.....Hair Lockets - This was just a gross.  Was hair really all they had around?
Industrial Revolution:  1800-1900....Cameos were huge in popularity, but small enough to attach to your bazooms.
Art Deco:  1900-1945.....Now we're talking....beautiful in every way.
1940's:  Cocktail Rings......This was inspired by the Mommy Dearest collection...big enough to balance out those shoulder pads.
1950's......Bakelite Bangles -Always sounded like cookware to me but worth $$$ today!
1960's:  Elsa Peretti Bean Necklace.  My sister and I owned this piece.  I wish I knew where it was today.
1970's:  Lucite careful you'll knock your eye out with this Skeletor limited edition.
1980's:  Diamond Tennis Bracelets.  Everyone had to have one.  Do not fall for ads that offer 5 carats for $99.  You are buying frozen spit.
1990's and on...David Yurman.  Although he started his business in the early 80's, Mr. Yurman became uber popular in the 90's and beyond, establishing the trend of designer and lifestyle aspirational jewelry.  However, see early Egyptian era for original design inspiration.  Lesson:  It's OK to be a jewelry hoarder because what's old will be new again.

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