Cabochons Necklaces

Ancient people wore jewelry made of bones; (the earliest is dated around 40,000 years ago; a simple necklace of fish bones found in a Monaco cave), feathers, shells and coloured pebbles (gemstones). By the Roman era most gemstones that we use today had already been discovered. Gemstones were treated with respect as myth and magic were the rule of the day.

The Byzantines had the richest tradition in the use of jewelry during the rein of Emperor Constantine. The melting pot of influence when the emperor moved the capital to Constantinople combined the use of rich colours and oriental symbolism that lasted through the Middle Ages. These designs were carried west into Europe by marriage, trade, and war. When Rome fell, these luxuries all but disappeared and most of the wealth lay in the hands of the Church; spoils brought back from the holy land by the Crusades. At the time both Church and royal families frowned on commoners wearing jewelry and enacted "Sumptuary Laws" to enforce this idea. Henry VIII boasted of having at least 234 rings, 324 brooches and numerous diamond and pearl studded necklets. In the 17th century coloured gemstones lost favour to the era of baroque design which favoured diamonds. King Louis XIV of France (1642-1715) imported more diamonds from India than at any other time in history during his rein.

Much of the jewelry items made today began as functional objects. Pins and brooches originated from the clasps that held clothing together. Rings and pendants were used for early seals and signs of identification, rank, and authority. And our lovely gemstones are back in style, and now available in an array of sizes and shapes.