Jewelry Through Human History

Posted on April 09, 2015 by Natasha Wozniak | 0 Comments

180,000 years ago.....

In the age of Neanderthals, jewelry was already being made and worn.

I used to say that jewelry was invented at the same time that we were learning how to master the use of fire, but with this recent discovery of eagle talons that had been clearly manipulated in order to be worn as jewelry, the time frame for this particular invention got pushed back 100,000 years to 180,000. You can go read more about this discovery in Smithsonian Magazine.

What does that say about our current culture of trendy pieces and DeBeers pushing diamond jewelry as a prize for the obedient wife? To me, it strips this primal human urge and we completely miss that potent charge. The guys, for the most part, get left out of the fun of adornment.

The more I think about this history and purpose of jewelry, the more I am asked to make pieces that connect with our past, whether through bear teeth or gold. Pieces intended to beautify, yes, but also true talismans. Giving energy to the wearer, reflecting their life, their potential. 

I wanted to share a few of these with you, and as always, if you would like to get on the calendar for your own piece of custom expression, you can head over here to learn more and fill out my form.


Flowers dotting filigree

When the client first emailed me, she sent along the most stunning photo of Greek filigree gold earrings. Just spectacular examples of early goldsmithing, when the tools were hard to come by and soldering was done on a charcoal fire.

I felt quite a responsibility to uphold the lineage of craftsmanship and beauty that is part of my craft. Even with the contemporary updates of black and gold and asymmetry, the earrings have the classical shape that made the originals so stunning. A special touch was to put flowers on both sides, because hoop earrings show both sides. Details are important.

Bear teeth and diamonds

The most primal jewelry is made from bones and claws. One of the most unusual materials to cross my jewelry bench, these bear teeth were originally strung on some simple wires. With the intertwined branches and the diamonds, they became glamorous, yet totemic earrings.

While the original teeth were barely noticed, the new version is attracting quite the attention, from what I hear. I hope people ask the back story, because she has some tales to tell.

A queenly collar
The large collar in jewelry often represents the times when a ceremony is performed or a dance unites the wearer with the divine. Or it can be protection in battle, giving both practical protection as well as a powerful appearance. 

This collar was made for a woman that is both queenly in appearance as well as accomplishment. She is directing films and plays, which is not unlike a battle on certain days. Of course, she also wears it to the victory party, also know as Opening Night.


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