The History of the Necklace

Since ancient times, humans have adorned their necks with jewelry for both the sake of fashion and spirituality. From priceless gems to humble strings, necklaces can be used to show identity, power, or wealth. The first necklaces were believed to date back as early as 14000 BCE in Europe and Africa during the Neolithic era where female figures have been found wearing stone beads necklaces around their necks.


Since this earliest discovery of neckwear, it has become an integral part of human culture throughout all periods. From religious necklaces like the rosary to political and military badges to perhaps the most prevalent types of today, fashion and social status. During the Victorian era, ladies wore expensive pendants around their necks as a display of their wealth and social status. It was common for the wives of wealthy merchants to wear large medallions around their necks.


The Early History of Necklaces


Necklaces have been around since the Neolithic period, around 14000 BCE. The earliest evidence of necklaces was found in Africa and they were made from animal bones or ivory. This is because the supply of gemstones was scarce and they aren’t as durable. These stones were usually used for decorations and were not polished, meaning they had a dull grey appearance. Around 100-200 CE necklaces made from precious jewels became popular in India, China, and Europe as well. The materials of choice were gold, silver, and gemstones.


The size of the pendants varied from around one inch to over a foot in length. They were often decorated with colored beads to show the wearer’s status or wealth and were worn by the wealthy.


In India, medallions were used instead of stone beads necklaces as a way to express their status. The medallions themselves were created from leather in the form of a yantra. The yantra itself had the symbolic meaning of the wearer’s life or the events that occurred.

In China, it was common for women to wear gold and silver pendants around their necks as a symbol of their wealth. The choices were also limited to gold or silver and were made from sheet metal or a sheet of beaten gold. They were often placed on an arm in the form of two pieces which were held together by a small chain. The arm pieces often had decorations that would represent either a money bag or the sun and moon.

In Europe, necklaces have been associated with royalty since ancient times. The earliest evidence of this was found in the pre-Roman Celtic graves. The oldest known gold necklace was found in northern Europe and dates back to 500-800 BCE. It is made from more than four hundred beads and is the size of seven inches. The most common type of stone beads necklaces found was made from bronze, gold, silver, or glass and was often worn by members of the higher class society.


Necklaces in Asian and African Cultures


In the Muslim world, gold necklaces were a symbol of wealth and status. Prized jewels found in India were often used in a necklace-like fashion. They were also commonly worn with bracelets during weddings as a way to show the groom’s wealth.


Some of the most popular types of jewelry found in Africa were anklets and bracelets which could be made from beads or shells. They were not just worn for beautification but also held religious significance as an amulet for marriage.


Historically, in the west, it has been common for men to wear a sword pendant or medallion of some sort. During medieval times, they were made from wood and silver and used to show the wearer’s status. The more important the man was considered to be, the bigger his pendant would be. The most common stone beads necklaces were made from silver and were decorated with jewels.




During the 1700s and 1800s, it was common for women to wear decorative pendants around their necks to show their status. They were often made from expensive materials, including gold. The most popular type of pendant worn by women during the Victorian era was a locket or pendant which contained either a picture of the person’s husband, child, or close friend.


They were usually made from gold and decorated with smaller pieces of precious gems such as emeralds or diamonds which were placed into two-piece compartments. These pendants were not just used as a display of wealth, but a way to keep valuable photographs.




During the Victorian era, locket necklaces were worn as a way to show their faith in God through medallions attached to them. These were worn by women and girls alike and were often made from silver and gold. They would often have pictures of loved ones in them or allusions to either religion or being married.

Necklaces in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries


The necklaces worn in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were more of a fashion statement than a symbol of wealth or social status. They were commonly made from gold, silver, and sometimes even pearls. The pearls came from pearls that were found near the river basin in Asturias, Spain. While the gold and silver were obtained from nearby silver mines as well as off the coast of Portugal. The stone beads necklaces contained symbols and had varying amounts of gemstones such as emeralds or rubies.


Necklaces were very popular during the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. They were made from costly materials such as gold and silver or beads. The most common type of necklace found during this period was made from silk and was decorated with beads.


Materials Used for Necklaces


In the eighteenth century, it was common for women to wear necklaces made from costly materials such as gold and silver. Pearls were also very popular and were often used in necklaces, accessories, and even buttons. Women during this time often wore pomanders which were small bags that contained perfume. These bags were placed around their necks as a way to keep them odiferous at all times. Pearls were also used to make strings of beads that women wore as stone beads necklaces during this time.


Necklaces in the Nineteenth Century


During the nineteenth century, it was common for women to choose necklaces that were less costly yet still held an air of femininity about them. Most women wore necklaces made from precious stones such as rubies and turquoise or pearls or glass beads. Pearls were also spread around their necks as a way to keep them odiferous.


Necklaces in the Twenty-First Century


In today’s world, it is common for women to wear stone beads necklaces. However, they are much different than their nineteenth-century counterparts. Necklaces are used more as a fashion statement rather than a status symbol or item of adornment. Women can be seen wearing necklaces made from precious metals such as gold and silver, cheaper metals such as tin, steel.


Stone beads necklaces can also be used to express a love for a particular person or the appreciation of something that they have done. People might wear necklaces with their initials or even those of someone who has passed away as a way to remember them.


These necklaces have become highly popular in the fashion world due to their use in designs, especially because of their ability to be worn in many different ways and positions.

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