Jewelry from 3000 BC Egypt to the 21st Century

Egypt

The use of gold jewelry can be dated back to Egypt 3000 BC. Gold was the preferred metal for jewelry making during ancient times. It was rare, it was easy to work with, and it never tarnished.

Magnificent bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings, armlets, earrings, collars, and head ornaments were all produced in ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs. In 1922 Howard Carter’s excavations led to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and many gold artifacts, all showing the art work of ancient Egypt.

Greece

In ancient Greece, gold beads in the shape of shells, flowers and beetles were very common. In Northern Greece beautiful necklaces and earrings have been excavated from burial.

By 300 BC the Greeks were using gems such as emeralds, garnets, amethysts and pearls. They also created colored glass stones and enamel stones. Carved agate cameos and gold filigree work were widely made.

Italy

The Italian Etruscans produced granulated textured gold work. They made very large, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They were also known for producing hollow gold pendants that were filled with perfume. Even today the Italians are still known for the quality gold jewelry.

Rome

The Romans used 18 and 24 carat gold for their coins. Coinage gold was readily available so it was popular with craftsmen for decorative jewelry. Over 2000 years ago the Romans were using sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and amber in their jewelry.
Europe.

During the 13th century the Medieval Sumptuary Laws were enacted which put a cap on luxurious jewelry and clothing. The town folk of France, banned from wearing girdles made from pearls or any other gemstone.

They were also banged from wearing gold or silver. Similar laws existed in England banning artisans from wearing gold and silver. These laws show how fine jewelry had spread beyond nobility to the town folk.

For as long as mankind has existed gems and jewels have been used as token of ones love for another. While many pieces of jewelry existed adorned with fine gems and made from precious metals, there was also some very good fake jewelry.

True gemstones and pearls originated in the east and they were bought mainly by the Italians. The Italian merchants then sold the jewelry to the Europeans.

High quality glass imitations were often used and sold with the intent to deceive. These high quality glass stones were often used in the Royal funeral robes and in children’s jewelry.

Valued more than gemstones, were the flawless, round, natural white pearls. South India provided some of the finest pearls. The Italians were able to make quality imitation glass gems and pearls that could only be identified by a gemologist.

There is historical proof that recipes for false pearls existed as far back as 1300. White powdered glass was mixed with albumen and snail slime to produce imitation pearls.

Earrings and Dress Jewelry

During the 17th century woman always wore earrings, whether they were dressed or undressed. It was very acceptable to wear faux pearls and paste gem earrings during the day saving fine diamond jewelry and gem jewelry for evening attire.

Dress ornamentation decreased in size. Sleeves or skirts were often decorated with matching brooches.

During the 16th it was very fashionable to wear large quantities of pearls. Both jewelry to clothing accessories were adorned with pearls.

During the 17th century Jaquin of Paris patented a method of making fake pearls. Hollow blown glass balls were coated with varnish mixed with iridescent ground fish scales. The hollow balls were then filled with wax to strengthen them. This discovery made Paris the main producer of faux pearls for well over 200 years.

Paste is a compound of glass containing white lead oxide and potash. Paste jewelry was very common in the later part of the 17th century. The highest quality and most long lasting paste jewelry was produced after 1734 by Georges Strass.

Paris lead the production of faux gems [paste] and faux pearls. Just about any kind of fake gem could be made, including fake opals.

After 1760 the production of fake jewelery spread to London and to Birmingham. During the industrial revolution steel was produced in large quantities so it was easily available. It was ues for setting marcasite and jasper ware cameos. Glass and Wedgwood porcelain paste cameos were made in English factories and were also very popular.

The fashion from this era also included ornate shoe buckles of paste, steel and tin, elaborate paste jewel buttons, as well as semi precious for day wear.

Empire Jewelry

In 1804 Napoleon emerged as Emperor of France, resulting in a revival of jewelry and fashion as a new court of pomp.
‘Joailliers’ worked fine jewelry and ‘bijoutiers’ used less precious materials.

The members of the new French imperial family had the former French royal family gems re-set into the latest neo-classical style. The new trends soon found their way to Europe, particularly England. The main influence for design was the Greek and Roman.

Parures and Cameos

Parures were a matching suite of coordinating precious gems which could include a necklace, a comb, a tiara, a diadem, a bandeau, a pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or and cluster stud earrings and possibly a belt clasp.

A full parure consisted of a minimum of four pieces. A demi parure consisted of three or less pieces. Both Josephine and Napoleon’s second wife had magnificent parures.

Once Napoleon’s cameo decorated coronation crown was seen, cameos became the rage. Cameos were carved from hard stone, conch shells and even from Wedgwood porcelain.

Victorian Jewelry

In 1837 when Queen Victoria came to the throne jewelry was romantic and nationalistic. It focused on European folk art, which later influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement. Until mid century most western jewelry came from Europe, with some jewelry being produced in North America and Australia.

Mass production of mid Victorian jewelry in Birmingham, Germany and Providence, Rhode Island resulted in lower jewelry standards. Victorian women rebelled when they saw some the poor quality of much of this machine made jewelry.

Woman rebelled by wearing no jewelry at all, or buying from the emerging artist craftsman. Some jewelers like Tiffany recognized a niche market and began to make fine jewelry of a very high standard, opening shops in main European cities.

Mourning Jewelry

During the Victorian era mourning jewelry was very fashionable. The initial months of mourning were unadorned by jewelry of any kind. As the mourning rituals increased, mourning jewelry developed as a fashion item. Queen Victorian wore a great deal of jet mourning jewelry after Prince Albert’s death.

Jet from Whitby, North of England was set into mourning pieces. All types of material that were black were used and almost all included a lock of the dead loved one’s hair. Hair was also plaited, braided or twisted very tightly until it became hard and thread like.

Arts and Crafts Jewelry

During the 1870s the Arts and Crafts movement evolved as a reaction to mass produced shoddy goods and inferior machine made products which were a result of the industrial revolution.

William Morris and John Ruskin were both leaders of the arts and crafts movement in England. They promoted simple Arts and Crafts of designs based on floral, primitive or Celtic forms worked as wallpapers, furniture and jewelry.

The polished stones used in Arts and Crafts jewelry gave a medieval, simpler, gentler, tooled hand made look and feel to items.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau followed the arts and crafts movement resulting in a new jewelry look. The movement began in Paris and its influence went throughout the Western world. Art nouveau jewelry had curves, sinuous organic lines of romantic and imaginary dreaminess.

It was very ethereal turning into winged bird and flower forms. French, René Lalique was the master goldsmith of the era of Art Nouveau producing exquisite one off pieces. Today, the Art Nouveau style is still admired, sought after, and copied.

Pearls

Various combinations of pearl necklaces come in and out of fashion with regularity so pearls too are a must. Today pearls are still a wardrobe essential. Both faux pearls and cultured pearls are very affordable today.

Since the opening of trade with China in the 1990s, many pearls are imported from China dropping the price to about 1/3 of what it was prior to China entering the market.

The Japanese have suffered disease in their pearl beds as well as facing competition and are finding it hard to compete with China’s prices.

Pearl necklaces and pearl earrings can lift a complexion and bring light and radiance to the face taking years off a woman whatever her age. They have been a wardrobe staple for centuries, and a wedding attire tradition.

Cultured pearls have become very affordable, and faux pearls are very cheap and the quality can be excellent. Currently Pearls are a very “hot” fashion statement and with the modern twist of being interspaced on gold wire or floating on special synthetic cord they are essential to the millennium look.

Cocktail Jewelry

During the 1920s Lalique mass produced and designed high quality glass jewelry. Fake, or costume jewellery was sometimes then called cocktail jewelry.

Costume or Cocktail jewelry was greatly influenced by designers such as Coco Chanel, and Elsa Shiparelli as well as a host of other designers. These two designers were particularly known for encouraging clients to mix their fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Both designers offered imagination and fun and both often sported fabulous fakes.

In the late 1930s Napier of the USA was at the forefront of manufacturing fake cocktail jewelry offer glamour and escapism. Today, Napier still produces excellent contemporary costume pieces.

Hollywood Influence

By the 1940s and 1950s American culture was very dominant in Europe. The influence of movie films and the prominence of film stars set the fashion stage for womens make-up, hair and wardrobe.

People wanted copies of outfits and jewelry worn by the actresses. Women believed that the glamour of Hollywood would rub off on them if they dressed and looked like the glamorous Hollywood actresses.

During the Second World War metals were rationed, halting the production of fine jewelry. Quality costume jewelry picked up the now defunct fine jewelry market. Costume jewelry flourished becoming an acceptable alternative to fine jewelry.
1980’s Television Influences Jewelry

During the 1980s with the evolution of glitzy television soaps such as Dynasty and Dallas, costume jewelry once again became a “hot” fashion statement. With over 250 million viewers, it didn’t take long for costume jewelry to be reborn.

Glitz and sparkle by day was not only acceptable, it became the norm. Earrings grew to an unbelievable size, as did other pieces of jewelry. By the 1990s this sparkly dazzling jewelry phenomena was dead, replace with tiny real diamond studs or a fine stud pearls.

21st Century Jewelry

For the 21st century women believe a mix is good. Fine jewelry combined with costume jewelry are wardrobe essentials. The sophisticated women of this century know what they want from their jewelry and how to wear it to make their fashion statement.

They recognize that costume jewelry can liven up their wardrobe. The types and quality of costume jewelry has grown enormously. Today one can purchase what is classified as fine costume jewelry which is usually plated at least seven times with 10 22 ct gold.

Swarovski crystal set in gold are common accessories, and cubic zirconium, man’s imitation diamond, can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of real diamonds allowing every women to add diamond styled jewelry to their wardrobe.

Ciro, Adrian Buckley, Butler and Wilson, Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Napier, Joan Rivers, Joan Collins, Christian Dior, California Crystal, Property of A Lady and of course Kenneth J Lane to name just a few continue to produce high quality fashion jewelry for today’s women.

Costume jewelry can take you from the board room to a night out of dining and dancing to your most intimate evening. It can make you look your best for your wedding, or a day at the beach. You can make Your Fashion Statement With Costume Jewelry!

A Few Hints to Help Choose the Right Pair of High Heeled Shoes

High Heeled Shoes Gigi HadidThere are a world of assorted types of high heeled shoes, including pumps, platforms, sandals, wedges and high heeled boots for ladies…there is also the increasing trend for men to now wear heels, this indicates just how many styles today’s shoe fashion embraces. Heels don’t have to be too high to be in fashion and acceptable …so here are a few ideas for choosing the right pair of high heeled shoes:

Choose the right heel and shoe shape for your legs…. If legs are too thick, heels with a pointed toe may seem much smaller and may make feet look out of proportion with the rest of the body. Find a heel that makes the legs look in proportion with the shoes. Many people make their legs appear leaner by choosing a wider design in heeled shoes. Heels that are too sturdy may make your legs look sturdy also.

What shoes are suitable for an outfit?

Color, dress length and style are critical to shoe choice, as an example, if very high heels such as stiletto are worn with a mini skirt there is real danger of the wrong message being given out. A pair of heels will enhance the look of long skirts on a shorter person but take note of the height of the heel as the dress or skirt must not appear too long or too short. A full length dress does not require elaborate shoes because they will not be visible. Mid height heels may be more suitable for knee length outfits.

Be careful of wearing highly decorative shoes with a longer dress particularly as they may conflict with the dress details. Extravagant shoes achieve better results with shorter dresses. Simple classic heels are more suited to longer elaborate dresses. Avoid black shoes with pastel outfits unless bags and belts are coordinated. If wearing jeans, the shape of the bottom of the jean leg can also determine the type of heels that should be worn. Platform heels can be great with jeans and if the jeans are longer the impression is that you are taller which can be a bonus!

Safety…. With high heels and stilettos, beware of strappy shoes. They can look super sexy but ankles can be twisted easily. Take care that straps are firmly attached and the heel chosen is well balanced. Maybe choose a wedge heel. An additional idea would be to roughen the bottoms of new heels which can avert a nasty accident on the dance floor.

Flexibility…. Wedge heeled shoes can provide greater flexibility and can give all the ‘leg slimming’ and ‘extra height’ benefits of a heel that’s not so high. They are great with mid and mini skirts and are great for wearing to the office. heeled boots can also be very flexible and can be worn with almost all outfits. They are great with skirts and suitable for office wear.

Comfort…. High heels don’t have to mean ‘super high heels’ or stilettos which can be very painful if not selected properly, and they are also not geared for walking too far in. If heels do need to go hand in hand with comfort, which is a sensible option..then a lower heel or a kitten heel should be selected. Maybe choose a style with squared-off toes or open toes and shorter, chunkier heels instead of stilettos or maybe, again, the all round wedge heel which slopes the foot gently and supports the whole of the foot area. Wedge heels are good for the office because they can be worn for longer periods of time without too much strain on the foot. maybe shop later in the day as feet swell as the day goes on. Also break them in in advance if one intends to wear them to a special function. Ultimately, the heel height one chooses should be determined by how many aches and pains one can allow oneself.

Sex appeal….Sandals with heels and boots with heels are very, very, sexy, and very versatile as well. In addition to enhancing ones femininity, sandals fastened at the ankle, or higher up the leg, will draw attention to legs as well as feet. Most sandals, including flip flops, some of which do fall under the category of high heeled shoes, have small, delicate heels, called kitten heels, which gives them a look that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on what one prefers.

Buying Guide For Ski Jackets

Types of Jackets

When shopping for a ski jacket you are going to find two different types that are available. One is an insulated jacket and the other is a soft shell jacket. The most common question that people have is, “which one should I buy?” The simple answer to this question is that there is no right answer. The reason for this is that each person has a different body temperature regulation. Some people will get hot very quickly and thus having an insulated jacket would cause them great discomfort. Others, however, are routinely cold and having an insulated jacket only makes sense because a soft shell jacket would leave them even colder. With this being said, the first step to selecting the jacket that is best for you is by determining if you are warmer or colder person by nature. Once this is determined, you can then move forward in the process of selecting your jacket.

Insulated Jackets

The construction characteristics of an insulated jacket include an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, along with an insulated layer that is built directly into the jacket. The insulating inner layer is likely to be made of fleece, down, or a synthetic fabric such as Primaloft. Also, many insulated jackets will contain an additional insulator piece that can be removed. These types of insulated jackets are some times referred to as system jackets or 3-in-1 jackets.

The insulation that is found in insulated jackets is most commonly measured in grams. The greater the number weight in grams, the warmer the jacket will be. Insulation types can range as low as 30 grams and go as high as 800 grams, which is most commonly found with Down material. For people who are colder by nature, an insulated jacket is the most suitable option.

Soft Shell Jackets

Soft shell jackets are windproof, waterproof jackets that have no internal insulation and are highly breathable. Now, you might wonder why anyone would choose a jacket that contains no internal insulation. The reasons for this are several, one of which has already been identified; being a warmer person by nature. Another reason that one may choose this type of jacket is because they prefer to have added mobility that is not available with an insulated jacket. As soft shell jackets are usually worn over a base layer and a mid layer, soft shell jackets do not have the added bulkiness of an insulated jacket. This means that you can contain the warmth of your body via your base layer and mid layer, but have added range of motion.

A soft shell jacket can be worn on its own on warmer days or layered with base and mid layers for colder days. However, for extremely cold temperatures and extended periods of time outdoors, a soft shell jacket is probably not the best option, but the final decision is ultimately up to you. For more information on base and mid layers, please review our article on the importance of layering.

Waterproof Rating

Probably the most important characteristic of any ski jacket is the waterproof rating. This rating tells you how quickly your jacket will become saturated and begin allowing water to penetrate to the layers below. Waterproof ratings are measured and indicated in millimeters(mm). The level is determined by placing a tube filled on the fabric and filling it with water. The level at which the water begins to penetrate through the fabric is the waterproof rating. The higher the number, the more waterproof the jacket is and the longer it will withstand snow and rain. For a jacket to be deemed legally waterproof, it must achieve a minimum 1,500mm rating. Jackets can be rated as high as 20,000mm, but the average rating is typically between 5,000 and 10,000mm. Keep in mind that as the rating goes higher, so too will the price.

There are many different types of waterproof fabrics that are used on the market today. Among the more well-known materials that are used are Gore-Tex, Hyvent, and Event. What makes materials such as these so effective is that they contain pores which are larger than a molecule of sweat, but smaller than a molecule of water. This means that not only is the material waterproof, but also very breathable.

Breathability Rating

Just like the waterproof rating measures how effective a jacket is at keeping water outside, the breathablity rating of a jacket measures how effective a jacket is at transferring moisture from inside to the outside. The same fabric pores that help prevent water from penetrating inside a jacket, allow sweat molecules to escape and ultimately keep your warmer.

Breathability rating is measured and indicated in grams (g). The measurement is determined by finding the Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR). The MVTR determines how many grams of sweat per 1 square meter can escape a jacket in a 24 hour period. The higher the number, the more moisture escapes and the more breathable it is. Entry-level breathable fabrics will have MVTR ratings in the range of 2,000-3000g. Fabrics at the high end of the breathability scale will have an MVTR around 25,000g.

Fabric Durability

Contrary to what many people believe, ski jackets are different than your everyday winter jacket. Yes, you can wear your ski jacket as your everyday jacket, but if you haven’t purchased a jacket specifically for skiing, you’re best not to wear the everyday winter jacket that you bought at the department store to the slopes. The reasons for this are several, but one of the most important ones is that your ski jacket is going to be far more durable.

Ski jackets are made of tightly woven nylon or polyester. Materials which are designed for high performance use in the elements of winter. Extended exposure to high winds and the wet elements of the winter is what makes the construction of a ski jacket different from your everyday winter jacket. This is also why you’ll find that ski jackets will cost more than a jacket you’d buy from the department store.

Seams

Fully Taped

Fully taped seams is exactly what it sounds like. All of the stitched seams have been taped for waterproofing. This is done with a waterproof tape that is glued on the interior and exterior of the seam. Fully taped seams are the best option if you want to be waterproof in these important areas that are prone for moisture. They will, however, cost more than jackets with critically taped seams. As an additional note, higher-end garments will offer Welded Seams, which are even more effective at protecting against moisture penetration at the seams.

Critically Taped

A less expensive option than Welded or Fully taped seams is Critically taped seams. Critically taped seams means that only some of the seams are taped and protected against moisture penetration. On a jacket this is not necessarily a bad thing, so don’t be scared off by the fact that not all seams are covered. As long as you don’t spend long periods of time in wet weather, or spend a lot of time falling in the snow, Critically taped seams will offer the protection you need.

Features

When shopping for ski jackets it is important to know that beyond how waterproof and breathable a jacket is, there are a number of features that you can expect to find available to you. In the following sections, we’ll cover many of these features so you will know what to expect when shopping from one model to the next.

Front Zipper Cover: This feature is sometimes referred to as a storm flap. The purpose of this feature is to cover the front zipper of your jacket to prevent the wind and moisture from penetrating inside. As the zipper can be a highly prone area for moisture, this is considered by many as a must have feature.

Powder Skirt: A powder skirt is an elastic band that is located inside of a jacket at the waist. It provides a snap closure in the front and is intended to keep snow from going up the front or back of your jacket. Additionally, it help retain heat and keep you warmer when you’re out on the slopes. This also means that if you’re starting to feel a bit warm, you can unsnap the skirt for a moment to allow heat to escape and cool you down, then snap it back up to protect against the snow. This features is considered by many as a must-have, and it is highly recommended for maximum comfort when out on the snow.

Hood: While not all jackets offer a hood, those that do will offer a hood in one of several options: attached (non-removable), detachable, or stowaway. Attached hoods are fixed to the jacket and cannot be removed. Detachable hoods offer the luxury of protection on windy or snowy days, while also offering the versatility to be removed on warmer or fair weather ski days. Stowaway hoods offer the same luxuries as a detachable hood with the difference being that stowaway hoods do not need to be removed from the jacket. Instead they will tuck into a designated area of the jacket.

As your hood is intended to protect your head and neck from the elements, you want to make sure that your hood can fit over your helmet. Your hood should have enough room so you can look from side to side, and it should also adjust for your helmet size so it isn’t too large or too small. The bill of your hood should be generous enough in size to shed rain from your goggles and eyes. Hoods, regardless of their style, are highly recommended for protection against the elements.

Wrist Closure: Wrist closures are one of the common adjustability features you can expect to find on jackets. Wrist closures will be present as an elastic, Velcro, snap, or thumbhole adjustment. This purpose of such an adjustment is to help keep cold air and snow from going up your arms. You will want to make sure that the wrist adjustment will work in tandem with your gloves.

Cinch Cord: Another adjustment feature that you can expect to find is a Cinch Cord adjustment. This is located at the bottom of the jacket and can be tightened so your jacket and pants are positioned closely together. This will help keep snow and wind from creeping up inside your jacket.

Pit Zips: Under arm zippers, or Pit Zips, are temperature regulating features that are present on many ski jackets. Pit Zips are zippers located under the arm that can be adjusted on the fly to help retain or release heat that builds up inside a jacket. If you’re cold, or the temperate starts to drop, you can close them up to help keep heat close to the body. On warmer days these can be opened up fully to allow heat to escape while you remain fully protected from the elements everywhere else. While not considered a must-have, they are certainly suggested if you want the luxury of regulating your core temperature easily.

Pockets

Electronics Pocket: Thanks to the influx in portable electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, personal audio players, digital cameras), having a pocket designated specifically for electronics is a must have for many. For others, it’s not a make or break feature. The important thing to understand is that pockets do exist for such items and they are certainly a convenience if you own such items. For those who enjoy listening to music while on the slopes, this pocket is extremely useful because electronics pockets have openings for wires to be run for headphones. This keeps the electronic device protected and the wiring internal so it is not ruined.

Goggle Pocket: Like an electronics pocket, the goggle pocket is designated specifically to house your goggles when you’re not wearing them. This pocket will also typically house a goggle cloth that can be used to wipe your goggles if they get foggy.

Additional Fabric Lining: On many higher-end jackets you are likely to find additional fabric lining the inside of the jacket. This added fabric liner starts at the wrist and extends down over the palms with holes provided to insert your thumbs. This added lining adds extra warmth to the palms and wrists.

Avalanche Rescue System: Built into a select number of jackets an avalanche rescue system can be an invaluable feature if you’re the type of skier who ventures into areas that prone to avalanches. Unlike a separate beacon system, jackets with this feature have a small, weightless transponder that is easily detected by a search rescue team. This feature is not necessarily a must have, but for safety is recommended. If you opt against a jacket with a built-in rescue system, you can always purchase a separate rescue system at a later time.

Hopefully all these guidelines will help you determine the best jacket is right for you.