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10 Fantastic Jewellery Facts!

When it comes to making us look and feel fabulous, few things hit the spot like jewellery. Whether you wear it to jazz up an otherwise plain outfit or put on a beloved keepsake every day, theres no denying we girls couldnt do without it. To underline our emotional connection to our jewellery, most milestones come with their commemorative piece: engagement and wedding rings, our first pair of earrings, charms on a bracelet... Have you ever wondered how long weve been wearing jewellery? Why jewellery boxes are musical? If so, its time to find out! If youre bonkers about bracelets or nuts about necklaces, read on!

1) Jewellery has been worn and produced in every human culture. The oldest known piece? Beads made from Nassaurius shells, estimated to be 100,000 years old! 2) The Romans brought in so-called sumptuary laws, intended to limit immodest displays of personal wealth. Among a range of potty regulations (men couldnt wear silk, only the Emperor could wear purple shoes), were restrictions on jewellery. Even the richest families were limited as to the amount of gold they could legally own; actresses and other undesirables were prohibited from wearing gems. The possession of a gold ring was fairly topical: at one stage it was restricted to ambassadors only, relaxing to include soldiers in AD 179. 3) A womans dowry- the money, goods and estate she traditionally brought to a marriageoften included jewellery. Before you consider this a case of past and done with, Wu Duanbiao, a Chinese tile magnate, recently gave his daughter a whopping 100 million dowry, complete with four boxes of gold jewellery! 4) Elizabeth I is possibly historys most notorious clothes horse- it should come as no surprise that jewellery was one of her obsessions. The courtiers jockeying for her attention knew it was a sure fire way to win her favour; she once received over 80 pieces of jewellery as New Years gifts. When her lady of the bed chamber retired in 1587, she compiled an inventory of the monarchs jewels. The total? An astonishing 628 pieces! 5) Wedding rings have been a vital part of marriage for many centuries. It varies from culture to culture- Eastern Orthodox Christians exchange rings at the betrothal rather than the wedding service itself. Its referenced in many wedding ceremonies: the Church of England service, for example, states: With this ring I thee wed. 6) Few pieces of jewellery are as surrounded by etiquette as the engagement ring. The cost (usually stated as three months of the mans salary), how soon you should start wearing it, accepting it even when its a grisly knuckle duster ... One very definite rule is what you should do if the engagements broken off. If the woman is to blame, etiquette demands she should return it. If the mans responsible, shes under no obligation to give it back.

7) Despite its reputation as a lovers keepsake, the locket actually has its roots in Victorian funeral tradition, where the widow or widower wore an image of their dead beloved around their neck, often with a lock of their hair. It was only when somebody realised the vast potential of living lovers having a constant reminder that the locket as we know it was born. 8) Have you ever owned a friendship bracelet? If so, you may be interested to learn that the colours used each have a specific meaning. While pink symbolises kindness, blue is a sign of loyalty and black of strength. So now you know! 9) Many of us have owned a jewellery box with a whirling ballerina. Though having a special box to hold trinkets in seems like an obvious idea, it wasnt the music boxs original intention. They first came into being in Switzerland in the 19th century- for men to carry around in their pockets. Weird or what? 10) Beads are incredibly versatile, encompassing all kinds of uses. Consider the Catholic rosary, used to count off prayers, or Greek worry beads (first devised as amulets, but now used to give up smoking as well as other banes of modern life). They have even been used as currency in some cultures!

For further information, visit these great links! History of Jewellery: Jewellery has a long, fascinating history. Check it out, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum! Mans Guide to Wearing Jewellery: Does your partner claim hes just not comfortable buying jewellery? Give him this! Jilly Beads: Fancy making your own unique necklaces and bracelets? Look no further! Jilly Beads has a stunning range of beads and gems, not least gorgeous Swarovski crystals!