You can travel all over the world to find breathtaking jewelry that tells a story of history, mysticism, religion and lore. Over time and through introduction, these themes begin to infiltrate western society. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is definitely when it comes to fashion and style. Learning about different cultures could expand your horizons and help cultivate a more worldly aspect to your signature look.
Africa is the largest continent on the Earth. It is comprised of a multitude of diverse countries and rich cultures that place a high amount respect on the relationship between humans and nature. These cultures have been making jewelry for thousands of years and some of the key elements of their designs are beginning to creep into western jewelry. A lot of African jewelry tends to have an organic feel using raw materials, metals and gemstones as the main elements. Although this style of jewelry has been popular on the continent for centuries, this natural style is taking hold of American culture. You have probably noticed woods, resins and gemstones such as tiger eye have become very popular in mainstream jewelry. Ancient cultures believed that tiger eye is a mental stone. It is said to allow enhances the insight of its wearer and provides protection from the evil eye.
Native American Jewelry
Native American culture is grounded in an intense connection between the Earth, spirit world and human beings. Their culture finds a connection between nature’s elements and mysticism. A lot Native American jewelry uses turquoise in their designs. Turquoise is a powerful gemstone that is believed to be soothing and enhances peace of mind. It has been said that turquoise changes color to indicate impending danger and some tribes would adorn their armor with the stone as a source of protection. Today, the turquoise is typically set against sterling silver or a matte-finished gold giving the jewelry an earthy appeal. A lot of Native American earrings feature the dreamcatcher, a web-like design that legend says is supposed to catch and hold on to your dreams. Turquoise jewelry has become popular in mainstream American culture as well, especially in the southwest.
Celtic jewelry is rooted in ancient symbols, legends of kings and queens and distinctive designs. This Anglo-Saxon culture’s designs feature crosses, intricate knots, and triskeles that embellish necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings and rings. The designs are known for their delicate almost ornate detail that is steeped in mysticism. The triple spiral and the cross are symbols most often seen in mainstream jewelry. The Celtic cross features a ring around the intersection of the cross. It is said that Saint Patrick combined the circle with the cross to convey the relationship between life on Earth and the sun. Cross jewelry has always been a fixture in American society, but lately designers are taking a cue from Celtic culture and adding some elaborate details to an ancient symbol.
Hawaii is a beautiful island that is renowned for its laid-back culture rooted in a deep respect for the power of nature. Earth, air, fire and water converge beautifully for the entire world to see in this mystical paradise. Hawaiian jewelry balances the exotic beauty and easy-going style perfectly. Although the most common theme in Hawaiian jewelry is shells, the most beautiful element has to be the grey and black pearls. These infamous baubles boast a dark yet sleek patina and can sell for thousands of dollars. Grey and black pearls are increasing in popularity in the United States and are sold at fine jewelry stores. Many cultures believe these alluring pearls enhance the wisdom of its wearer through experience and increase the intensity of love in relationships.