Ancient Greeks and Romans wore bracelets to signify power and authority! But...
If you’re a fan of pre-historic study, you might be interested to know just how old the concept of the necklace really is – and just so you know, we’re not talking hundreds of years, we’re talking thousands!
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the most ancient types of necklaces that have been discovered by archeologists over the years – so get your reading glasses on and let’s get started!
What is the oldest necklace in the world?
The earliest ever necklace is believed to have been found in Morocco in North Africa, in what is known as Bizmoune Cave. The necklace was made up of snail shell beads, and while it wasn’t technically attached to a chain or a thread, archeologists determined that it was most likely used and worn as a necklace (although these shells also could have been worn as earrings).
Did ancient civilizations wear necklaces?
Yes! In fact, necklaces and almost every other type of jewelry has been uncovered by archeologists in countries and sites all across the world, from Ancient Greece to the ancient Mesopotamian civilisations (known today as Iraq). Necklaces have also been found in ancient Egyptian tombs; these were amulets that many believe were worn to ward off evil spirits and danger.
Why did ancient civilizations wear necklaces?
As we briefly just touched on, many civilisations wore necklaces as a protective force, whether it be protecting themselves from bad luck or from evil spirits. However, many other prehistoric civilisations wore necklaces as a form of tribal identity, and would even be buried alongside their tribal jewelry upon death. Elsewhere, other civilizations used necklaces and other types of jewelry as trade goods, allowing them to barter and survive with ease at a time where paid labor was non-existent.
What were ancient necklaces made of?
As you can imagine, living in prehistoric times meant that tribes and cultures had to get pretty creative when it came to jewelry making. Here are just some of the materials that were used in prehistoric times to create necklaces:
Feathers have long been associated with Native American attire, but feathers have also been used by cultures all over the world when it comes to making bracelets, headdresses, necklaces, and other types of jewelry.
Stones were also used to make necklaces in prehistoric times, and one of the most interesting examples of this is the Green Chlorite Bracelet: found in Siberia, this necklace is thought to be around 10,000 years old.
Some ancient civilisations had access to soft metals such as gold, and could make expertly crafted necklaces and other jewelry items to wear as amulets. While they may not have been as well-crafted as today’s 22k gold necklaces, the craftsmanship at the time – combined with the luxe status of gold – would have meant that gold jewelry was worn as a symbol of high status.
Shells are one of the oldest forms of jewelry “beads”, and ancient civilisations would often use the shells of snails, mussels, and clams to create colorful necklaces. Shells on the beach would also be used to create charms for bracelets, necklaces, and even clothing.
Yes – really! After archeologists found bone jewelry at a Paleolithic site in Russia (which was determined to be at least 29,000 years old) experts have also determined that bones were used to make necklaces and bracelets. Some items even featured teeth, which had been strung together to wear as charm necklaces!
Who invented the first necklace?
While the first necklace materials are believed to be the snail shell beads found in Morocco, amulets found in Egyptian tombs are also considered some of the earliest imitations of modern-day necklaces.
Which country made jewelry first?
China and India both share long traditions of jewelry making and wearing costume jewelry, and these traditions date back thousands of years to 5000 B.C.
When did humans start wearing necklaces?
Humans have been wearing necklaces for hundreds of thousands of years, from the Neolithic period to Ancient Rome.