While necklaces may now be considered as a fashion accessory symbolizing beauty, elegance, and wealth, this piece of jewelry has been around since pre-historic civilizations, pre-dating the modern age by thousands of years.

Which begs the question – who wore necklaces first? In the following blog, we’re going to take a look at the earliest adopters of necklaces in the world, from the Ancient Romans to the Ancient Greeks. Let’s dive in!


Necklaces have been around since antiquity, with evidence of their use dating back to the Stone Age. However, the first instances of worn jewelry are said to have been in Iran and the Mediterrean, where amulets were popular accessories.

Unlike today, where necklaces are often considered a gendered object, necklaces were worn by both men and women in ancient societies, and wearing a necklace was usually done to convey a specific form of symbolism, rather than to simply express personal style. For example, Roman torc necklaces were worn to demonstrate power and strength, whereas amulets were often worn to indicate religious affiliation, or for other spiritual reasons.

Over the centuries, necklaces – and their meaning – have evolved, and while they still remain culturally and historically significant across lots of different cultures and societies, the wearing of necklaces is no longer exclusively symbolic.


So, what role did necklaces play in pre-historic and antiquated societies? Let’s take a look:


Aside from Mediterraneans and Iranians, Ancient Egyptians are some of the first known people to have worn necklaces; ancient Egyptian nekclaces were often crafted out of gold, silver, and precious stones, and were worn as protective amulets against evil spirits. Necklaces in Ancient Egypt also held symbolic power, and were commonly worn by royalty to indicate their status and high position in society.


In Ancient Greece, necklaces were often worn to ward off bad luck or disease. Gold, silver, ivory, and precious stones were all popular materials used in necklaces. They also crafted intricate pieces with beads and sinew that could be used to store secret messages or items. While necklaces were less gendered in Ancient Rome, some ancient Greeks believed that men should only wear rings, and that to wear any other type of jewelry was feminine. If we consider that many think of Ancient Greece as the birthplace of the Western world as we know it today, this could perhaps explain why today, the same attitude towards men and jewelry persists.


Just like in Egypt, necklaces were often used to signify wealth and power in Europe during the Middle Ages, with one of the most famous medieval necklaces being the Byzaninte necklace. The wealthy would wear elaborate pieces made out of gold, silver, pearls, and gems to show off their social status, and would even fashion their pieces with freshwater pearls and coral. Necklaces could also be used to ward off bad luck, or be worn as a protective talisman against illness.


Native Americans have been wearing necklaces since before Europeans arrived in the Americas, with shells, stones, feathers, and teeth all being popular materials used to create necklaces. These pieces often had deep spiritual meanings, or served as talismans for protection and luck; turquoise is also a common feature in Native jewelry, and is still worn to this day in Native communities. Traditional native jewelry continues to be produced and worn in homage to Native culture in the contemporary USA, with each piece holding the same cultural symbolism that it did hundreds of years ago.


Necklaces have continued to remain popular in our modern and fast-fashion era, whether it be in Africa, Europe, the Americas or elsewhere across the world. Perhaps the country where necklaces are the most revered today is India; from the Mangalsutra to the Thaali, Indian necklaces hold significant religious and culturual meaning. Whether you’re looking for 22 karat gold necklaces or a Mangalsutra for an upcoming nuptials, browse our diverse and beautiful collection today.