Historically, devotional jewellery played an important part in the earthly power and religion of everyday life. There were magnificent and extravagant pieces worn for displaying political strength with mythological figures and scenes often engraved on gems. Certain stones were considered to be a protection against various ailments. It ranged from a toothache to that of the evil eye, while others encouraged bravery or discouraged sadness.
Scorpions, in particular, were highly regarded as a protection in amulets because they were believed to prevent or heal poisoning. In later years jewellery was often found in excavated tombs with scorpions carved in Greek and Roman stones. As well, Scorpions were the symbol of the Zodiac sign Scorpio. Ancient remedies to cool fever included the infusion of scorpions in oils and herbs.
Necklaces in the early world
The early cultures made necklace jewellery of strings of shells, teeth, or bone beads. Necklaces were made to display appropriate decorative and stylistic features through each period and from region to region. An early type of Celtic necklace about 1800-1500 B.C.E. included a flat crescent shape and engraved variation of the torque. This neckpiece was made of twisted metal found in Bronze Age Ireland and Scotland. Gold, a rare highly valued material in Celtic Ireland was often buried with its owner, sometimes found by archaeologists in the form of gold collars folded in half.
Jewels in the Middle Ages
Jewellery developed into a more important form of dress during the Middle Ages with necklaces replacing brooches in the late Gothic and early Renaissance era.They came set with gemstones, and heavy gold chain necklaces with pendants denoted wealth and social status from the fourteenth to the start of the seventeenth centuries. Among the styles was a carcanet, a wide jewelled or enamelled gold link necklace resembling a collar. It encircled the base of the neck over a man’s doublet under an elaborate lace ruff, otherwise, it hung over the shoulders down the front of bodices and doublets.
During the fifteenth century, devotional items of jewellery considered to have secular or magical powers were signet rings. For the Christin religion, the signet rings were decorated with religious symbols or inscriptions, and pendants decorated with relief figures of saints were popular. Today, there are a variety of plain or ornamented crosses in gold or silver available as well as many other religious items.