Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I was thinking of the oldest jewelery design on earth, as I was finishing up my latest jewelry project. It revealed some extra ordinary fascinating facts.
The oldest jewelry design goes back as far as some forty to forty five thousand years ago. If we consider that the first human dates back about six to seven million years,evidence of the first jewelry designs happened some forty to forty-five thousand years ago.
Scientists believe this time frame correlates with when humans could use language or appreciate symbolism. Jewelry was worn to show some kind of symbolism just like it is used to day - to show power, status or some thing like that.
Shell beads were found in ancient Turkey , ostrich egg shell beads in Kenya, they all had deliberate holes for designing jewelery. They all are contemporary, though far apart in geographical sense, they show the same time period - about 45,000 years old.
Recent findings shake this theory. Three beads were found that were over 100,000 years old. Shell bead found in Blombos cave, on the southern tip of South Africa are75,000 years old.
These beads all have deliberate holes, and definitely do carry symbolic message- says Prof Henshilwood of the University of Bergen, Norway (Ref: BBC News: "Oldest Jewellery" - June 22, 2006 )
This dramatically pushes back the dates for the first clear proof of using symbolism by human being. That is what sets human apart from animals.
Then, even before we could talk(which is around 45 to 50 thousand years ago) were we making jewelry designs? Why not? It is very possible that the urge to make beautiful things came even before we learned to talk.
Like art, jewelry design opens the window of the human soul just to point to the mystery of beauty!