June 15, 2019 3 min read
The idea that jewellery is magical, is not just something that most eight-year-old girls dream up when rummaging through their mother’s jewellery drawers. In fact, jewellery has been enchanting more than just little girls for more than just a few generations. If the Trustees of the British Museum are to be believed (and I am inclined to believe them), it has been coveted by girls, boys, mothers, fathers, warriors, kings, queens and village folk alike for around seven thousand years. And it seems that almost no religion or culture is immune from its charms.
Almost all Egyptian jewellery had some magical significance beyond its ornamental purpose. Jewellery was considered so protective that Egyptians literally took it with them to their grave. For example, the scarab was a very potent amulet signifying regeneration and was believed to help the deceased pass peacefully into the other world.
Ancient cultures that followed animism were also reliant on amulets to help them cope with the inexplicable forces of nature. Believing that negative events were the result of evil spirits in nature, they wore natural motifs to neutralise the spirits. For example, a tiger claw provided strength in the face of attack or fish would give fertility to counteract high infant mortality. In this way, jewellery was a just a natural by-product of the human instinct for self-preservation.
The famous warrior tribe of Nagas took this a little further. Human hair from their victims was a prize component of their own hair ornaments - the spirit of the victim was thought to energize the wearer and give them added vigour. Similarly, during the pagan period, women adorned themselves with the teeth of various carnivores such as wolf, bear and boar to boost their vitality.
In modern day eastern cultures, jewellery is also widely believed to have protective and enhancing powers. Although the exact purpose and properties varies from country to country, in both Buddhism and Hinduism, jewellery can be used to protect against malignant spirits or to help with good fortune and fertility. For example, Indian bridal jewellery is an incredibly important part of the marriage ritual – not just for appearances but because of the auspicious role of each piece; a nose ring is directly connected with the reproductive organs and enhances a woman’s emotional and romantic strength, while necklaces worn near the heart help control emotions and strengthen feelings of love.
Even in Christianity, jewellery has been used as a form of protection, even if not overtly promoted. Historically jewellery with the name of Jesus inscribed on it provided protection from all manner of evils while the names of the Three Kings were thought to be helpful against epilepsy or fever. Slightly more recently my mother even gave me a necklace with a Saint Christopher charm before I went backpacking at the ripe old age of twenty-two. I literally wore it religiously and can safely say I had an adventurous but harm-free trip.
But whatever your beliefs, you should wear jewellery that makes you feel the way you want to feel – powerful or playful, strong or sensual, good or great.
IMAGE: Miao/Hmong Silver Women's headress. Shidong Village Taijian Country, Giuzhou, China, 1920 - 1950. Worn by Miao/Hmong women for festivals and ceremonies. The coins portend wealth and the bells keep evil spirits away. Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences/Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Australia.
April 19, 2021 4 min read
Let’s face it, Mother’s Day is different for everyone but it can be the ultimate affirmation if you are able to celebrate it surrounded by wonderful family. For for those who want some inspiration, here are a few tips on how to make it a great day.
October 07, 2020 4 min read
It’s an understatement to say that life is getting a little simpler these days. We’ve had to learn how to deal with life’s restrictions and to make the most of simple pleasures. And while we are definitely buying more online and in places like Melbourne, “click and collect” is a wonderful excuse to leave the house, perhaps now is the time to start to spend more wisely.
With that in mind, it seems fitting to share some suggestions on how to create a wardrobe that you can keep looking fresh, rather than constantly replace.
July 21, 2020 3 min read
It’s clear COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, so the more we learn to live with it, the better. We are all getting used to keeping our distance and washing our hands regularly, however one thing that isn’t often talked about is keeping your jewellery clean.
Jewellery that is worn every day is wonderful for harbouring bacteria in its nooks and crannies. The good news is diamonds and precious metals are quite resilient and with the right attention to detail, are very easy to clean. Here are some tips on how to clean some of the most common everyday gold and silver jewellery.
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