The Main Types of Jewelry: A Comprehensive Guide

Friday 31st Dec 2021 |

Did you know that the jewelry industry is worth around 57 billion USD? This number is only expected to rise since, after all, it’s unlikely that people will ever tire of jewelry’s beauty anytime soon. While many people think of jewelry like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, there are actually many types of jewelry that you can enjoy.  

But when it comes to different kinds of jewelry, where should you start? What might look best on you when it comes to wearing jewelry, and what are you missing? Fortunately, this article will teach you everything you need to know, from earrings to anklets and beyond.  

First, let’s start with one of the most common pieces of jewelry seen today: earrings.  

Earrings 

It’s hard to find people that don’t have earrings these days, but did you know that ear piercings were not always so popular? In the 1800s and early 1900s, ear piercings were only for the lower classes. Instead, women of the high class would wear clip-on earrings.  

Only more recently in the 1950s did ear piercings become popular. However, there weren’t many ear-piercing shops in existence at the time due to the previous lack of popularity for ear piercings. So, women at the time pierced their own ears at home or had their friends help them. 

This, of course, was not a very sanitary practice and could lead to infections when not done properly. Some women also went to hospitals to get their ears pierced, which was a much more sanitary option. Since the 1950s, ear piercings became much more popular, and today, it’s hard to find a city or town that doesn’t have at least one piercing shop. 

Ear piercings traditionally went through the lobe of the ear, but today, you can have virtually any part of your ear pierced. Some ear piercings are more painful than others. For example, an industrial piercing involves piercing the top cartilage of your ear twice so a long barbell earring can be inserted.  

While this is a very striking earring, it is also one of the most painful earrings you can get. There are also plenty of other and less painful earrings that are equally attractive such as hoop and stud earrings. Earrings can immediately add style to any outfit, whether you’re going for a hardcore or elegant look.  

Earrings are also very versatile. They can come in gold, silver, platinum, steel, or even plastic. And, of course, there are endless possibilities when jewels are involved as well. 

Hairpins 

While hairpins might no longer be as popular as they used to be in the past, there’s nothing wrong with bringing back a piece of vintage fashion. As with most pieces of jewelry, hairpins have been used since ancient times. Before the rise of civilization, ancient tribes used to make hairpins from ivory, bone, and wood.  

As the art of jewelry became more advanced, jewelers learned how to make hairpins out of metal. They also learned how to delicately shape that metal to form unique shapes and how to add gemstones. While the original function of hairpins was to keep strands of hair in place, hairpins can also be purely decorative.  

Hairpins reached their peak in the 1600s and again in the early 1900s. Since the early 1900s was a time for huge and complex hairstyles, equally complex hairpins were important for keeping those hairstyles in place. Also, back then, going to balls and lavish parties was important for those of the upper class, so women of that time always needed to look their best, and hairpins helped them achieve just that. 

Today, you might only see hairpins in the form of bobby pins. However, you still might be able to get your hands on some more elaborate and stunning hairpins made of gold or silver and decorated with large gemstones.  

Since these hairpins are more elaborate, you can reserve them for special occasions such as weddings or big parties. Since many people don’t wear hairpins anymore, if you show up wearing one, you’re sure to be the center of attention.  

Necklaces 

Humans have been wearing necklaces since the dawn of civilization and even before. Many of the first necklaces were made of carved bone, ivory, wood, teeth, and sometimes even stones. It was only during the Bronze Age that we as a species discovered we could melt down metal and form it into different shapes such as necklaces.  

After that period, people started to make necklaces out of more expensive materials such as silver and gold. As the art of jewelry became more precise, gemstones started to appear on necklaces to make them especially opulent. 

In the past, some tribes believed that wearing certain necklaces would keep evil spirits away. For the more expensive necklaces, they were reserved for those of the upper class as a status symbol. Then, of course, certain necklaces could come with a special significance, such as necklaces with the symbol of the cross.  

Today, anyone of any social class can wear necklaces. While necklaces made of precious metals and gems are still greatly sought after, more casual necklaces made of beads or seashells are just as popular. There are many styles of necklaces, and different styles have come in and out of fashion over the years.  

One style that is especially popular these days is the chain necklace. As the name suggests, it is a necklace made from the linking of several pieces of metal to create a chain. Celebrities in particular love to show off heavy gold chain necklaces.  

The thickness of the chain can vary greatly. The design of the interlinking pieces of metal can vary as well. Because of this, when it comes to styling jewelry, you can find a necklace that can match any style you want. 

Bracelets 

Bracelets are essential to any outfit since your wrists can look naked without them. In certain cultures throughout history, bracelets could mean various things. For example, a bracelet might reveal one’s marital status or might be used for identification purposes.  

For other cultures, bracelets might have religious significance. Today, bracelets don’t carry much symbolism, but they are still very popular. If you would like your bracelet to carry a deeper meaning, there are always charm bracelets.  

Charm bracelets have a long history, but they have become especially popular again in recent years. Some jewelry stores can make special charms for you to mark a particular occasion or event in your life. You can often keep adding to charm bracelets by adding new charms whenever you feel like it.  

There are, of course, many other types of bracelets besides charm bracelets. Some may be of a firm or flexible material, and others may be in the form of a chain. While chain bracelets tend to consist of silver or gold, other types of bracelets may be decorated with gemstones.  

When buying gold bracelets, remember that bracelets tend to experience a lot of wear and tear. Because gold of higher karats can dent and bend, you might be better off opting for a 14K gold bracelet rather than 18K since 14K is more durable. More than that, 14K gold still has a very striking golden shine. 

Septum Piercings 

Septum piercings are piercings that go through the piece of skin and cartilage in your nose that separates your two nostrils. A septum piercing is usually a ring or a barbell piercing since other types of jewelry don’t tend to fit well in that area. Not many people have septum piercings which can make the look they offer very unique.  

Septum piercings have a long and rich history. In the culture of the ancient Aztecs, septum piercings were meant to honor the gods and the piercings for this area would often be very elaborate. 

In certain cultures today, a gold septum ring is given to a woman before she is married. If her husband dies or if she decides to leave him, she can sell her septum ring to support herself financially. In Western culture, a septum piercing can be an edgy and bohemian addition to your look.  

However, it is important to always opt for high-quality metals when choosing a septum piercing. This is because this kind of piercing rests in a sensitive part of your body and it can get irritated. For example, gold lower than 14K might cause irritation around the piercing because of the presence of nickel in low-quality gold. 

Gold higher than 14K is hypoallergenic, as is silver, platinum, and surgical steel. It is also important to clean your septum piercing regularly when you first get it since your nose is full of bacteria that can infect the piercing. More often than not, your septum piercing will take around six weeks to heal, but the exact healing time will depend on how well you take care of the piercing as it heals.  

Rings 

The great thing about rings is that you can keep wearing more and more of them as long as you have space on your fingers and thumbs. As with necklaces and bracelets, rings are among the oldest types of jewelry created by humankind. Some of the earliest rings ever discovered were made of bone, wood, and shell.  

Rings tend to have some kind of special significance, even in our modern times. In the past, signet rings were very popular for men. Signet rings were usually large, blocky rings with some kind of symbol. The symbol was the representation of a particular family and therefore offered the wearer a certain status.  

While signet rings are not as popular as they once were, rings in the same blocky style are coming back into fashion. Wedding rings are unique in that they have never fallen out of style. Wedding rings used to be nothing more than a gold band, but today, they can come in all sorts of elaborate designs and styles.  

Most wedding and engagement rings feature a diamond. The bigger and higher quality the diamond is, the better, at least for most people. However, some wedding rings can be equally stunning with other types of gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.  

Some rings even have a combination of gemstones. For example, a ring might have a large, central diamond but it will be surrounded by many smaller gemstones to offer some extra style and color to the ring. Since rings can be designed in numerous ways, there are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing the right ring for you.  

Navel Piercings 

Navel piercings used to be especially popular in the early 2000s. While their popularity may have fallen a little bit, that doesn’t mean that navel piercings can’t give you some serious sense of style and charm. Navel piercings pierce the thin bit of skin above.  

Often, the piece of jewelry used for this type of piercing is a curved barbell. This piece of jewelry is preferred for the navel because you can see it better than any other kind of piercing. Usually, one side of the barbell will have a bigger gemstone or other decoration than the other.  

However, if the barbell piercing doesn’t appeal to you, there are other options. For example, another popular navel piercing is a medallion or chain that hangs down from the navel. While these pieces might be uncomfortable to wear under clothing, they can be great if you want to show off your navel piercing at the beach.  

Types of Jewelry You Should Know About 

By the end of this article, you should know all about the main types of jewelry that you can buy. With this information, you can weigh the pros and cons of each piece of jewelry and find the right piece for you.  

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