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Why do we wear jewellery?

In simple terms I would suggest it is down to the way it makes us feel. But that answer in itself can be broken down further as the ‘feel’ can often be driven by memories, associations or what it symbolises.

Jewellery is often purchased simply because the item looks attractive, this can especially be the case when it is a gift. Sometimes the jewellery is bought as it complements or completes a particular outfit and in some circumstances it is a blatant display of wealth - what is now often referred to as bling.

However, historically a lot more has been associated with what are essentially personal ornaments and can have a depth of meaning, perhaps only known to the wearer, and giver.

There are lots of items of jewellery associated with religion and particular ceremonies but I will not delve into this area as it is so vast and I’m not sufficiently qualified to do it justice. That includes some of the items we are most familiar with including engagement and wedding rings as historically a wedding has been a religious event.

These rings remind the wearer of their beloved and their cherished times together. This could extend to other jewellery items which are frequently given between two people and not necessarily in a romantic relationship.

To take this a step further, jewellery is often given as a gift to celebrate a birthday or anniversary with items tailored to a memory or event which is personal to them. Again, the personalisation will often act as a memory trigger and transport the wearer to happier times. This is particularly the case when it comes to memorial jewellery items which incorporate the ashes of a deceased family member or pet. The thought that they are still close by can be both reassuring and comforting and make the wearer feel that they are still with them.

This moves us on to good luck charms or amulets. Amulets are typically objects (of any sort or type) which are believed to confer protection upon its owner. There is perhaps little logic to this concept but, like superstitions, logic doesn’t always matter and it is what the holder feels and believes which is important.

Many of the above are forms of symbolism, though jewellery can take more obvious forms of symbols whether this be letters or words (from any alphabet) or simple objects. These objects in themselves, especially if taken from nature, can have deep meanings embedded in history and folklore. This is certainly the case with seeds, nuts and leaves which the Celtics, Pagans and Druids, among others, have long believed bring benefits to the holder.

There are many other reasons for wearing jewellery but most will broadly fall into the above categories and I have hopefully highlighted that a favourite jewellery piece will be about much more than just how it looks. As such, a beautiful handcrafted item with that additional thought and care can make the wearer feel even more special - with extra personal meaning attached.

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