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Handmade Jewellery in History

While handmade jewellery may have the reputation of being high priced, the truth is that many of the pieces that is sold in most stores are mass-produced pieces that have many resellers and wholesalers involved. These days fewer pieces are being handmade, partly due to the perception of cost, and partly because as a trade, fine jewellery making is a dying art.

But history is filled with handmade jewellery pieces that were created as an indication of one's identity and social status. Personalized handmade jewellery is an important part of identifying past cultures.

Almost all jewellery was made by hand until recent years. Some handmade jewellery items that are found in museums date back thousands of years. Archaeological digs have revealed primitive jewellery items like stone carvings, carved bones or animal teeth strung together that were likely worn as jewellery and found in burial sites of many ancient cultures. Bespoke jewellery pieces were complex pieces of artistry that were comprised of carved gemstones, shells, stones and beads from many cultures, including ancient Egyptian, ancient Chinese, ancient Africa, and ancient Mayan civilizations, just to name a few.  

Throughout history, the craftspeople that made handmade jewellery were classified as individual artisans that personalised each piece. In the Middle Ages, artisans passed on knowledge to apprentices who would improve on handmade jewellery techniques. After the Victorian era, mass produced jewellery started to surface, after generations of apprenticeships and professional artistry had refined handmade jewellery techniques. The manufacture of jewellery on a larger scale came about with improved methods of reproduction and society was better able to afford jewellery due to changing economic factors.

The problem with mass-produced jewellery is that it is not unique or personal; but it is a way to generate profits quickly. The current jewellery market consists mainly of wholesalers that offer mass-produced jewellery for sale to the public, with very little effort of any kind. In fact, sometimes it can seem as though there are no skilled craftsmen in existence as many high street retailers don't repair defects on the premises and even fewer do any custom jewellery design or manufacture in their shops. You may have to worry if repairs need to be made to the mass-produced jewellery you buy and you still can't be totally sure that you are purchasing jewellery that is free from defects and made of the best materials. Simply put, mass produced jewellery from all the usual stores is not made to last and is unlikely to come with much in the way of post-purchase customer service.

Handmade jewellery is not over-priced, as some people might think. In fact, some of the jewellers that work from home are better able to give you a good price on your jewellery in offering you a unique piece of creativity. When it comes to the quality and unique design of the jewellery, a truly one-of-a-kind piece for the customer can be expected from handmade jewellery, where mass-produced jewellery seems generally to be lacking in imagination, design and quality. The most sought-after pieces of jewellery that most collectors seek are unique and well-designed creations rather than those that can be found on any street corner and are reproduced by the thousand. For this reason, a piece of handmade jewellery will always have its unique place in history.