Jewelry since ages has been a form of beautifying oneself and personal adornment. Both men and women prefer accessories in the form of jewelry that would go with their personality, dress and choice. The Nassarius shells are considered the oldest range of jewelry worn by humans. From precious stones, pearl, shells to modern beads, jewelry have been symbols of class, appreciation and beauty if not used for medical purposes such as alert bracelet.
In modern times, even men prefer nose rings, ear studs and piercing rings for self decoration. It is part of their style statement and often their personality. For women, jewelry is not only their wardrobe asset but something that makes them look beautiful and attractive when combined with the right kind of apparels.
Hairpins, toe rings, finger rings, earrings, nose rings, necklace, bracelets and bangles are some of the common buys for accessory lovers. Tribal groups across the world have specialized in making hand made jewelry, especially beads, seeds from plants and shells, popular among teenagers.
Pendants, medals, brooches, wedding rings, anklet, belly rings are other products available in the market. People may also keep religious symbols of a cross in the form of jewelry. In modern times, men and women also vouch for stone studded belts, armlets and several hair accessories. Funky jewelry that are less expensive are available in the markets that go fine with casual wear and gives a chic look. For Indian weddings though, customs and traditions involves wearing of gold and heavy metal jewelry. Diamond jewelry has gained prominence for their cuts and designs.
Materials used are diamonds, bronze, gold, silver and metal finishes. Apart from functional use, jewelry of precious stones and gold are assets. Modern range of jewelry also includes white gold, platinum, titanium and rodium. Gold is measured in carats. Ivory is another material used in traditional jewelry. Diamonds were first mined and crafted in India and are now the finest stones for wedding rings all over the world. Other gemstones used to design elegant necklaces, rings and earpieces are:
With jewelry design a vibrant profession for many today, accessories have gone through several modifications. New ideas of designs and crafts are taking over where silver and gold dominates but body piercing ornaments are increasingly on demand. For women, belly chains, rings and toe rings are taking over and a party wear is nothing but a heavy metal earring with exquisite design. Men too prefer cufflinks, bracelets of silver, ear studs and piercing jewelry.
Art jewelry in present times is a fusion of old traditions and styles and modern designs. Gemstones are not in use, instead plastics, fibre, beads and wood are put to best use. Tribal jewelry and Tibetan handicrafts belong to this category.
The largest consumer of jewelry is United States, followed by Japan and India. Gold covers around 80 per cent of Indian market and demand for rest is silver, diamond and costume jewelry.