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jewelry

Introduction

jewelry, personal adornments worn for ornament or utility, to show rank or wealth, or to follow superstitious custom or fashion.

The most universal forms of jewelry are the necklace, bracelet, ring, pin, and earring. Its use antedates clothing, and it has been made of a variety of materials including berries, nuts, seeds, perforated stones, feathers, hair, teeth, bone, shells, ivory, and metals. Although bronze and silver have been used by primitive peoples and in modern handwrought jewelry, gold has usually been the preferred metal. Jewelry has been decorated by engraving, embossing, etching, and filigree, and by application of enamel, mosaic, gems, semiprecious stones, and glass.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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