Centuries ago, among the most civilized nations of Europe, the ” beau” and ” macaronis” adorned themselves with jewelry of all kinds. Today, however, it is confined, and with greater propriety, almost entirely to women with the exception of a few. Desirous always of pleasing, the gentle sex has ever sought to add to its charms by adorning itself with jewels.
Two methods of dealing with the history of the present subject present themselves. One method consists in taking individual classes of jewelry, tracing their complete development, and following the changes they undergo during the various periods of civilization. By the other—the historical method—all types of jewelry in existence at a particular time are examined side by side within the historical period to which they belong. The general changes that take place at one epoch find an echo in every piece of jewelry that belongs to that epoch.
The different classes of jewelry during every period all bear a distinct relationship of style. For instance, the changes which take place in the aspect of the necklace at a particular epoch will be found to occur at the same time in that of the bracelet and girdle. But there may,exist the widest divergence in style and idea between a particular piece of jewelry and its successor of a subsequent period.
For these reasons an historical and chronological mode of treatment has been adopted, which will allow more completeness of observation, and fuller and more scientific investigation of style and craftsmanship.
Certain difficulties are nevertheless encountered, because periods and fashions naturally overlap. This is particularly the case in times when communication was not easy; since some people would cling to an old form of jewelry, while others, more traveled or more fashionably minded, would prefer a new.
In proceeding towards a systematic classification of personal ornaments it may be advisable, instead of dealing with the separate ornaments of each period according to their relative importance or prominence, to follow a simpler and more natural plan. Thus, a simpler method of classification might be discussing ornaments dealt with in each succeeding epoch will in every case be those worn :
- on the head—diadems, tiaras, aigrettes, hair-pins, jewels for the hat and cap, and earrings;
(2) on the neck—necklaces and neck-chains hung with numerous varieties of pendants;
(3) on the breast—brooches, clasps, buttons ;
(4) on the limbs—armlets, anklets, bracelets, rings ; and
(5) on the body and waist—girdles and their various attachments, chatelaines, and miscellaneous pendent ornaments, such as pomanders, scent-cases, rosaries, etc.
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