A necklace symbolic meaning will vary from design to design, depending on the charm or pendant used, and the materials chosen by the artisan or crafter.
Like other jewelry types, not all necklaces are purely aesthetic or ornamental. Many of them hold deeper symbolism. A necklace symbolic meaning can also change or fluctuate depending on the culture or country.
What often carries the weight of a necklace symbolic meaning is the pendant or charm – the center of attention, and the exclamation point of the design. As charms or pendants can vary as much as the ideas in making jewelry, their meanings will also vary as much.
Shells, teeth, feathers, and bones were the primary organic materials used to create the earliest necklaces.
These were discovered in a Neolithic burial in the Alps between 4200 and 3400 BCE. Other early necklaces were made of twisted metal, known as torque, and were worn by ancient Celts in Ireland and Scotland between 1800 and 1500 B.C.E.
During the Gothic period, which lasted from 1150 to 1450 C.E., necklaces were not particularly popular. Initially, necklaces were worn for celebratory, religious, and mortuary purposes.
What Were Necklaces For?
Typically, necklaces are the most conspicuous and largest if all kinds of jewelry. Gemstones that are too large to comfortably wear in a ring or earring may be suspended from the neck with minimal discomfort or movement restriction.
Necklaces and pendants are two distinct items, despite their frequent interchangeability. Necklaces are ornamental pieces worn around the neck. A pendant is a piece of jewelry that is suspended from a chain.
Since the dawn of civilization, necklaces have been worn. The earliest necklaces were composed of shells or stones. These were replaced with crafted beads discovered in ancient grave sites. The ancient Egyptians fashioned necklaces out of glass and glazed pottery beads on a regular basis.
At the dawn of history, beads were not only used for decoration, but also as a form of currency and as essential trade goods. As the custom of wearing a necklace spread far and wide, so did beads from various civilizations. With the invention of chains, pendant necklaces gained popularity. We know that ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans wore protective amulets around their necks as a matter of course.
In the Middle Ages, necklaces were also used as symbols of power and authority. Both kings and clergy wore enormous collars made of gold, enamel, and precious stones, adorned with their insignia or office badge. During the late Gothic and early Renaissance eras, necklaces supplanted brooches as a symbol of wealth and social standing.
The History of the Necklace and Necklace Symbolic Meaning
Initially, necklaces were worn for celebratory, religious, and mortuary purposes. In some societies between the 14th and 17th centuries, necklaces made of gemstones and hefty gold were a symbol of wealth, power, and prestige.
Necklaces replaced brooches as the most popular Middle Ages jewelry.
Trends in necklaces mirror the styles of European and American necklines. Once upon a time, necklines were extremely high, but that did not mean that we were without.
Necklaces of greater complexity were worn.
Even the males wore gold-link necklaces and jeweled ones known as carcanets, which resembled a high collar, which also had necklace symbolic meaning depending on the design.
During the 1960s, hippies frequently wore beaded necklaces, known as love beads, until the disco era, when men began to wear simple gold chains. As soon as hip-hop music became popular, diamond-encrusted pendants became the thing to wear.
Diamonds, gold, and pearls have endured throughout history, with diamonds as the highest symbol of prestige, glamor, and wealth.
Queen Elizabeth I was an early innovator of pearl necklaces in England, which also gave rise to new necklace symbolic meaning in that era.
Pearls have always been a consistent choice for professional women and brides, despite being a wardrobe staple for everyone.
In today’s culture, even men wear pearls around their necks.
Yellow gold has always been the preferred metal, whereas white gold is more frequently in and out of style. Today, there is a greater variety of metals available with a variety of finishes, such as oxidized sterling silver, which has a dark gray appearance.
Even though the history of jewelry is typically associated with western cultures, it is still applicable to Asian and African cultures. For trading or when payment was required, silver necklaces with beads made of coral, amber, or silver coins were regarded as “savings accounts.” As a status symbol of wealth, wealthy Hmong women wore numerous silver coin necklaces, particularly during courtship rituals.
In India, it was common practice for ladies to buy gold jewelry, but only wear it on their wedding day.