Women's jewellery fashions, from the earliest days to the present

Woman wearing fasgionable jewellery

The Historic Hows And Whys Of Jewellery

When it comes to the history of jewellery for women, the subject can be an overwhelming one. There are so many different eras and styles of jewellery that it’s hard to know where to begin. In this article, we will explore the history of jewellery for women in its many forms, from prehistoric times all the way up to modern day trends. Let’s get started!

The History of Jewellery for Women: Prehistoric Times

Prehistoric jewellery for women was often made out of shells or other natural materials. Shells were commonly used as decorative items, often carved into shapes such as flowers, butterflies, or stars. Gems were another common form of prehistoric jewellery. Prehistoric jewellery for women often featured turquoise, jasper, and carnelian stones. Additionally, there are also examples of prehistoric gold jewellery for women.

Overall, there is little information on prehistoric jewellery for women, as items from this period have not survived the test of time.

Roman Era Jewelry for Women 300 BC – 400 AD

The Roman era marked the first use of gems in jewellery for women. Gemstones such as sapphire, ruby and emerald were used to make rings and other types of jewellery for women. The main reason for this is that gemstones were much easier to come by and mine than precious metals.

The Romans also made use of pearls in their jewellery for women. Pearls were a popular gemstone due to their delicate appearance and they were often strung together to create a beautiful necklace or bracelet.

Another common type of Roman jewellery for women is the use of fibulae (a decorative brooch) as a hair ornament. Fibulae were often covered in jewels.

the Romans were amongst the first to introduce the metals gold and silver to jewellery making. Early jewellery for women from the Roman era was largely simple and functional, and mostly designed for everyday wear. Even the more ornate pieces were worn as bracelets or hairpins, not so much as statement pieces.

Middle Ages Era Jewelry for Women 500 – 1400 AD

The Middle Ages era is when jewellery for women really came into its own. The use of precious metals such as gold and silver became more prevalent. Additionally, gemstones were often incorporated into jewellery for women as well. The gemstones used were typically aquamarine, garnet, or amethyst. Also, the common use of iron and other metals for jewellery for women became more prevalent. Overall, Middle Ages jewellery for women was very ornate and decorative, with gems, pearls, and decorative knots being common features.

The middle ages were a time of great change in Europe. During this era, Christians were the dominant European religious group and as a result, Christian themes (which had existed since the later Roman times) were common in jewellery for women. In particular, the Virgin Mary was often depicted in pieces of jewellery for women. Virgin Mary depictions often took the form of a pendant.

Renaissance Era Jewelry for Women 1400 – 1600 AD

Renaissance jewellery for women was typically more simple than jewellery from the Middle Ages era. Often, Renaissance jewellery for women featured a single gemstone surrounded by a decorative border. The type of gems used also varied from the ones used in the Middle Ages era. Emeralds, rubies, and diamonds were popular Renaissance era gems. Another type of Renaissance jewellery for women was a decorative pendant housed in a decorative setting. Renaissance era jewellery for women also features decorative knots and loops.

19th Century Era of Jewelry for Women

The 19th century was a time of great change and upheaval, was marked by a rise in industrialization, colonialism, and trade. All of these trends left their mark on 19th century jewellery for women.In the 19th century, jewellery for women saw a resurgence of simpler, more ornate pieces. Women during this era largely returned to the idea of wearing jewellery as a way to show off their status or wealth. There were still some ornate decorative pieces, but most items were smaller and more delicate. Modern jewellery for women during the 19th century also included sentimental pieces, like lockets and pendants that were meant to be keepsakes or tokens of love.

The 19th century was also when watches and other items of jewellery for women made out of silver and other base metals became more popular. Overall, the 19th century era of jewellery for women was a transition period between the ornate jewellery of the previous era, and the more minimalistic jewellery of the era to come.

20th Century Era of Jewelry for Women 1900 – 2000 AD

The 20th century was a time of great change in Europe. The continentwas embroiled in two world wars in the first half of the 20th century with large numbers of women entering the workforce and becoming economically independent and the second half of the 20th century saw a rise in global trade. All of these events had an effect on the types of jewellery for women that were worn.

The 20th century era is when the minimalist style of jewellery for women became more prevalent. Instead of the ornate brooches and decorative pendants of the previous eras, jewellery for women during the 20th century was often limited to a few pieces of minimalistic chain necklaces. Rings were also a popular item of jewellery for women, with simple bands being the most common style. Overall, the 20th century era was a transition period in which we see the emergence of more minimalistic forms of jewellery for women.


The history of jewellery for women covers a wide range of styles and eras, and it’s clear that the use of jewellery has always been significant. Whether it was to mark social class, to perform a religious function, or to showcase one’s wealth, the use of jewellery for women has always been important. They have been worn as symbols of power and femininity, as well as keepsakes that are meant to be cherished.

However, as trends change and new generations come into power, jewellery for women often shifts to reflect these new ideals. There is no better way to learn about the history of jewellery for women than to see the different styles throughout different eras. Throughout history, the style of jewellery has often been used as a way to represent what was happening in the world around it.