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A Brief Introduction Of Ancient Egyptian Costume Jewelry


Before we delve into the full state of activities required to launch a fashion accessories business, it’s helpful to have some background on exactly how today’s love affair with fashion accessories began. It’s pretty safe to assume that as long as women have walked the earth, there has been an interest in fashion. While early written records don’t exist about how women adorned themselves, there are many extant artifacts and a lot of pictorial evidence to prove that women-and men, for that matter-have always been fashion forwards.

It’s believed that the origins of mankind’s interest in clothing dates back to around 10,000B.C. Archeologists have found evidence that the needle and the loom were invented around that time, but it wasn’t until the Neolithic period (6,000B.C.) that human began to make gemstone costume jewelry necklaces which could be consider the world’s first fashion accessories.

Fast forward 3,000 years. It’s well documented that the ancient Egyptians loved cosmetics, fashion, and jewelry including necklace, chandelier earrings, rings, bracelets, and anklets. In fact, Egyptians of all social classes wore jewelry, though of course the ornaments worn by the pharaoh and other members of the elite were costlier and more ornate than those of the lower classes and the peasantry. One reason why Egyptian costume jewelry was so popular was because it was believed to have magical powers that offered the wearer spiritual protection or good luck. Tomb paintings also depict Egyptians wearing sashes over simple, pleated kilt-like garments for men or long linen tunics for women, while from the age of puberty children wore hair ornaments and miniature versions of the Egyptian costume jewelry their parents wore.

The ancient Romans were also mad for accessories. In particular, the upper class Roman women complemented their attire with highly decorated and costly necklaces, armbands, breast chains, brooches and even hairnets made of gold.

Over time, ornamentations became even more lavish. In the Middle Ages, belts were considered a symbol of wealth and high fashion among noblewomen and often were made of gold studded leather or plaques of gold that were hinged or sewn to fabric to create elaborately embellished. Women also wore circlets in their hair, as well as bejeweled mantel fastenings, brooches, and rings.

Head coverings probably have been worn since the dawn of mankind, but it wasn’t until the late 1700s that hats were designed just for women. Previously, their head-wear was influenced by men’s styles. Women’s hats first appeared in Milan, Italy, around 1529, giving to the rise to the term “milliner” for hat makers. They were made of straws and festooned with ribbons. Italian and Swiss made straws remained popular until the mid 1800s, when hat makers began using velvet and tulle in their designs.

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