Sunday, March 29, 2015

Symbolic Jewelry of Ancient Egypt

Jewelry of ancient Egypt, worn by not just women but men, holds great historical significance for us today. Pieces like bracelets, collar necklaces, anklets, earrings, and fillets were on display daily in ancient Egypt as part of their normal dressing style, and even the dead were buried in ornate jewelry under the assumption that they’ll find use for them in an afterlife. The Egyptians are believed to have started the mastery creating jewelry art pieces through the use of gemstones and metal.

Symbols Used in Ancient Egyptian jewelry

Jewelry worn during the ancient Egyptian era was decorated with symbols that had specific significance. One of the most important symbols was the dung beetle or the scarab and was believed to represent rebirth.

Other symbols were charm necklaces and amulets.  These were another popular jewelry that was worn in everyday Egyptian life. These pieces also adorned the deceased; it was believed that surrounding the body with amulets and gemstones would ensure more protection and safety in the afterlife.

Gemstones of Ancient Egypt

Gemstones used in ancient Egypt to craft jewelry include garnet, malachite, Hematite, serpentine, turquoise, peridot, Lapis lazuli, Fluorite, Amazonite, carnelian and all manner of quartz. Cutting tools and grinding stones were used to shape the gemstones, with skilled artisans being exclusively employed by members of the upper class to create designs that were unique to their family.

While Egyptian jewelry included brooches, bracelets, coronets, clasps, girdles and earrings, it did have some very unique pieces that are readily recognizable as specific to that era. For example, the pectoral is an enormous breast decoration which has been found on various Egyptian mummies, and a headdress that resembled an outer wig was also unique to the Egyptian dress. And not just the dress but even normal household items like plates, vases and furniture contained hammered gold and jewels as part of its decoration.

Color Representation in Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

The color of jewelry made in ancient Egypt was also highly symbolic. The color green was associated with fertility and good yield, while the deceased were believed to be dressed in red to satisfy the blood hunger of the goddess Isis.

Use of Precious metals in Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Initially copper was used to carve ancient Egyptian jewelry and was later, as forging technology was developed, replaced by tin and copper which used to make bronze.  From there, silver (or the white metal) and later, gold. A naturally occurring alloy made from gold, silver and traces of copper referred to as Electrum was also used in making jewelry in ancient Egypt.

The more things change, the more they stay the same!  The use of symbols held a very great importance in the jewelry making in Egypt, identified in the many excavations of tombs and the great pyramids, still hold true today. Gold and diamonds currently serve as our main materials, and hearts, infinity loops, and religious symbols as our symbols, with unique designs gaining popularity.

And lest we forget, your jewelry treasures need an equally safe and unique method of storage, from luxury jewelry boxes to standing jewelry armoires!

Happy April!

Noelle, Guest Blogger, Chasing Treasure

solid cherry jewelry chest
Solid Cherry Jewelry Chest for Your Unique Treasures

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March's Birthstones: The Aquamarine & Bloodstone

Aquamarine Gemstone

In ancient days, they believed that there was a spiritual connection between the twelve stones on the breastplate of Aaron, the twelve zodiac signs, and the twelve months of the Roman calendar.  This is the basis for the different birthstones associated with each month. March (which is unique) has two birthstones:  aquamarine and bloodstone.

Aquamarine: the First Birthstone of March
Aquamarine means water, and the sea varies in color from deep blue to blue green and is considered cool; this color is associated with keeping the wearer calm and levelheaded:  cool under pressure! Often referred as the poor man’s diamond, it is with the same family of gemstones like morganite, emerald, and heliodor. The legend of aquamarine derives from the jewel caskets of sirens, coming ashore from the sea depths. These gemstones were very sacred, representing Neptune the Roman god of the sea. Aquamarine is believed to help heal a large number of ailments, mainly related to the jaw, liver, throat, and stomach. Its decorative use in eyeglasses is well-known and dates back almost 2000 years back.

Relationship to the Zodiac Sign
Aquamarine is the first birthstone of the month of March and is also the 19th wedding anniversary’s gemstone (how’s that for an interesting tidbit?). The Zodiac sign for this birthstone is Pisces (born between February 20 & March 20). Pisces is also the sign of the fish and is the twelfth sign in the zodiac calendar, its ruling planet is Neptune. The Aquamarine birthstone is associated with courage, faithfulness, and friendship.

Jewelry has made with the aquamarine gemstone for centuries, for all types of jewelry, from rings, brooches, pins, cufflinks, bracelets, pendants, earrings, to, of course, necklaces.  The aquamarine makes a wonderfully rich and tasteful gift, especially to those born under the sign of Pisces!

There is a poem written for March’s birthstone, can you guess the author?

"A March born shall always be
Soothed by Aqua, gem of sea
This mermaid's treasured stone you wear
Will bring happiness, love, affection and care."

The Other March Birthstone

The Bloodstone or Heliotrope

The second (or alternative) birthstone for March is the Bloodstone which is also known as Heliotrope. The stone’s properties make it ideal for carving and this gemstone is believed to increase vitality and have healing powers. Character traits associated with the Bloostone are courage and solace.

The Bloodstone is dark-green in color, jasper flecked, with vivid red spots of iron oxide (hence Bloostone!).  This gem in the ancient era was used by Babylonians to make seals and amulets, and is believed to possess healing powers especially associated with healing blood disorders.

So for your March births, here are your gemstones:  Aquamarine and the Bloodstone.  And don’t forget, a beautiful luxury jewelry box or standing jewelry armoire is a great place to store these and other treasures!

Guest Blogger, Noelle,

luxury jewelry box
Luxury Jewelry Box for Your Treasures!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Homemade Jewelry, A Rising In-Thing for the Fashion Industry

 Floating Lotus Jewelry
Home Made Jewelry

Jewelry has been popular for women and men since the beginning of recorded history. Not every person out there can afford precious jewelry made out of exotic metal and gemstones. So what is a viable solution for people to add beautiful and unique jewelry to their collection without breaking the bank? Homemade jewelry! Today the DIY jewelry designs has taken on a life of its own, and woman everywhere are trying this out: creating and wearing something that she made herself, that also gets the attention and admiration of others.  She can skip the mall and create her own personalized necklaces, bracelets, & earrings to build her jewelry collection - pieces that are unique and straight from her own heart.

Popularity of homemade jewelry

Homemade jewelry can be created from any number of things including ribbon, paper, buttons, recycled material, yarn, clay, fabric, and, of course, gemstones, both real and costume. Created with love and care, the makers of these pieces don’t have to keep their treasures just for themselves. People who want to buy this kind of unique jewelry can easily find amazing pieces made by these individual artists. The finish and intricately carved pieces can be quite stunning. Homemade jewelry makers are using the internet to gain broader popularity and to help people learn about their unique skills.

The homemade jewelry trend is gaining popularity around the world for many reasons:

•The designs are generally minimalist when compared to traditionally designed jewelry, reflecting a move towards simplicity

•The designs are unique, so the chances of someone wearing similar jewelry are almost zero.  With different colors, styles, and material that go into homemade jewelry, the combinations will almost always be innovative and individualized.

•The cost of homemade jewelry can be considerably less than traditionally manufactured jewelry.

•Homemade jewelry makes a perfect gift which you can easily choose based on the taste and choice of the receiver and the occasion, without breaking the budget!

•Homemade jewelry can easily add that oomph to your attire, turning heads at any event.

-You don’t need a reason or event to buy it; just browse and buy when you find a piece you like!

Like anything, quality can be an issue, so do some homework and ask for a robust return policy.  Be sure to use online payment companies, as they can help you if there are any disagreements about refunds.

Since these jewelry pieces can come in many shapes & sizes, especially necklaces, ChasingTreasure has just the selection of luxury jewelry boxes and standing jewelry armoires, in all styles to fit any budget.

Jewelry treasures and jewelry boxes go hand-in-hand.  As you increase your jewelry collection by bringing in new pieces, whether homemade or not, while keeping your treasured older pieces, you can look to ChasingTreasure to help keep them safe and secure over the years.

Happy Treasure Hunting!

standing jewelry armoire
Standing Jewelry Armoire with Necklace Cabinets

ChasingTreasure Guest Blogger Noelle Price

Friday, March 6, 2015

Changing Necklace Styles & Designs

Rani-Haar Design

Nothing but change is permanent, a reality which you can see associated with almost everything around you. Similar evolution can be seen in women’s jewelry which, since recorded time, has been a fashion item among women of all ages, and necklaces are a centerpiece of individual fashion and personal preference, adding that perfect touch to most any attire. It’s not just the clothes which attract the eye of others, but, most often, the necklace one wears.

Necklace styles over the last half century have seen great variances in design, style, and material. The necklace which your grandmother wore when she was young is like to no longer have a place in today’s fashion, and is loved and shown mainly as a retro fashion statement.

While designs have changed, some things remain constant. Fifty years ago gold was the primary necklace material (including any designs).  Also how can you not mention the “rani-haar” and the “Nau-Lakha” (not sure what that is:  see picture above: necklaces originally designed and worn by South East Asia royalty which features multiple golden front strands, a design that was also very popular in the West for many years). While gold remains the chief material of the chains, intricately designed jewels now dominate the design. Copper and silver have seen an increase in use as well. Over time, gold started getting replaced by other options with diamonds becoming more and more in demand.

Other pieces which have remained in fashion over the decades include beads and pearls. Beads and pearl necklaces, predominantly displayed in white many years ago, are now obtainable in almost every color, to allow the wearer to match her attire. Fashion jewelry is another in demand jewelry piece which has been liked by women who prefer style and wish to create that unique look.

Certain designs and material are timeliness:  simple gold chains with a single jeweled pendant, and matching earrings, for example. However, over the years, material and manufacturing capabilities have evolved to create an almost endless variety from which to choose. From necklaces made of paper mace, to intricate designs that incorporate different jewel shapes, sizes, and colors. It can be stated without hyperbole that necklaces of any style, color, design, and price can now be found (or special made!) to satisfy the specific fashion need and budget of any individual wearer.

Necklaces can also be a wonderful gift for that special woman. But be sure to understand her tastes and current fashion!  And one final thought regarding the woman who keeps a large collection of necklaces and other fine jewelry treasures:  the jewelry box. A standing jewelry armoire that features side necklace cabinets will keep her necklaces safe and secure for her entire life, and is a practical and elegant gift.

Happy treasure hunting from ChasingTreasure!

standing jewelry armoire
Standing Jewelry Armoire with Necklace Cabinets

By Guest Blogger, Noelle Macaraeg