Many different historical cultures and societies have used crystals in their jewellery for a myriad of different reasons. Some have used them for healing and therapeutic purposes, and some use them simply because crystals are beautiful. However, can we track when and where crystals have been used throughout the timeline of human history? The answer is yes. Many different societies have had a rich history with loving crystal jewellery. Here are all of the different significant periods in which humans have used crystal jewellery.
The oldest amulets and bracelets that exist have been made of baltic amber. These pieces of jewellery have been dated back to almost 30,000 years ago. In Britain, pieces of amber jewellery have been found from over 10,000 years ago! They are thought to have been a spiritual object pre-Christianity, as they were banned in Britain by the Christians in 355 AD. It is thought that for many ancient cultures, baltic amber held a lot of spiritual significance, and were probably thought to have healing properties. Baltic Amber is popular even today, and grew in prominence during the Edwardian era. If you’re looking for an Edwardian ring with this material, there are many available in many antique jewellery shops.
Peridot, sometimes called chrysolite, is an ancient gem that was extremely popular during Ancient Egyptian societies. Records that contained the information about mining information specifically for peridot have been found that suggest how widespread it was. The Ancient Egyptians called it ‘the gem of the sun’, and they believed that it protected the wearer from night terrors. It is even believed that Cleopatra’s famous Emerald collection may have actually been peridot, as it was common in ancient eras to confuse the two.
During the Renaissance it was widely believed that crystals could be used as a healing entity, and many different treatises were published on the subject. They were often used alongside herbal remedies in order to cure certain ailments. Crystals were often believed to bring protection and strength in times of adversity. It was even believed that certain crystals could make the wearer invincible- there were multiple famous legal cases surrounding the theft of such crystals. Much of the scientific thought at the time sought to explain the reasons why these crystals worked- the people of the Renaissance truly believed in the healing properties of crystals.
The Stuarts were big fans of Quartz jewellery, particularly rose quartz. They were really popular when it came to mourning jewellery, as it was believed that the Quartz helped to heal the effects of the loss. However, the mourning jewellery was specifically for the death of Charles I, and they were pieces of political jewellery. However, by the end of the 17th Century, the Quartz had become a massively popular crystal when it came to love tokens, and general memorial and mourning jewellery. You can often see multiple antique engagement rings from this period which use this crystal in particular.
While there was some interest in crystals from the Victorians, the interest in crystals would not really grow again until the 1980s, and recently have a surge in popularity in 2020. However, multiple cultures have a long history when it comes to crystal jewellery.