With packed bags and luggage tags taking a time-out in 2020, many of us are left feeling like we need a sweet escape. Our exit strategy? Dive into our closets and accessory wardrobes. Not only does your look have the ability to evoke serious getaway goals [regardless of location] — it can also keep your jet-setting spirit alive. Rooted in a rich, multicultural history, jewelry embodies the international journey of those who have come before us. At MC, while our jewels are proudly designed with love in LA, the influences that inspire our collections travel far beyond the Pacific.
Born in the Mesopotamian era, the evolution of early jewelry was influenced heavily by the Cradle of Civilization. Comprised of what is now Egypt, India, and China, this multicultural landmass is largely responsible for the jewels you’re most likely rocking today. Early Egyptian jewelry was worn by people of all status, age, and gender alike. As an essential part of Egyptian culture, jewelry was both indicative of social class and carried religious connotations. Also viewed as a vessel of protection by the Ancient Egyptians, jewelry meaning was also equated to prosperity in both this life and in the afterlife. Apart from establishing jewelry’s monetary and spiritual value, Egypt also popularized the use of religious symbols and precious materials in accessories, such as lapis lazuli and solid gold. Gold was so sacred to the Ancient Egyptians, that it was regarded as the flesh of the Sun God and used as the primary accessory metal. The use of gold in jewelry was also held in high esteem in the next stop on our accessory journey — India.
Believed to have purifying qualities, gold was used in everything from adorning Indian temple deities to setting stones. Much like the Egyptians, early Indian culture also attached spiritual meaning to many of the stones used in their jewelry. With location on their side, Indians had access to higher-quality stones, such as emeralds and rubies, and was also the exclusive source of diamonds until the 1730s. Inviting color into their cultural jewelry, semiprecious stones were turned into smooth or carved colorful beads, popularizing both chunky and ornate jewelry designs. Similar to Indian culture, Chinese culture also used semiprecious stones in their jewelry designs — with a focus on one particular green stone.
Chinese jewelry has many unique characteristics, but it’s best known for positioning jade front and center. A material believed to have spiritual meaning, this stone was eventually nicknamed the “royal gem” in China. Based upon the belief that accessorizing could help keep you safe from evil, adornments became integral to Chinese fashion and culture for protection, aesthetics, and practicality alike. While jade was incorporated into all types of jewelry, hat pendants and hairpins also became a cultural style staple in China — both with and without the inclusion of jade. And while we often turn to Chinese proverbs for advice and wisdom, it seems that their respective cultural garb also doubled in repelling unwanted vibes — in the chicest way possible.
Despite having a much shorter road map than the modern world, these early civilizations challenged the unknown and adapted accordingly. By traveling through our treasures, we not only embrace their heritage but also escape into their stories. So the next time 2020 leaves you itching for adventure and inspiration, open the world of your wardrobe. And remember: no pressure, no diamond.