Jewels have always been part of human culture. Centuries ago, jewels were produced from any kind of materials that were available - stones, animal skins, feathers, plants, bones, shells, wood, and natural made semi-precious materials such as obsidian. As time passed, advancing technology enabled artisans to start taming metals and precious gems into works of art that influenced entire cultures and many modern jewelry styles. However, even with all advancements of metallurgy and gem processing, the purpose of wearing jewelry always remained the same - they enabled the wearer to express themselves non-verbally, showcase wealth, rank, political and religious affiliation or affections toward someone.
Development of early jewelry can be roughly divided across three ancient civilizations - Egypt, India and China. Egypt and Mesopotamia set standards in metallurgy, gem collecting, and glass manufacture. Their several thousand year long tradition of jewelry production laid a solid foundation for all European civilizations that came after them, and their unique style affected fashion trends even four thousand years later.
India however managed to develop such a connection to jewelry that it became an integral part of their daily life. Since they were the first who managed to conquer the art of gold gathering and processing, they developed the art of jewel making much earlier than anyone in their environment. This made them one of the most sought destinations for trade, which eventually became a driving force for the incredible expansion of European civilization during the Age of Discovery.