Hip hop jewellery has been long considered as a status symbol for rappers, A-list celebrities and the wealthy. It is not just hip hop jewellery alone but other types of jewellery have long shaped different cultures since ancient times. It is more than an ornament or decoration as it represents as a status symbol on where someone stands in their community.
Jewellery is not limited to silver or gold pieces. In the olden times, it could be made from metal, ivory, feathers, crystals, flowers, human hair, tiger claws, animal horns, and stones, according to Encyclopedia of Fashion.
Here are the ancient cultures who revered jewellery more than a fashion accessory:
The men and women of the Mogul Empire (or Mughal Empire) wore jewellery from head to toe. As described by Encyclopedia of Fashion, men had turban with feathers, jewels, pearls on their heads; pendants, strands of pearls, or amulets on their neck; armbands and bracelets on their arms and wrists; rings on their fingers; belt with gemstones; and lastly, their ankles were circled with chain bracelets. That is how intricate and detailed menof the Mogul empire wore accessories at the time. On the other hand, women can have multiple piercings in their noses and ears. Moreover, if an Indian woman is married, she wears fifty or more bangles that cover their upper and lower arm.
The primary and, perhaps, only wearers of jewelry at the time are women. As narrated by Turkish Culture Foundation, there are many types of jewellery worn like aigrettes which was used by the Sultan and some of his Harem; pins on their heads or on the brooches of dresses; earrings that enhances the hairstyle and dress of an Ottoman woman; gold bangles that can be converted to cash; and long necklaces that can only be afforded by the rich class.
It is said, as explained in an article in EzineArticles.com, in Chinese culture, jewels are worn to please the gods. For example, the purpose of wearing one is to keep the spirit alive. It is also worn to bring good luck, health, love and prosperity based on Feng Shui principles. One of the prized precious stones is jade which represent the yin and yang. It is also called as the Stone of Heaven and wards off bad luck, illness or evil spirits. In today’s trend, even Chinese babies are given a small jade bangle.
A USA Today article says this culture had different kinds of jewellery like “crowns, sandals, bangles, earrings, nose rings, necklaces, and even chest aprons…each used different materials that delineated important markings like social status.” In connection with social status, Incan royalty and public officials wore jewelries every day. The lower class only wears it on religious celebrations and festivals. The more gold someone has, the more blessed that person is.
The ancient Egyptians largely favoured gold because it was easy to collect near riverbeds and also easy to work with. History of Jewelry explains that “golden jewellery quickly became the symbol of status, power and religion.” They were also the pioneers of coloured glass jewellery which is difficult to create.
Since the ancient times, jewellery is a symbol of status and prestige like the hip hop jewellery of today. This belief persisted and carried on from generation to generation. A bling is not just all about glamour but it also signifies of who and what we are.