Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to look appealing, but humans have been producing and wearing it for a long time – with 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells thought to be the oldest known jewellery.
Jewellery may be made from a wide range of materials, but gemstones, precious metals, beads and shells have been widely used. Depending on the culture and times jewellery may be appreciated as a status symbol, for its material properties, its patterns, or for meaningful symbols. Jewellery has been made to adorn nearly every body part, from hairpins to toe rings.
Costume jewelry (also called trinkets, fashion jewelry, junk jewelry, fake jewelry, or fallalery) is jewelry manufactured as ornamentation to complement a particular fashionable costume or garment. Costume jewelry came into being in the 1930s as a cheap, disposable accessory meant to be worn with a specific outfit. It was intended to be fashionable for a short period of time, outdate itself, and then be repurchased to fit with a new outfit or new fashion style. Its main use is in fashion, as opposed to “real” (fine) jewelry which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments. Costume jewelry is made of less valuable materials including base metals, glass, plastic, and synthetic stones; in place of more valuable materials such as precious metals and gems.
A gemstone or gem (also called a precious or semi-precious stone, a fine gem, or jewel) is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However certain rocks (such as lapis lazuli) and organic materials (such as amber or jet) are not minerals, but are still used for jewelry, and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone. Apart from jewelry, from earliest antiquity until the 19th century engraved gems and hardstone carvings such as cups were major luxury art forms; the carvings of Carl Fabergé were the last significant works in this tradition.