Costume and Fashion History of Jewelry

In the ancient times, gold was in great demand for making jewelry. Gold was rare, it would not get dull and the best part was that it was flexible; therefore it was quite easy to make various designs out of it. Fantastic necklaces, diadems, bracelets, earrings, pendants, armlets, head ornaments, rings, pectoral ornaments and collars created out of gold were all manufactured in ancient Egypt.

You must be aware that ancient Egypt was the land of the Pharaohs. In the year 1922, Howard Carter in one of his excavations stumbled upon the grand discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb along with a lot of gold funerary relics; each and every piece depicted the work of art that was prevalent in ancient Egypt. Then comes the Gold and Gems that was available in Greece in the 1400 BC era.

During the ancient times in Greece, beads that were in the shape of natural forms such as beetles, flowers and shells were created on a huge scale. Gorgeous and fragile earrings and necklaces were discovered in burial locations in parts of Northern Greece. By 300 BC, the Greeks were busy manufacturing multi colored jewelry and they made use of pearls, emeralds, amethysts and garnets.

In addition, they made use of materials like enamel, colored stones and glass. They also created carved cameos of Indian Sardonyx together with filigree gold work. Indian Sardonyx basically is a brown pink and cream agate stone with stripes. Beads were manufactured in a method by sticking two flat pieces of gold together and packing them up with sand. Now let us know about the magnificent Italian Gold and striking Roman Coinage.

During the Eight century BC, the Italian Etruscans in the Tuscany region manufactured gold work that had a texture of granules. They manufactured huge earrings, necklaces, bracelets and fibulae or clasps. In addition to all this they manufactured pendants that were unique. These pendants were created to be hollow so that perfume could be filled in it. To this day and age the Italians are well known for their excellent quality as well as stylish fashion of manufacturing gorgeous designs in gold.

The Romans used to make use of 18 and 24 carat gold in coinage. The coinage happened to be the craftsman’s raw material for ornamental jewel work, as it was quite easily accessible. Some 2000 years back, the Romans used to make use of sapphires brought in from Sri Lanka, amber, cloudy emeralds, Indian diamond crystals and garnets. When England was ruled by the Romans, fossilized wood known as jet from the North of England was shaped into remarkable pieces. Then there was the Pearls and Gems Authentic and Artificial Jewelry.

Jewels at all times have been made use of as symbols of love. Excellent quality gems and precious metals were used to make good quality artificial jewelry in order to trick people into buying them instead of the authentic ones. Authentic pearls and gemstones were brought in from the east and the Italians were the ones who mainly purchased them. The Italian traders after that went on to sell the merchandise in Europe.

Fashion – History’s Bread Trail

Just as the rings of a tree tell its age, fashion acts as that ring. Immediately seeing a particular style of fashion, you can, with most certainty, tell its age. Clothing has the ability to be an excellent indicator of time. When you turn on an episode of say, COPS, by examining the clothing and hairstyles you can almost immediately decipher the decade. The same can be said for when one is watching say a movie preview, is it a period piece? What era? All you need to do is look at the clothing and think back to your middle-school history class. Let us not forget to mention what intense and indelible effect clothing has on culture and society. The first thing we see has a tendency to say a lot about who we are as people, as well as a society as a whole. In the beginning clothing was about protection and heat regulation. There are so many theories as to why homo-sapiens (man) began to loose the hair covering their bodies. Perhaps no one wanted lice living on them and eating them alive. Whatever the reason, the shift has shaped culture, questioning what may be acceptable and challenging that which is not acceptable, in addition to its primary purpose of shelter for the body.

Marie Antoinette, a woman famous for her fashion sense and ability to create trends, indulged her passion for fashion. While prominent heads of state lived off the yearly wage of 50,000 livres, Antoinette spend double that, around 100,000 livres on her wardrobe alone every year. Although well known for her high style, she kept some of her more extravagant spending a secret from the King. Antoinette not only set trends and presented new ways to express oneself through fashion it may have been a secondary function to her spending. Antoinette was unable to bear children, frustrated and childless, she kept tails waging with her wild wigs and costuming, diverting attention from the fact that she could not produce an heir.

The period of 1911 to around 1925 saw a lot of change in the way of women’s rights as well as women’s hemlines. The social upheaval that occurred as a result of World War I created a shift in the economy, which also created a shift in society’s role for women. As men went off to war, women were left behind to rear the children, tend the home, and now more than ever bring home the bacon. After the war, the Age of Jazz was ushered in, an era when prohibition looms large and styles changed dramatically, creating quite the controversy in the streets. In 1910 the hemlines were ankle-length; in 1919 they hiked up to the mid-calf and finally by 1925 hemlines were all the way up to the knee. In the span of 15 years, men and women were exposed to more feminine flesh than previously experienced in history. As women fought for their rights, they also questioned what society told them to wear and how to dress. If they had to take on both role of mother and father, they had better wear whatever makes them feel good.

Since its conception, the movie industry wanted to uphold the values and morals of the time. In 1922 the industry created the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), headed by the former postmaster Will H. Hays. Later nicknamed the “Hays Office,” was all about upholding the standards of society, which decent people valued, e.g., regulating what was acceptable to be seen in regards to violence, sex, hemlines and necklines. For a while it was a great self-governing system solution for the motion picture industry, though in the 1940s with WWII, saw a weakening in its governing strength. Independent movie producers like Howard Hughes created films such as “The Outlaw,” a 1943 western, starring Jane Russell that chipped away at the compliance of the board. Considered too sexual and provocative, Hughes cut many scenes, raised necklines, and later was granted a seal approval from the “Hayes Office,” but disgruntled by all the editing, Hughes shelved the project until 1946. In 1946 Hughes, in a strong act of defiance, released his film without any edits and experienced widespread mainstream success despite the board’s obvious disapproval. Finally, in the 1950s the board was disbanded and the ratings system we now have in place started to come to fruition.

During and after the sexual revolution, society saw severe shifts in the styles seen in the streets. Though in the beginning of the 1960s only the hippies were wearing and doing radical practices. As the decade went on, it was more about a self-made expression of social defiance. Hippies wore less clothing, louder styles and even created garments of their own design as an answer to war, hate, ignorance and the values of regimented society. The clothing embraced by the hippie community reflected influences of eastern philosophy, psychedelic rock music, drug experimentation and all other forms of alternative consciousness. It shocked suburbia and shifted the acceptable standards of dress, no longer would women have to leave the house with set hair, a full face of makeup, gloves a coat and of course a hat. After the 1960s women and men have enjoyed much more freedom of expression in personal style. Maybe we were all just happy that some people put their clothes back on, no matter what those clothes might be.

The 1990s were another decade enjoying a new sense of identity, courtesy of the fashion world. Widespread economic productivity, a new way to communicate via the internet and a clear shift in gender roles in industrialized countries worldwide all lent to fashion’s mainstream appeal. Instead of actors and actresses on our magazine covers, it was the faces of Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington. High fashion’s heavy influence during this decade was certainly a bi-product of increased economic productivity. We started to watch runway shows on cable every Saturday morning, we wanted models in our gossip mags, and we defiantly needed their wardrobes. These big supermodels crossed all mainstream borders, appearing on the runways, as contract faces for the major labels, on TV and even in film. If not for these major crossovers, where would we be today? We would be without our Cameron Diaz’ and Charlize Theron’, both former models who have crossed the lines and influenced what we want to emulate in fashion.

Fashion is a force to follow, fueling the frenzy of civilization, questioning standards and crossing borders, acting as a permanent marker of what culture values and considers new or acceptable, feeding our dreams, fantasies, fears, and beliefs, and creating a piece of time to teach and test the ages.

Wigs – Making Fashion History

Wigs have been in fashion for thousands of years. From as far back as ancient Egypt, to as recent as the Jessica Simpson wig and hair piece line, wigs have been popular. They are used to disguise the loss of hair and to better the appearance. In the 16th century it was more common to wear a wig than to wear one’s own natural hair.

Royalty throughout the ages have worn wigs and hair pieces as a symbol of wealth and power.

Actors and actresses have worn wigs for hundreds, even thousands of years to help in their costumes and in ‘setting the stage.’

In more recent years, actresses such as Raquel Welch have popularized the fashion of wigs in America by creating their own line of products.

Wigs are now worn for many different reasons such as convenience. A wig can be styled ahead of time and does not take as long to style.

Wigs are also commonly worn by those suffering from a medical condition such at cancer but they are also worn by individuals who have had genetic hair loss because they are more affordable than hair replacement systems. The American Hair Loss Association says that about 40% of their cases are women; (this includes about 90 million women) and over 50% of these women’s hair loss is genetic.

In modern times wigs are also being worn for style’s sake. With a wig or a collection of wigs, a person has the choice of wearing a different style everyday and they can choose between colors, lengths and style, (curly, wave or straight).