Wire-Wrapped Jewelry History
Prolific jewelry making began with the ancestors of Homo Sapiens, the Cro-Magnons over 40,000 years ago when they began to migrate from the Middle East to Europe. Cro-Magnons eventually replaced the Neanderthals as the dominant species. Jewelry from that period includes crudely fashioned necklaces and bracelets made of bone, teeth, mother-of-pearl, shells and stone strung together with a piece of twine or animal sinew. The earliest signs of metallurgy, using copper to make jewelry, was seen around 7,000 years ago.
The art of wire-wrapping has been around since the time of the Phoenician Empire, about 1000 years B.C. where Gold or Silver was hammered into thin sheets, cut into narrow strips and the edges filed smooth, making the wire. The wire was then woven into a design and set on onto a breast plate.
In ancient Greece, beads shaped as natural forms like shells, flowers and beetles were manufactured on a large scale. Beautiful and delicate necklaces and earrings were found in burial sites in Northern Greece. By 300 BC the Greeks were making multi coloured jewellery and used emeralds, garnets, amethysts and pearls. Eight centuries BC the Italian Etruscans in the Tuscany region produced granulated textured gold work. They made large clasps, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They also made pendants that were hollow and could be filled with perfume.
In the 1800's the Bohemian culture made wonderful necklaces and bracelets using wire to connect beads and stones. These jewelry items were popular with European aristocracy for over 50 years. Today, wire wrapping has become popular because of the uniqueness and the individuality of each piece - no two are ever exactly alike!
One of the main secret ingredients to the longevity of the jewelry market is that jewelry, unlike many other things on the market, is not a fickle new consumer product and likewise not a passing fad. Styles over centuries change; this much we know is true. But one coveted centerpiece for the wrist and neckline of virtually every temptress from Helen of Troy and Cleopatra to today's most popular fashion queens is the precious gem, one of natures finest own creations that have been even further perfected by the modern technologies of man. While clothing styles and fashion have changed with time, jewelry is the one and only ornamental element that has survived throughout the centuries.