Certainly, adornment is the primary reason for jewelry. For most people, jewelry makes them feel beautiful or special. From anthropological and social perspectives, jewelry is used to display fitness, status, and power. Even nation-states get in on the act: The British Crown Jewels represent the state wealth of Britain, just as our Smithsonian shows off some of ours. Kings and others of that ilk made jewelry or bejeweled weapons to show off their wealth.

But it's not the whole story.

One of the other reasons for jewelry is ease of transport. Let's say that you have a bunch of diamonds and you don't want to lose them... well, put them in a necklace, and when you need to leave town, just throw the necklace on. Voila!, You now have an instant carrying case close to your body. You can easily cover the jewelry with a shirt or shawl if you need or want to. It's sort of like carrying an international form of currency. This is still a strong cultural practice with many Asians.


Jewelry: Portable wealth

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