"The oldest known necklace dates back to about 30,000 B.C. But archeologists believe the necklace goes even further back in time, to the stone age, 40,000 years before the oldest known necklace.
In April of 2004, scientists were excavating a cave in South Africa and discovered forty-one mollusks that may have been strung as neck jewelry from about 75,000 years ago. Before this discovery, necklaces were made mostly of shells, bones, stones, animal teeth and claws, strung on a thread.
In 2500 B.C. gold was starting to be used in neck jewelry. Gold neck adornments and chokers have been discovered at the Royal Grave of Ur. They are in what is now known as Iraq. 2000 B.C. was when Sumerian bead neck jewelry started to use alternating patterns of colored stones and gemstones and metals such as copper or silver.
During the Classical Greek period from about 480 to 300 B.C. most necklaces were three dimensional pendants. They were mostly in the form of heads, seeds, or acorns. They were suspended from a row of flat elements usually some type of rosettes.
Alexander the Great in 356 - 323 B.C. conquered the Orient. Gold was plentiful throughout the Greek Empire. It was often used on making in necklaces and other types of jewelry for several centuries.
In Ancient Rome the wearing of jewelry was frowned upon. Laws regulated how much gold could be worn by women or buried along with the dead. From about the first century on, Roman Jewelry began to distinguish itself. Gemstones came into use and were usually cut in circles or rectangular shapes.
In the end of the second century gold piercing techniques were invented. It produced a lace like quality in gold neck jewelry. The favored style of the time was a chain of differently colored gemstones connected by gold links.
In the second and third century it became popular to wear multiple necklaces all at the same time. The types of neck jewelry sometimes indicated the level of wealth or class of the wearer. Necklaces were very popular in whatever form could be made. Over the next few centuries the popularity of wearing of necklaces waned significantly. In the late 14th century necklaces started to regain their popularity due to fashions .
Necklaces are worn now for a variety of reasons not the least of which personal adornment. It stands to reason that it can be said that necklaces have been and will remain a piece of jewelry that is completely versatile in its design and the intent of the wearer."
(This article shared and written by Martin Smith, http://www.1st-4-jewelry.com)