Jewelry: From Status to Self-Expression
November 17, 2016
From ancient to modern times, clothing and accessories have been a form of expression for people everywhere. Whether it be an intentional or unconscious choice, they help place you in the world and affect how you are perceived by others.
The history of wearing jewelry can be traced from the time that man was on this earth. However, the jewelry that we know today is derived from practices of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. In earlier times, jewelry had many different meanings. It was sometimes used to protect against bad spirits in Egyptian cultures, or was representative of status.
In modern society, many aspects of self-expression have changed for women. For centuries, women have traditionally been expected to show their femininity through decorative garb such as jewels and dresses. Nevertheless, the American society has different viewpoints on the role of women in the world. The power and success of women in the workplace have allowed them to not just be distinctively defined by their form of dress or presentation of societal status.
Contrasting the social importance that jewelry had in the past, it has now become a true form of self-expression. Many young people see jewelry as another way to show their personality. NYU Steinhardt freshman Helen Joyner reflects on the importance of jewelry from the aesthetic point of view.
“I think it’s relevant because firstly, it helps in making a statement,” Joyner said. “Take for instance chokers — they make you look badass. Jewelry overall can help a person look more presentable; it completes an outfit.”
With chokers being a style of necklace that has come back once again, it seems that many college students are indulging in the sensual look that some jewelry styles can give. Even so, there is still a division in this viewpoint because not everyone uses jewelry as a form of expression and find other ways to express themselves. Sydney Martin, a Gallatin freshman, is one of these people.
“I don’t use jewelry; I use makeup as an accessory,” Martin said. “Jewelry is extra thought that I have to put into my outfit. I enjoy being able to wake up, see things that I like in my closet and put them on without matching them to jewelry.”
Overall, there will never be a conclusive decision regarding the modern relevancy of jewelry. It depends on the person and their preference. Either way, jewelry is one way of presenting yourself and showing your personal style.
Email Brina Jeffries at [email protected]