Jewelry Style History
At halfway there.. we love to collect a wide range of culturally inspired jewelry and accessory pieces, whether that be discovering them at places we have traveled to or sourcing them from trustworthy stockists online.
These items often hold a rich and meaningful history linked to the cultures they originate from. We feel it is important to not only appreciate the style and undeniable beauty of these pieces, but also to know the original history that is directly behind them or has inspired their creation. Here we briefly cover the important histories of some of the jewelry and accessory styles we stock. However, keep an eye out on our 'Stories' page for more in depth coverage on the meanings and cultural values behind our collections.
The Karanphool Jhumka is an earring style originating from the Rajasthan area of India. The word Karanphool refers to the flower motif at the centre of the earring. The Jhumka, or Jhumki, refers to the traditional bell shape which, during the Mughal Empire (1526-1857), developed as a single jewel for the ear with each region adopting it's own specific styling of the basic design.
From it's emergence from ancient times, this style of earring has maintained it's status as a coveted style, fitting well with the name Jhumki that represents the timelessness of this jewelry piece. The style has endured the crossing of cultures from East to West, and continue to hold a high status across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Most notably, they are given as gifts to daughters for their weddings and worn on a daily basis to show the public the extent of what they can afford to give.
The Ankh was known to ancient Egyptians as the "the key of life" or the "cross of life" and dates from the Early Dynastic Period (3150 - 2613BC). The origin of the symbol is unknown, but it comes from the hieroglyph for "life" or "breath of life." The Ankh symbolises mortal existence and the afterlife, consistent with the Egyptian belief that our life on Earth continues on after death and that all life is eternal. For this reason, it is often that the symbol was used within tomb paintings, inscriptions and jewelry pieces for Egyptian gods and pharaohs.
The Hamsa Hand symbol is attached to many religious and spiritual beliefs, holding various meanings to multiple religions, that are important to know before you decide to wear such an item. The history of the Hamsa goes back at least 1800 years, making it one of the oldest symbols. It's roots come from ancient Mesopotamia (now Irag) and Carthage (now Tunisia), but it also holds a great meaning to many Middle Eastern and North African people.
It was created as a symbol of protection from evil, specifically from the 'evil eye.' Across a multitude of cultures and religions there is the belief that someone who holds evil intentions and thoughts can cause bad things to happen when their gaze falls on you. The Hamsa is then said to block such negativity and keeps you safe from such things. The protective symbol also holds meanings related to luck, health, happiness, femininity and compassion, giving it the ability create unity and hold a universal value.
Many ancient symbols, that have become traditional and well-recognised shapes and figures, date back to around 1-1000AD, making them Pre-Colombian. Their use of gold was completely evident, especially in items found in the Tolima region of Columbia that held distinctive and consistent forms over a long period of time. They hold strong geometric and symmetrical shapes, stylising humans and animals in almost an abstract way whilst painting a more realistic picture of faces. These symbols were often worn around the neck, on a cord, and due to them being made from gold, were reserved mostly for the higher class.
At halfway there.. we sourced earrings from Colombia holding these typical symbols. Each one tends to have a meaning to the Colombian people, for example a jaguar is the symbol of power and strength.
The Aztecs unknowingly created an art style that would influence the art and fashion world for Centuries to come. Their use of bright colours and geometric symmetry has continued to inspire trends that come back into season on a regular basis today. Many of their designs were created with the intent of honouring their Gods or creating decorative messages, holding symbols connected to astrology and the world around them. Their influences came from the many tribes that formed their Empire during the 6th Century, bringing in new art techniques and creating a culture that was exclusively for the upper class in society.
As our collection continues to expand we want to keep learning about the history, meanings and values that the items we sell represent to their respective cultures. For us, it is an important part of both respecting the culture and the admiration for the beauty of the piece.
We will use our 'Stories' space to go more in depth into these symbols and meanings, exploring their histories and what they currently mean today. This way both we and you, the buyer, will garner a deeper understanding for the items we are wearing.