Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Why Do We Wear Jewelry?

Since the beginning of time as a race we have been decorating and adorning ourselves with bones, feathers, animal teeth, shells, and a variety of other material. From our ancestors to the rules of the past we have all worn jewelry in one way or another to indicate a variety of meanings. But why exactly do we wear it?

The Hierarchy Of Needs
Around 1940 there was an American psychologist named Abraham Maslow who had developed a pyramid-shaped structure called the “Hierarchy of Needs.” This pyramid has a base of physiological reasons why humans wear jewelry. It is then followed by safety, the next tier being belonging, then esteem, and then self-actualisation is at the top.

Breaking Down The Pyramid
Looking further at jewelry through this lease, it’s interesting to see where it falls on the scale in society. People use jewelry anywhere from love and belonging by trying to attract a significant other or even to show affiliation with certain groups.

As far as the esteem category is concerned, wearing jewelry for this reason may be a reflection on your past or future. A person could be trying to reflect back on how rich they use to be, or how rich they wish to be. At that point it’s seemed almost as a form of self-expression. Every piece we choose to put on sends subtle meanings and messages about our style, upbringing, and aesthetic.

Changing History
While society likes to flip back and forth on what everyone finds acceptable or note, Jewelry has played an interesting role. For the last approximately two hundred years jewelry has been a female dominated form of expression. More recently, men have been escaping social barriers to dabble into their own forms of expression as well. Brand names and chain stores have even gone as far as to offer rings, bracelets, and necklaces back into male sections of stores.

This change brings an interesting statement that prior strict gender roles are placing in second due to societies current need for individuality. This generation is more focus on being themselves than adhering to a mold set for them by their forefathers.

Why Do You Wear Jewelry?
Is it for yourself? The way you look? Other people? Regardless of our individual answers we all have our own reasons to adorn our bodies. Whether it is to feel empowered or to perfectly match the shirt that day, let the world know it’s purpose.

Susan Wallace


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