Sterling Silver Jewellery: A Brief History

by Angie Mastroyiannis September 08, 2017

Sterling Silver Jewellery: A Brief History

Today, jewellery forms an important component of many of our daily attires. Whether it be sterling silver cufflinks, elegant necklaces, beautiful bespoke bangles or otherwise, many a debonair gentleman and sophisticated lady, simply wouldn’t leave the house without adorning themselves in some kind of stunning jewellery. It’s what helps them to express themselves and make a statement, complete their ensembles and cultivate a refined and impeccable exterior. But just when did jewellery, like One Bond Street’s fine sterling silver cufflinks and high quality bespoke bangles, first come into being? When was it first worn and what did it used to be like?

The story starts, it seems, in the ancient world when, in prehistoric times, jewellery was made from whatever the people of the time could lay their hands on. This means, of course, that there were no fine sterling silver cufflinks or bespoke bangles in sight. Instead,  jewels were crafted from stones, shells and even bones. Although no one can be sure, it’s likely that, in the prehistoric world, instead of wearing jewellery for aesthetic purposes, as we do with sterling silver cufflinks, necklaces and bespoke bangles, jewellery was often used as a symbol of status or to protect its wearers from exterior dangers. 

Later on, when metal working became more prevalent in societies, jewellery began to really develop and resemble something much closer to today’s jewels, like, for example, One Bond Street’s sterling silver cufflinks and elegant bespoke bangles.  At this time, however, whether bangles, necklaces or other kinds of jewellery, they were far more rudimentary in their exteriors and often quite big, bulky and garish.

In much of the past jewellery was largely hierarchical, worn only by those in positions of high estimation. In Medieval Europe, for instance, gold and silver jewellery was worn only by royalty and nobility and was a significant emblem of rank in society. This continued into the Renaissance and the 17th century, although, of course, jewellery styles developed a lot in this time. By the 17th century, for example, whether necklaces, cufflinks, bangles, or otherwise, gold and sterling silver jewellery had become a lot smaller and more graceful with lots of pastel shades and gemstones.

Further, it was during the 19th century, an era marked by social and industrial revolution, that jewellery, like sterling silver cufflinks, necklaces, bespoke bangles and rings, became more readily available to those outside of the very highest ranks. However, even at this time, this only really extended to the upper and middle classes and jewellery, like sterling silver cufflinks and elegant bangles, was still seen as a symbol of status, power and wealth. At this time, particularly towards the latter half of the century, when Queen Victoria took to the British throne, jewellery became a great deal more exuberant and eye-catching; made out of all manner of precious metals and diamonds. 

It wasn’t until fairly recently then, that fine jewellery, like beautiful bangles and sterling silver cufflinks became a more mainstream possession, worn by the masses and enjoyed by all. This was largely because materials became more readily available so a great deal more jewellery could be produced and at a much lower price. And thank goodness this happened, because a number of us couldn't imagine life without our favourite sterling silver jewellery. 




Angie Mastroyiannis
Angie Mastroyiannis

Author