The Significance Of Beads
Beads are, and have always been, universal. They have been universal throughout history and the world! This is significant because beads are one of the only aspects of culture that is universal! However, they have different meanings and play different roles across all cultures throughout history; hence, jewelry with a purpose.
It wasn’t long after the early days of civilization, B.C. that Western Asia established permanent villages. As a result, people were able to produce and store food. Therefore, time was freed up for them to engage in making crafts. Of course, people included beads and jewelry making.
People made beads out of raw, scarce, and durable materials. As a result, cultures assigned value to them the way our society assigns value to money. So beads became a major commodity for trade between cultures. Prior to 6500 B.C. Jewelry became an important art form within Mesopotamia (present-day northern Syria and Iraq), India, and Egypt (Dubin, 1995:11).
The Beginning Of Handmade Crafts
Settled village life in Neolithic society brought about an unprecedented level of handmade crafts. People began to make weaves, pottery, and even new beads. They traded beads across long-distances. People traded beads between Mediterranean civilizations and the mountain cultures of Western Asia. Commercial trading was established when one culture had extra goods and another did not have enough. Beads were a major trading commodity the same way that money is a major trading commodity in cultures worldwide today. This commercial relationship united them (Dubin, 1995).
In addition to the ritualistic and magical meanings already assigned to beads, they also became jewelry with a purpose. Beads and jewelry became a status symbol among the wealthy in the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Indian cultures. As a result, Mesopotamina and Egyptian priests and kings hired full time jewelers.
Several factors determined the status of jewelry. The status of the jewelry was based on the degree of craftsmanship. It was also based on the use of rare and precious stones (Dubin, 1995).
The Lapis Lazuli Stone
One of the stones that became a status symbol is Lapis Lazuli (Dubin, 1995). When Lapis Lazuli was, and is, used to make jewelry, it becomes jewelry with a purpose. For the Egyptians, this stone was symbolic of the night sky and the power of the gods. For eons, Lapis represented royal power.
In addition, many people with medical conditions believed that they could be cured or healed with Lapis. And Lapis was the stone used to enhance such beliefs. In other words, people believed that Lapis could cure and/or heal them with medical conditions as long as they believed that they could be healed or cured in the first place (Hall, 2011).
Today, it is believed that Lapis has the power to channel the pureness of being through its high electrical conductivity. This stimulates or intensifies you to higher vibrations. “By transmuting mental and emotional blockages, Lapis sets your soul free to express itself fully (Hall, 2011:118).
You can give purposeful wearable art gifts to yourself and/or your loved ones! If you would like to do so, please contact me for a private jewelry consultation at Elizabeth@ElizabethLynnPhD.com.
Dubin, Lois Sherr. 1995. The History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C. to the Present, Concise Edition. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated.
Hall, Judy. 2011. 101 Power Crystals: The Ultimate Guide To Magical Crystals, Gems, And Stones For Healing And Transformation. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, a member of Quarto Publishing Group, USA Inc.