Perhaps, almost all people love jewelry, but what are the other reasons behind the fascination of putting on jewelry? Indeed, you’d look good, and your outfit is not complete without it. Still, would you be different if you didn’t wear one?
From an anthropological view, gold and gems used to accessorize is a custom that can be traced back to a thousand years ago, particularly to the Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures. So essentially, jewelry pieces are considered part of human civilization, and through centuries, adorning the human body with jewelry has been consistent across cultures, regions, classes, and even gender.
Here’s a list of reasons why people like to wear jewelry. Please keep on reading.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Social Needs)
To understand why we need to wear and gift each other jewelry, we first need to look at the Hierarchy of Needs by Maslow. This pyramid classified man’s needs into five critical stages. This is arranged from the base until the peak:
- Physiological Needs
- Safety Needs
- Love/Belongingness Needs
- Esteem Needs
- Self-actualization Needs
With this pyramid ranking, jewelry possession falls somewhere between love/belongingness needs and esteem needs. By social needs (belongingness), meaning the need of belonging to a group and other types of relationships, whereas self-esteem needs are relevant with the desire for recognition and societal status.
Based on the description above, apparently, jewelry is a mid-tier need and neither physiological nor essential need since you can’t compare jewelry with sex, food, water, shelter, or safety. What’s more, you can’t compare it to a lateral need, like self-actualization.
Customarily, a piece of jewelry speaks as an agent of your identity, your personality. To elaborate, it is something people identify themselves with; a simple example is your birthstone. Hence, we are very animistic in terms of jewelry, and this can be seen in how it’s become more complicated for us not to derive further meaning, such as personality or soul, from jewelry.
Now, the birthstone’s personality, as an example, has become the focal point of self-identification, the reason why amethyst symbolizes sobriety, whereas ruby symbolizes passion. So with these forms of beliefs associated with gemstones, we tend to feel these things whenever we put on the symbolic stone jewelry.
However, keep in mind that this shouldn’t be the case. You shouldn’t define yourself by a mere birthstone because your personality and identity are more than what your birthstone symbolizes.
Another reason is the matter of wealth, power, and assertion of status. Just take a look at the era of the Pharaohs, monarchs, and emperors. They tended to clothe themselves with luxurious wardrobes along with the best sets of jewelry, which were associated with their wealth and power in society.
Boasting and splurging jewelry by the Alta Sociedad was common at that period, and within these social classes, they didn’t have to worry about physiological and safety needs since they had a better lifestyle. Intuitively, people from high societal status can also afford to get jewelry and wear lots, which symbolizes great success and wealth on land.
But is this the real reason why people are drawn to jewelry? Nowadays, you can even get elegant jewelry from reputable jewelry wholesale vendors at reasonable prices, making it affordable for everyone. Hence, wearing jewelry at present doesn’t merely mean wealth and power, unlike historical times. There’s more to it. Which we will discuss on our next list.
People have an innate affinity for precious stones and metals, and anthropologists believed this could be the primary reason why something like jewelry would be coveted universally – that is if that piece conveys an ingrained value. Still, that does not conclude everything. Feasibly, we wear jewelry due to deep-seated reasons.
Both psychologists and anthropologists cite the role and need for jewelry since it means something in the dating and mating world. People use jewelry to attract the opposite sex just like what peacocks do to attract peahens.
For example, earrings can draw attention to your earlobes, Necklace pendants shine the light on your bosom, while bangles and bracelets can captivate others’ attention to your slender arms. What’s more, there’s the wedding band, which can serve as a wall to strangers, warning them that the individual they are interested in is no longer available.
Looking at this perspective, again, we wear jewelry to imply symbolism for something. Not just with wealth or success, but also with gender, agreements, and marriage.
In a nutshell, jewelry is not a plain accessory to beautify your demeanor because it is a crucial part of human culture. Apart from being aesthetics and its compelling nature to draw human attention, it symbolizes plenty of things, which we universally practice to symbolize birth, gender, birth, marital status, and more.
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