Jewelry is inherently tied to ideals of beauty across culture. One of the most famous examples of the extremes to which people will wear jewelry in the pursuit of beauty comes in the elongation of necks through neck rings.
Common in tribal groups around southeast Asia, the neck rings are often worn by girls as young as five years old.
This practise is thought to be about 1000 years old, highlighting the role of tradition and history in jewelry.
Like much of historical practise, there are rumors that the primary purpose of the rings were to symbolize status and wealth. This would subsequently allow the woman to attract a strong male who would be enticed by the females position in society.
There is also the subjective ideal of beauty, which is thought to be at much of the source of these extreme traditions. Which brings about the question of distinguishing between beauty and status in ancient cultures.
Whatever the meaning, it’s clear how jewelry can be a nod to tradition and history amongst many cultures.