Wearing jewellery has been traced back to prehistoric times, being part of almost every culture which has ever existed. It has been speculated that it was not humans who first created and wore jewellery, but was, in fact, the Neanderthals who populated Europe at that time. The jewellery that they wore comprised of perforated beads that were made out of small seashells, with archaeological finds having been dated back to approximately 115000 BC from the Cueva de Ios Aviones in Spain. In Kenya, beads made from ostrich eggshells found at Enkapune Ya Muto have been dated back at least 40000 years. Jewellery found in Russia has been dated back to a similar time.
Early modern humans created crude bracelets and necklaces out of bone, teeth, berries, and stone, using animal sinew as necklace string. One of the oldest pieces of Mesolithic art, the Star Carr Pendant, was found at the Star Carr site in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom in 2015.
The development of metallurgy was quickly used to create jewellery, with some historians speculating that metal was used for jewellery, long before it was ever used for tools or industry.
Copper was undoubtedly one of the first metals used in jewellery creation, primarily due to its availability, compared to more precious metals such as gold or silver. Gold has been a part of jewellery creation since its discovery and was used prolifically during the Ancient Egyptian Empire, with the first signs of jewellery creation dating back as far as 3000 BC. The Egyptians preferred gold jewellery due to its rarity and colour, although those that couldn’t afford gold would have likely worn silver as an alternative.