Why are we wearing jewellery? What could be more superfluous than a bunch of trinkets strung up around our necks, ears, wrists, and fingers? We sure can live without it. So why do we choose to not only live with it, but to love, admire, collect, and gift it?
Anthropologists scraping around in the Grotte du Renne cave in central France may have established proof of jewellery’s origins. In a recent article, Science Magazine reports that artefacts, such as tiny “necklaces” made of animal teeth, shells, and ivory no more than a centimetre long, can be clearly attributed to the Neanderthal period.
Found side-by-side with delicate bone tools and other fossils from the Neanderthal period, they had caused years of debate whether our ancient cousins had created them. Or — as the majority of experts believed up to now — if they were made by modern humans, and ended up in the cave aeons later by chance.
Science not only has a way of disproving logic and theory, but also of establishing new truths. The article states that these “jewels”, and other items from the Neanderthal period, were of the same age. Thus, it can be concluded that Neanderthals, described by Wikipedia as a species of archaic humans who became extinct around 40,000 years ago, liked and made jewellery-type ornaments.
Put much simpler, jewellery predates the ascent of Homo Sapiens — us, in other words.
Image opener: Medianoche en el Desierto necklace from Chromatic Paradise collection by DANIELA VILLEGAS